Sam Seidel, director of K12 strategy and research at Stanford d. School, describes what two questions he asks to determine if a school is a “good school” and serving students well.
I think sometimes we need to slow down to speed up. And I’m sure that’s a paraphrase of something that someone has said somewhere. There’s a lot of thinking and work that’s gone into how you can tell if a school is a good school. And how you can tell if a school is serving students well? On how you can tell if deeper learning is happening at school?
I believe that you can walk into any school and any classroom and ask two questions and know if it’s a good school. If you walk up to a student and you say what are you doing and they can answer that question first of all. And then you can say why? And they can answer that question. I believe you’re in a good school and it can look very different.
The chairs can be in rows and there can be sort of a lecture type format going on. There can be no chairs and students can be in a shop and building things. But if you can ask that of every student, not just a few or not just certain students and they can all answer that in a authenticate way, I’ve never seen that not be a good school.
And that doesn’t bear out in various other forms of measurement. I’ve seen all sorts of different looking learning environments. But for me when students can answer those two questions, I know that there’s learning going on and I know that it’s a rich learning environment.