Guest Blog – Heart’s Role in Education – Positive Youth Development Tour Follow-Up
posted on August 23, 2017 by Cynthia Ramirez
“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”
Most people I’ve met would argue that education is both important and necessary, but yet many people do not understand the role of “heart” in our schools. If we take “the heart” out of education, what impact will that have on our society and its people that are constantly learning, developing, and adapting to change?
Our youth need us now and they need us to do our best work and put all of our heart into not only educating them but to helping them become the best people they can be. As advocates for educational advancement, our learning is ongoing and we can and should examine different pedagogies, ideologies and approaches that can best meet the needs of the students we serve in our particular communities. However, how theoretical perspectives are applied to student learning is where creative and innovative models can develop and should be encouraged and supported.
How TLHS Puts “Heart” into Practice
At Technology Leadership High School (TLHS), we have implemented a social emotional learning component through creating and implementing an advisory framework and having a service learning segment where students volunteer and gain experience at sites once per week to provide them not only an education but a pathway to a better life. Advisory and Service Learning have become integral pieces that help students focus on the assets in their lives and how to increase and enhance their strengths through creating developmental relationships with staff and their community.
We recognize that the opportunity to educate youth should not be taken lightly, should not be taken advantage of and should be implemented with the utmost thought and care, because it is a privilege and responsibility for youth and their families to put their futures in our hands.
The Path of Technology Leadership Students and Community Through Their Voice
The student panel at the PYD Tour was made available to answer questions from the visitors and the feedback we received from visitors speaking with the panel and touring the school was very useful. I always tell our students that every single person that walks into TLHS’s door has a path. Their life experiences, “their path,” led them to TLHS for a reason and it is because of that, that every person should be given a chance at making their life better through an environment that is professional, mutually respective and safe. The words of our students, their voice that made the tour at TLHS what it was. To hear them talk to others about how we not only care about what they learn, but the kind of person they become is what needs to be said and heard. To hear them talk about how their lives have been changed through coming to TLHS and how they have learned to be professional not only in school but through their service learning sites, is so valuable. Some of the statements from visitors were as follows:
“The students were so good at talking with adults and did not seem intimidated by them.”
“There is a clear culture of students and staff who are able to work together.”
“Students spoke about how much the staff cared. You can see the relationships.”
Our youth should always be given opportunities to use their voice to build their self-determination so that they play an active role in obtaining their education. The PYD model at TLHS helps provide a way for our students to do this. Although there is much work to do and always room for improvement, the difference we have seen in our students in the 2 years we have been in operation is phenomenal, but don’t take my word for it. Speak with one of our students. Hear them. See them. They need all of us as a community to believe in them, their resiliency, their assets, now, more than ever.