Waaaaaaaaaay back when I was a student, it felt like school was a code that needed to be cracked—a game to be figured out with students and teachers as the players. Like all games, there were rules that guided the players and strategies that led to success. So, without really knowing it at the time, I spent a lot of time figuring out how to play the game of school.
Since I could figure out the system most of the time, I experienced success in school. I learned how to do multiple-guess tests well: The skill of eliminating answers without really knowing the right answer. I learned how to predict the type of questions that my teacher would ask, and I learned how to write answers that would score points. While I wouldn’t always say it out loud, I was asking myself the questions, Will this be for marks? or Will this be on the test? If the answer was “no,” I was quick to move on and focus on the stuff that would equate into marks.
In the end, I was considered a successful student.
While I have chosen Surrey Christian for my own children for many reasons, one of the biggest is that our school emphasizes the importance of learning. This isn’t as basic as it sounds. We are intentional about our language.
Looking back, though, I don’t think I was very good at learning. I am not confident that I learned a lot about the learning process or myself as a learner. I think I was just very good at playing school.
While I have chosen Surrey Christian for my own children for many reasons, one of the biggest is that our school emphasizes the importance of learning. This isn’t as basic as it sounds. We are intentional about our language. Instead of using the language of report cards, we call them learning reports. Instead of parent-teacher conferences, we call them learning conferences. Not only are we intentional about our language, but we are also intentional about our practices. During the learning conferences, we invite the learner to be present and to also help lead this learning conference. We invite the learners to reflect on themselves as learners and to bring forth artifacts that serve as evidence of their learning journey. Even within this ongoing pandemic, we search for new ways that Surrey Christian can invite the learners and their parents to come together for the purpose of celebrating the learning. Our teachers continually participate in professional development around assessment practices that invite the learners to be active participants in the assessment of their learning—to be leaders of their own learning. In our learning reports, we write entire paragraphs in which we refer to your children as learners.
At Surrey Christian, we deeply hope that your children are being nurtured for a life-long journey of learning within God’s continually unfolding story.