School restructuring can nurture authentic forms of student achievement in many ways. First and foremost it allows for a fresh perspective of teaching to come forth wherein the traditional teaching format from a lecture standpoint is converted into a more student-friendly atmosphere that allows for a more personal level of participation and accountability to take place. Because the restructured atmosphere is more cognizant of teaching children in a way that they can actually learn what they can use as they go about in life, students relate to it on a more personal level and are more prone to authentic achievement vs. the former standard of memorization where students learned for the class, or perhaps a test, what they needed to, but did not really retain that information, for the most part, for use at a later date. The restructured environment aids authentic pedagogy in that it gives students a real sense of meaning (Newmann, 177) in what they are learning.
Restructuring also helps to nurture authentic achievement in that it pushes the students to think intellectually, which will better hold their interest in what is being taught and creates a sense of motivation for them that wants to keep them learning. Instead of just wanting to please the teacher or obtain sufficient grades, students are being intrigued in the lessons and actually wanting to learn more for their own self-satisfaction.
School restructuring also nurtures authentic achievement by encouraging students to want to become better members of their communities, both while in the classroom and long after they leave the classroom (Newmann, 28). It pushes students to achieve the highest levels of critical thinking they can obtain by allowing them to work on complex problems (Newmann, 44). It gives them autonomy, a sense of responsibility, a feeling of accomplishment, and a sense of community and belonging, as they are encouraged to work through problems in ways that challenges their thinking patterns and offer them a hands-on ability to do so. The restructuring also allows for a deeper level of communication to take place, both verbally and written, as students are encouraged to offer up their own ideas and inquisitions in their work, vs. solely taking the word of a text or a lecture at face value. Students are actually encouraged to think, and to relate their classroom work to their own environments and life in general (46).
School restructuring also nurtures authentic achievement by creating an environment where parents are better able to communicate with the teachers and understand what is going on in the academic lives of their children (Newmann, 282). The connection between the parents, students, and teaching staff is at a much regarded level and the communication is far more abundant than it is in a standard school system. It also takes away social class issues by treating all students as high achievers and expecting them to obtain their best. It does not classify learners as Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½slow’ or remedial, but rather assumes that all students, at all levels of academia can intellectually engage in learning and this nurtures the students to do just that.
The restructured environment encourages a commitment from the teachers to the individual success of each student. It allows for centralized attention to each students’ progress and encourages students to grow at an intellectual rate of their own vs. being in competition with the class as a whole. This is nurturing because it gives the students a good sense of self-worth while they are achieving, vs. what I think the traditional system does of leaving some children left to feel below standard because they are comparing their achievement to that of the others in the class, and of course not all students can achieve at the same rate, so this leaves some students with low expectations of what they can and cannot do, and not much room to want to improve. Authentic learning in the restructured schooling crossest his boundary nicely and leaves students with the will to want to do the best they can do. It stretches their imagination and makes them want to explore a more in-depth type of learning that the traditional environment can do.
The restructured environment also nurtures authentic learning by creating a task team of sorts within the school community. With everyone working together to help the students, and sharing ideas with one another (Newmann, 183) there is more opportunity for teachers to come up with successful ideas for authentic teaching than if the teacher were to create their lesson plans in solidarity. Having a teaching team that consists of open mindedness and a willingness to try new procedures of teaching, which this type of environment provides, benefits the students greatly in that they are getting the best of ideas from everyone involved, at all levels, and not just getting a learning structured by one individual following a specific curriculum.
Another way that nurturing is fostered is that under this type of teaching, teachers feel good about what they are doing, as so are apt to continue finding new ways to authentically teach. They feel they are making a positive difference in their classroom (Newmann, 202) and because of that they are left with a feeling of enthusiasm. There is no room for stagnation in the restructured pedagogy atmosphere.
Peer interaction is encouraged and students learn not only to count on their leader (the teacher) for assistance and growth, but also learn to respect and look towards their peers for advice and learning. They bounce ideas off of one another as well as off of the teacher and they are given a classroom of autonomy where they are able to and actively encouraged to be free thinkers.
Discipline is standard and well structured, so that students know the boundaries of what they can and cannot do (for example a standard rule of what is not permitted could be disrespect of others ideas). This is essential because it creates an environment of trust where students are better able to foster their peer interaction and feel safe in doing so. It also gives a foundation to the students of stability when they realize what is expected of them and what will be encouraged along the way of achieving that, and what will not be tolerated. A high level of autonomy and self responsibility is given to the students in a restructured school environment, and they know that they are to be held accountable for their actions, thoughts, and learning processes. For the most part this seems to work much better than educators of prior generations could ever have imagined. When given the task of learning as a responsibility of their own, children seem very willing to do the best they can do at it. Providing the type of learning classroom where they can do so seems to bring out the very best in them, all of them, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or perceived learning ability. Expect children to succeed and let them know that you expect it, and provide them the tools to adequately do so, and the results can be simply amazing.
Restructuring schools also leads to community involvement and support. When those in the community see the vast benefits that restructuring has to offer, they can come together and overcome differences in the pedagogical vision that may have existed previously. All communities want their students to be successful because in the long run this also means viable citizens of their community will abound. When parents, teachers, and community members unite in a vision, it makes the process of creating and implementing it that much stronger (Newmann, 284). To me, this is the single most important aspect that school restructuring offers towards nurturing authentic achievement because it creates a team of people with the same long-run vision who are willing to allow individual creativity within in order to achieve the success. It encourages professional community and professional development, and allows for taking well-thought out chances that are geared towards authentic teaching instead of restricting leaders to a narrow outline from which to create their classroom lessons (which was rarely the case in the traditional teaching environment). It fosters the very thought of authentic achievement because when all are united as one, strength is readily abundant, and with a change so large as restructuring, it is evident that a united front is needed to ensure success. Students see and hear what is going on around them, and in having the concepts reiterated to them from various sources come to view the new type of learning as an important source of their own authentic achievement both in the classroom and beyond.