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Students share their thoughts on learning

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Hilltop High Forum gathers the student voice

“Coming to school because I WANT to versus coming to school because I HAVE to.”
- Hilltop student

The above quote is just one of the comments that were shared by students at Hilltop Jr/Sr High’s Student Forum, held in the school library this past Friday. School administration organized the opportunity which was open to all interested students in Grades 9 through 11.

“We went classroom to classroom to let students know that we wanted to hear from them and that everyone was welcome to join us,” said Assistant Principal Cheryl Otto.

Twenty-eight students came out for the session which posed three questions to students as a jumping off point for further discussion. The questions were:

1. What does it look like when you are learning at your best?
2. What can adults (within schools, your family and the community at large) do to improve how education looks and feels?
3. If you were the Principal of Hilltop, what changes would you make?

Hilltop Principal, Egbert Stang, got students started,

"As students you have the power to make change for yourselves, for everyone around you and for the whole school. We can start at home and here in our school, every day, with the expectations we have of each other, the leadership roles we take on and how we treat each other. 

Students were candid and open about what is important to them with respect to their learning discussing numerous topics including:

Timetabling – how often students are in certain courses, how often students get Flex Block, how core courses and option courses are scheduled within the daily timetable, consistent scheduling (same classes at the same time each day) versus mixing it up.

Teachers in the classroom – feeling that teachers care about them as people and as students, teachers who invest in them and get to know them (do they work part-time, what other commitments do they have outside of school), teachers who are accessible and approachable.

Learning environments – what do our learning environments look like? Is there music playing, can we play music, is it bright and filled with artwork, is it comfortable? Is it colourful? Is it peaceful? Or is it busy and energizing? Is it safe?

What we're learning – is what I’m learning interesting or relevant to me? Are there a variety of teaching methods used? Is what I'm learning tied to real-life examples of how I will use this information or skill in real life?

“As long as I am interested in my work, I will do it.”
Grade 11 student

Students discussed the questions in rotating groups and entered their feedback live in a digital document that will inform school administration and teaching staff going forward. As Principal Stang told students,

"Today, your feedback is going to help lay the foundation for some of this change. It takes courage to make things happen. As students you are a powerful force for change and together we can build a school that works for everyone."

Students share their thoughts on learning

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