Several cities and towns in Central Connecticut hosted back-to-school events the last few days before the official start of classes this week.
We think these types of celebrations are a good way to welcome children back for a new school year.
But, we wonder why the excitement and enthusiasm for a return to reading, writing, math and science often fades for many students and even faculty as the real work begins.
The demands of school, including homework, after school sports, tests and social pressures can be daunting.
It’s easy to see why some students struggle and still others just give up.
So, we ask, how can teachers and administrators make learning fun and keep students engaged all year long?
Students in the New Britain School District lag behind students in other parts of the state, so this year, school administrators will be implementing a new curriculum.
The changes, branded an “enrichment curriculum,” puts a big focus on STEAM - science, technology, engineering arts and mathematics - for students in elementary school and middle school. Schedule changes in the high school mean ninth and 10th grade students, for example, get core curriculum four days a week and a day of electives on the fifth day. The idea being that high school students need to focus on a career path even before senior year.
While the New Britain schools “redesign” is an effort to improve some of the standard educational practices that are out of date, we think there is a bigger issue.
Students should want to learn. They should crave information, find power in knowledge and be encouraged to be free thinkers.
A love of learning begins at home but must be supported by teachers and school staff who are allowed to do more than just “teach the test.”
Kids need mentors, praise and guidance. So do their teachers.
Students are more than their grades, so while they are being taught to read and write and code, let’s make sure they are also learning how to be well-rounded individuals.
And while standards should remain high for teachers, they too need to stop chasing statistics and get back to inspiring their students.
Learning can be fun, but only if everyone uses their imagination.