Critical Questions for August

As I travel I write a great deal. My offices at home and work are filled with notepads where my ideas flow out, as are a pair of hard drives. Following are some of the critical questions I’ve written over the last month:

  • Can students be equal members of professional learning communities in schools?
  • Is the human capacity for learning unlimited?
  • What is the difference between “recycling knowledge” and “upcycling” knowledge?
  • If no one paints on an infinite canvas, what are the boundaries we don’t talk about?
  • What are the greatest educational practices that foster student voice and sustain the desire to learn throughout life?
  • How can the mechanisms that meaningfully involve young people evolve throughout a person’s lifetime to continuously, constantly and sustainably keep them involved?
  • Can role reversal activities be a useful learning tool for groups of youth and adult co-learners?
  • Can young people ever be truly disengaged in their own lives, or does living inherently require engagement of some sort?
  • Does engagement hinge on activities for young people, or the context in which they participate?
  • What are the significant “baby steps” a person/class/school can take towards meaningful student involvement?
  • What are the core differences between engaging historically disengaged students and engaging historically engaged students?
  • What are the core differences between meaningful involvement for young people in different community settings, i.e. schools, families, community organizations, government programs, etc.?
  • What is the apparent tension between focusing on meaningful student involvement in schools and fostering broad stakeholder involvement which includes, but is not exclusive to, students?
  • Why do teachers seek retribution against disobeying or nonconforming students?
  • When youth don’t speak up, is it okay for adults to speak for them?
  • Is there a false dichotomy between “youth voice” and “adult voice”?
  • Why isolate youth voice when youth are members of the larger community?
  • What are the effects of isolating youth voice and disallowing youth/adult interactions in critical conversations about place?
  • How can appropriate critical relationships between young people and adults be fostered?
  • Can equity exist without empathy?
  • Does every activity a young person participate in have to be “immediately” meaningful, or is there inherent value and “rightness” in activities where the meaningfulness does not become apparent until later dates?
  • Can students understand concepts, theories and practices better than adults?
  • Can students understand concepts when adults don’t understand them?
  • What is the outcome of students understanding concepts, etc., when adults don’t?

Feel free to answer any of these, or put me onto somewhere where I can learn more. Thanks.

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to http://commonaction.blogspot.com. Learn more at adamfletcher.net!

Published by Adam

For almost two decades, Adam F. C. Fletcher has led international outreach focused on engaging people successfully. Working with thousands of youth-serving nonprofits, K-12 schools, government agencies, international NGOs and other organizations around the world, his work spans the fields of education, public health, economic development and social services, and includes professional development, public speaking, publishing, social media and more. He founded the Freechild Institute for Youth Engagement, SoundOut and CommonAction, as well as writing more than 50 publications and 500 articles. He has also established 150-plus community empowerment projects.

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