Schools shape youth, but some would also argue that they distort them just as much... reduced physical activity, competitive stress, stifled creativity, induced myopia, rigid hierarchical relationships, infantilization, etc... fortunately some schools do better than others. Successful innovative projects share many characteristics, including listening to students, sharing the responsibilities of the institution with them in a community context and, of course, offering a lot of freedom in both pedagogy and organization. The students are as involved as their teachers. They too love their school.
Society evolves and institutions follow. An institution structures things in the long term, in the viability. It is not asked to innovate but to institutionalize valuable innovations; it integrates them once we have figured out how to ensure continuity while enjoying the benefits of innovations.
If in the past we tolerated 50% of unsuccessful students, today the tendency is rather to integrate all.
"The wise man knows no unproductive material" (Lao Tzu). We will always find something even for the least interested student. Personalized support and guidance, adapted program, different approach, etc. A failure rate between 2 and 3% now seems an attainable goal, socially preferable and even economically advantageous in the long run.
As a corollary, our definition of success is broadening and now includes personal development and the satisfaction of walking the path towards one's ambitions. Not everyone will go to university, not for lack of opportunity, but by choice or evidence, even if it means changing one's mind along the way, and especially without going through a phase of opposition, passive resistance or conflict from which nothing positive is derived. If a life path does not involve literature or mathematics, once you have tasted it, why insist? Because it is on the exam? What does this exam measure after all? There are so many other possibilities now.
With what we know, the very structure of school is set to change to create true living environments, far different from the constricting, rigid, limited places that were the norm not so long ago. Many schools inspire us. The majority of their students and teachers enjoy going to school and do not hesitate to defend it. Normal, it's their school, their living environment.
Denys Lamontagne - [email protected]
Illustration : DepositPhotos - monkeybusiness