When I think about the type of education I want for my kids – any child – I want them to have an ivy league experience. No, I am not advocating that they attend schools that are known for their “ivy-ness”, but for what they have the opportunity to do at those schools. Here is a list of some of the characteristics, not exhaustive, but ones that I believe represent the Ivy League experience.
Characteristics of the Ivy League Experience
Student – centered – The student is the focus. The education builds on the strengths and stretches of the child. It’s not a one-size fits all curriculum, but one that considers their interests, where they are developmentally, as well as academically.
Excellence is the expectation – Every child deserves to learn and be a part of a learning environment where those teaching them, supporting them, administrating services, believe and know the students are capable and have gifts and talents waiting for development.
Participate with a Sense of Belonging – Students need to know that they are capable of learning.
Teacher Quality – The teacher quality is second to none. As a Teacher Educator, one of the things I tell all my pre-service teachers, is that it is not enough to want to teach, and like working with kids – you need to be a master and a continual learner of your content. Too often I have observed some teachers teach a concept, without fully understanding it themselves. This is a disservice to our students. A teacher’s lack of content knowledge, develops fear, hate, and lack of understanding in students. In my line of work, I overwhelmingly hear students say they hate or can’t do (fill in the subject). I venture to say, 8 out of 10 times, it is because of how the teacher taught it, or rather didn’t teach it from a place of deep content knowledge.
These are just a few. Stay tuned for another blog that will discuss lifelong, inquiry-based, critical thinking, exposure to the arts, culturally responsive teaching, and service.