In a call to action, Jim Shelton wrapped up the Military Child Education Coalition 2018 National Training Seminar by advocating for all students. “We need you to push, to ask questions of schools to create the kind of environment students need to succeed. How will my child, or any child, feel like they belong?” As the previous Head of Education for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and former Deputy Secretary of Education for the Obama Administration, Shelton asked the audience of educators, administrators and other professionals to look at the challenges facing education with an entrepreneurial spirit. He challenged the group to think about what matters most to the individual student, believing that nothing is more important than to feel “known, understood and loved.” A sense of belonging in each learning environment will lead to a feeling of empowerment and the ability to excel.
ACCORDING TO MR. SHELTON, “IDENTITY” IS CRITICAL TO HELPING STUDENTS ACHIEVE THEIR
FULL POTENTIAL. CREATING A SENSE OF BELONGING AND SELF-CONFIDENCE CAN BE ESPECIALLY
DIFFICULT FOR CHILDREN WHO CHANGE SCHOOLS FREQUENTLY. HE BELIEVES STUDENTS SHOULD NOT HAVE TO START OVER IN EACH NEW SETTING. “THEY SHOULD CARRY WHO THEY ARE WITH THEM,” HE SAYS. THIS SOUNDS LIKE A TALL ORDER FOR SCHOOLS AND TEACHERS ALREADY LIMITED BY TIME, RESOURCES AND WORKLOAD.
The solutions may come with fresh perspective and insights from other professional services. “In medicine, a physician has a comprehensive record for a new patient. We can ask our educators to have more of a holistic understanding of our students. New tools and technologies give teachers the ability to meet kids where they are. We have precision medicine, why not precision learning?” Shelton asks.
The concept of “precision learning” or individualized instruction is not a new concept. In fact, Mr. Shelton points out that it is the basis of the Montessori Method as well as Piaget’s developmental theory of learning which are both over one hundred years old. The challenge is
to bring the student-centered approach to an institutional system level to every student. Make
that far-reaching paradigm change a priority is Mr. Shelton’s call to action. “Creating a learning
environment based upon helping students belong should be at the top of the agenda and a priority for each student.” Shelton believes parents and the education community are up to the challenge.
“The power in this country has always been in the people,” he says “and I am betting, you will
see an opportunity every day to create a better environment.”
Former Head of Education,
Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
“WE NEED YOU TO PUSH, TO ASK QUESTIONS OF SCHOOLS TO CREATE THE KIND OF ENVIRONMENT STUDENTS NEED TO SUCCEED. HOW WILL MY CHILD, OR ANY CHILD, FEEL
LIKE THEY BELONG?”
TO WATCH THE FULL SESSION WITH
JIM SHELTON, VISIT