What is school? According to Sir Ken Robinson, “School is a community of learners. That’s it.” Simple isn’t it? School does not depend on the building, the curriculum or the materials housed within. It is the community that makes it a school and that prompts learning to occur. School is about relationships.
Perhaps you recall a favorite teacher, one who inspired you to learn try harder or learn things you thought impossible. Or maybe you recall an accomplishment in school or outside of it that surprised even you. Who inspired you? Who helped you along the way? Did you learn it from a mandated text or did you find another way to learn what was needed to succeed?
By mandating what school is we are depriving children of what is possible. Yes, we need outcomes. We want a literate and educated populace. What we don’t need is the same path for each child. Children are capable of so much. They can guide us as they learn and we join together to create a community of learners.