What if the students taught school? For the past several years, we’ve had a tradition of setting aside time for students to do just that. Now called Dare to Teach Day, (D2T), we have usually held this day in the spring. This fall, inspired by some of the strong interests in our middle school student body, we decided to set aside a December day for the 7-8 to offer workshops to each other.
As you’ll see in the slide show, the selections were various. Some clearly sprung from interests that don’t easily intersect with the school day– for example karate. Other workshops– like one about WWII and another about neurobiology, focused on particular areas within academic disciplines.
It’s not easy to teach your peers! These students, who “dared to teach,” took on the responsibility of planning an hour long workshop with an activity. While each class had a “professional” PDS teacher in attendance, the teaching was left to the students who had volunteered.
In the afternoon, students shared what they had learned, and then had some time to write thank you notes to their classmates who “dared to teach.”
We plan a second day in the spring in which the sixth grade will join too.
Do students benefit? Yes! Students who teach benefit by having the leadership experience. It’s an exercise in empathy and in organization to teach. Teachers, student age or adult age, who are passionate and knowledgeable about their subject are easy to learn from. It is easy to have a positive attitude when you know your friend is valuing an interest so much, they wanted to share it with their peer group. Dare to Teach Days give students a chance to explore a new area of interest. Our day also gives students a chance to have some control over what they learn in school; there is choice built in since the workshops are so diverse.
Enjoy the pictures of the day: