April 2016: Subjects Not Objects
All too often throughout the school day education is going on around students instead of with students. One report notes students spend just minutes of the school day engaged in Academic Learning Time.
If we have a starting routine students can predict and be successful in, then we draw them into their education in a way content alone will never achieve. Paulo Freire in Pedagogy of the Oppressed said it this way,
…by making it possible for people to enter the historical process as responsible Subjects (subjects denotes those who know and act, in contrast to objects, which are known or acted upon)…enrolls them in the search for self-affirmation…
If our starting routine is dependable and students can enter our class and immediately experience some type of success (which may or may not be related to the content of the course), then we make them subjects in their education. This is a powerful shift for many students because most of their academic experience has been as an object in their education. Meaning, we want students to know they belong and actively participate the moment they enter class rather than sitting with idle minds being talked at instead of engaging the material.
By engaging students with the Kick-Off prompt on the Weekly Lifeline (Page B) at the start of class we give students the daily experience of being subjects in their education.