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Perspective: What I did this summer

Cole Stivers

There is a time-honored assignment in many classrooms as students return to school.

“Students, write an essay on ‘What I did this summer vacation.’”

Of course, some have wonderful tales of travel and adventure. Many tell the legends of big fish or long extra base hits. I don’t imagine too many talk about the targeted progress they made in learning math facts, devouring the great classic books or learning an additional language. If only more “children” of all ages were actively engaged in learning outside the classroom.

There will be much talk about education during Covid times. Many will see this a troubling time when education ground to a halt. Let me encourage you to think of the truths that emerged through the turmoil. Parents got a glimpse of what is involved in the learning process. Students began to see that they received the education they earned. Teachers were called on to direct learning rather than dispense it. We got a quick look at how to expand the boundaries of a 20th century learning system

Does this sound familiar? This was the successful model of the Covid times.

Covid times are seen universally as dark days, but I tell you we, as a nation, have glimpsed elements of a new style of learning.

It is good to be in classrooms again, but let’s not go BACK to school. Let’s move ahead with the lessons that have been learned about the student as the owner of their educational outcomes, parents as involved investors and teachers as resources and guides.

What did I do over the summer? I thought of all the fresh models of learning that have emerged and how I could put them to use!

Don has recently retired after 45 years in Lutheran Education. He has been on a “listening tour” in 2022, and shares his observations on his Facebook page.