In my last blog entry I discussed our three-pronged approach to education at MAK: Know, Be, Do. Today, I’d like to highlight some areas in which our students are growing and are being challenged to grow in their being — or, perhaps more simply, their character.
For a student to be a lifelong learner, he or she must take ownership of learning. This means assessing areas of strength, weakness, and growth. During advisory this past Tuesday, all middle and high school students were able to access teacher comments in each of their classes. Additionally, they were asked to take the important step of personal reflection on their learning.
I observed a number of advisory groups on Tuesday and was delighted to listen in on many one-on-one conversations in which advisors challenged students to think deeply about their abilities and their growth. I overheard one advisor saying, “This is important. I’m not only thinking about who you are right now; I’m thinking about the kind of adult you will become.” I can still very distinctly remember a similar conversation I had in elementary school with an adult and it did indeed have an impact that stays with me today.
On Friday all middle school and high school students are required to attend their conferences to continue these discussions with their parents. We don’t want academic performance to be only about the expectations and goals of adults. We want to involve kids so that they are developing the right expectations of themselves. That’s about the heart.
CommUNITY Week: A Kindness Challenge
We all struggle to understand how to live and work together, and this is particularly a challenge for elementary students. Kids often forget that giving someone a whack isn’t a good way to get what you want. And they don’t realize that telling one friend a cruel joke about another can be completely devastating.
In light of these issues, our elementary team, led by Mike Chan and Christina Stowers, will be hosting MAK’s first CommUNITY Week on the week of November 7th. Each day of this week will begin with an assembly, followed by a classroom session, that focuses on conflict-resolution skills and the importance of kindness. Our goal is to do more than correct kids for their mistakes. We want to provide our young students with concrete steps and clear language that can help them to solve their problems. We also want to promote an environment in which kindness is cool!
I’m excited about these efforts, and I’m delighted to see our students growing in not only what they know and can do but also in who they are as children of God.