The following thoughts are disconnected statements and thoughts. Please do comment below regarding what you think schools are, should be or could be.
A school is a place that provides a safe and fair learning environment for students. It is a place where learning and growth is the focus of all tasks. It is a place where knowledge is tested and shared. It is a place where skills are acquired and honed. Schools bring people together for the purposes of learning in a social environment.
A school is an ecosystem and a society and a refuge. A school can be an isolated castle of parochialism or a vibrant hub, connected to and part of the global community.
A school may be pregnant with a flock of possibilities or starved of strong relationships and leadership. A school should cultivate freedom of the mind from ignorance, not collapse thoughts into a warehouse of shelved creativity.
A school is a place full of authors and producers, time-travellers and scientists. A school houses actors and athletes and artisans. Chefs, designers, engineers, CEOs, accountants, lawyers and entertainers all – at some point – begin at school.
Schools welcome future doctors and nurses, future millionaires and shop owners. Schools watch your descendants grow as they watched your ancestors.
Schools help young people find their voice. They help generations find the who, why and how of their existence.
School communities experience more conversations between more people than perhaps any other work environment. The varied nature of those conversations is something one can only train for on the job.
Schools function to allow an unequal society to provide some sense of fairness of opportunity to the next generation.
Schools are at their best when students feel that they are part of the process, not just a product of it.
Schools are not the only place we learn. They never have been. The best schools acknowledge this and embrace it. They understand that the age of the Sage is coming to an end. Unless that Sage is happy to share and broadcast their talents to a much, much wider audience than that sitting in their classroom.
Schools no longer operate in clearly defined parameters of time or space. A student doesn’t stop being a student when they change out of their school uniform. Nor do they forego their personality or spirit when they enter school grounds.
The challenges for contemporary schooling are many. It will be interesting to see how many students think schools are essential to them as we move further into the 21st century. It will be even more interesting to see how schools evolve, if indeed they do at all, to become part of the global community rather than islands increasingly made more remote to the needs of learners.