Posted by: crudbasher | August 24, 2011

Five Things Students Say They Want From Education

If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail. Abraham Maslow

This article is a list of 5 things that students say they want from education. I want to point out that the current education system isn’t designed to give it to them.

5. Interactive Technology

Students actually go through withdrawl when they can’t use their cellphones and devices. They use these tools as part of their everyday lives. They want to do this in school, but many schools are afraid and tell them to put them away.

4. Teacher Mentors

The classroom model was designed with the understanding that the teacher and textbook were the providers of information. That clearly has been made obsolete by the Internet. Students grasp this and are skeptical of anyone who stands up in front of them and says “put away your phones and listen to me”. You can’t teach Google.

3. Innovation

Students want their learning to be fun and why shouldn’t it be? You learn better when you are a. relaxed and b. interested. Note that I believe there is a difference between entertaining the students and making learning fun.

Issac Asimov talked about this 20 years ago:

Once we have computer outlets in every home, each of them hooked up to enormous libraries where anyone can ask any question and be given answers, be given reference materials, be something you’re interested in knowing, from an early age, however silly it might seem to someone else… that’s what YOU are interested in, and you can ask, and you can find out, and you can do it in your own home, at your own speed, in your own direction, in your own time… Then, everyone would enjoy learning. Nowadays, what people call learning is forced on you, and everyone is forced to learn the same thing on the same day at the same speed in class, and everyone is different.” – Issac Asimov

The man was ahead of his time.

2. Choice

This is simply who is directing the learning. If it’s the state, then put the kids in a classroom and keep going the same way. If it’s the learner, then the whole mass schooling model blows apart. (which I view as inevitable)

1. Real world relevancy

If you want real world relevancy then you need to be out in the real world. Lesson plans need to be more improvised with more self direction. However, as long as we have such a focus on standardized tests, teacher’s hands will be tied.

The take away from this is if a viable alternative emerges to public education, the students will be eager to jump on it. Remember, schools aren’t like businesses. A business has to keep it’s customers happy so will change with times. Schools have customers because they are forced attend. As long as the bills get paid, schools have no incentive to change.

I’m interested in any other takes on these points. Any comments?

  • List of responses from teachers about what students want.

    tags: education list students pedagogy nell

    • We recently asked eSchool News readers: “What’s the one thing you hear most often from students about what they want in school?”
    • Though the responses were numerous, readers repeated these five things students want the most
    • 5. Interactive technology
    • 4. Teacher mentors
    • “A teacher who respects and cares about them, a teacher who engages them in learning rather than constantly ‘telling’ them what they should learn, and a curriculum that explains the ‘what’ and ‘why’ and connects it to their lives.” —Gary S. Mathews, Ph.D., superintendent, Newton County School System, Georgia
    • 3. Innovation
    • “We do an exit survey with our seniors, and the one comment I hear most often is the teacher is ‘boring.’ Why can’t they make the class interesting? I understand that there are tests, etc., but one could still make the class a welcoming place instead of a dreaded one. The teachers [who] are still using overhead projectors should be run out of town! Are they modeling acceptance of change? Nope, not when they’re stuck in the 70′s.”  —Barbara A. Jimerson, title VII director, Gowanda School District, New York
    • 2. Choice
    • “The one thing that students want most in school can be summed up in one word: Choice.” —Tricia George, principal, Sojourner School, North Clackamas School District, Oregon
    • 1. Real-world application and relevancy
    • “Most often heard from students: ‘Why do I need to know this?’” —Anne Seifert
    • “Our students truly desire educational experiences outside the classroom. They desire to see and experience, first-hand, how they can apply their learning with real-world experiences during the normal school day.” —Paul M. Rutherford, Ph.D., Summit Technology Academy, Lee’s Summit R7

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.



  1. Great post! Children need to be the classroom’s number one priority. I really appreciate how you focus on the wants and needs of learners! My only concern would be the practical limitations of some of these ideas. To illustrate, “choice” would be difficult to implement because it implies that you would have to customize instruction based on each individual student’s interests. Overall, though, I enjoyed your post and think that it’s something all educational professionals should take a look at!

  2. Welcome breakingrulers! May I call you breaking? 🙂

    On this blog I tend to shoot for a farther timeline than this year. They key to getting every child their own personalized plan is to automate it. It’s way too labor intensive to have an actual teacher involved all the time. In fact, that gives me an idea for a blog post… Hmmm. 🙂

    Thanks very much for commenting and I hope to see your thoughts again!

  3. Thanks – I defiantly see your point and I look forward to reading more from you!

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