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A current Linkedin discussion group of school administrators began with the question:

What do you suppose students say is the #1 thing that has to be in place in order for them to learn?

Twenty participants responded in the last 10 days, some of their responses include (edited):

structure and order in the classroom and school building, including a safe learning environment;

teachers that care about students and the subject matter;

feeling connected to at least one adult and to their school;

relationship and high expectations;

secure and loving home environment;

students need to have interest in the subject they are studying;

students like to explore their passions and enjoy knowing they are engaging in work that is meaningful;

make schools “sticky” … places where young people want to be;

students should have the choice, along with their families as to which educational pathway to follow;

positive relationships with and among students in the classroom and in school;

get to know students as a person and teach how the content applies to them;

let’s ask the kids; and

feel successful and do so with friends.

This last comment was posted by my colleague, Dr. Janet Pilcher (janet.pilcher@studergroup.com) and is from the work of Clayton Christensen (How Will You Measure Your Life?). Below is Pilcher’s complete post:

At What’s Right in Education last month in Nashville, TN, Pilcher described an educational leader’s role in creating a culture of engagement. She said, “it doesn’t mean that student achievement is not important, but before we can get to student achievement we have to build that culture of engagement.” What does this mean for students? Again, she responds using Christensen’s book:


In the second edition of her book Who’s Engaged? Climb the Learning Ladder to See Pilcher reflects on how simple yet enlightening the response “feel successful and to do so with friends” is and how teachers can refocus their thinking for the purpose of engaging students with them and others in a meaningful classroom learning environment. It means teachers must create learning environments where students feel successful and do so with friends, every day.



Our mission at Studer Education is to provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. To do this we work with school boards, leaders, and employees to apply Evidence-Based continuous improvement processes and the principles from How to Lead Teachers to Become Great in their districts as they aim for excellence in every district department and in every school as they strive to improve teacher performance and student achievement. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com to learn more about Studer Education Teacher Development Institutes (TDIs), Leader Development Institutes (LDIs), and Evidence-Based Leadership