The new face of education

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Mrs. Raglow
Students and administration meet to discuss the education crisis

BRUNSWICK, OH- It’s 8:20 am on a Thursday morning, and you step into room 374 at Brunswick High School. To most students, it is just a classroom, but to the students in senior seminar, it is the future of education.

On September 13th, the premiere of a discussion panel with the administration created waves. The students were challenged to think of crucial factors that are missing or need to be addressed in today’s teaching environment. They then presented their concerns to the administration in hopes that their ideas can be used for future students.

The idea came about by seminar teachers, Mr. Belkofer and Mrs. Raglow, who wanted Brunswick to see what students value in education. The students brought new aspects of technology, homework, but most importantly, their desire to establish a relationship with their teachers and peers.

Assistant Principal Mrs. Petry explains, “To hear the majority of the students say, ‘I do not want everything on a computer. I want to build a relationship with my teacher.’ was very surprising and interesting. I think we need to pull back on technology because many of our students are missing that human component. We need to teach our teachers how best to blend both of these aspects of learning together.”

In a time where technology runs how we work and learn, it can have damaging effects. Technology is a tool, not the tool. The idea of Going Google should be meant to enhance learning not become learning. The greatest instrument in education will always be the bonds and experiences that a class holds.

Mr. Belkofer explains, “Partnership is the most important aspect of learning, and without that, there is no respectful dialogue.”

Without this ideal in mind, our education is a waste of time. The classroom is intended to prepare us to be well-informed adults, and without questions in the classroom, our society loses the chance to evolve and move forward. Creating memorable experiences for students with the topics they are taught should be on the forefront of every teacher’s mind when they teach a class.

Senior Laney Thompson comments, “Technology is not all bad, but the overuse of it holds us back from learning through experience.”

Project-based learning was a common concern for many seniors because many believed that they learn best through a hands-on experience. Technology is in the limelight for trapping the ability to think critically. Many students loved what technology could bring to the table, but they voiced that there needs to be a balance of technology and interaction in order to learn.

Senior Ben Bloxsom states, “The classroom should not be rinse and repeat, but it should be a place where critical thinking is encouraged. We need to apply the information that we learned through projects and creativity. It is important for teachers to be able to explain why we learn what we learn.”

Out of the many voices that spoke up in the short fifty minutes, they all agreed that class time must be impactful and meaningful. The classroom time needs to be optimized as much as possible. With the speed of the world around us, those fifty minutes need to make an impact. If it does not bring something new or unique to the table, then it truly can be done anywhere at any time. Busy work wastes the opportunity to experience education.

Mr. Geschke from the Board of Education explains, “We need to create classrooms that are student-centered and student driven. I believe that is what senior seminar is all about. The topics are based on students’ interests and ideas. We have to move beyond thinking that this type of environment can only occur in a special class.”

This discussion powered the evolution of education forward. It established the needs of the students to reach their full learning potential. It emphasizes the idea that education is not about having information but experiencing and applying information into a problem to discover a solution.

Mrs. Raglow comments, “This is the first step in the process of change. We want people to hear you, and I do think that the administration heard you.”

While all of these ideas in mind are inspiring and exciting, they are simply that: Ideas. If we want students to take control of their learning, then we all need to establish a plan for how it will be best executed. We need to figure out how to involve relationships and implement projects with the balance of technology. All of these aspects are complex and cannot be changed overnight, but the transformation must start with a blueprint of the Generation Z classroom.

Conversations with the administration and our teachers are crucial to improving the classroom. Do not simply accept the way things are, but demand change by being a voice of action. Anyone has the ability to spark change in an ever-changing system. All you have to do is speak up. So I ask you, Brunswick High School, “What are we going to do next?”