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  • Floris Koot

    To some problems a straight answer is not smart enough. Many levels are at play here:
    1. These students must have a future to look forward to. Whatever you teach and however you teach, if your future looks very bleak, who gives a sh**. So the whole city needs to invest in possibilities for people. Expecting people to live the American Dream in a wasteland or desert makes no sense. There need to be footholds for everyone, not just a lucky, or really fanatical driven few.
    2. Schools should trust, believe and even offer love and care. Young people seen and treated as humans with soul approach life very differently from those that are trained to get result or approached as possible exploding killers.
    3. Schools that focus on results, based on knowledge, but don't prepare people for living in the real world they are dealing with make no sense. These kids need not only to know how to avoid becoming a gang member (adult morality) they also need to know how to start their own business without money (very possible and hopeful when there are no jobs) how to give and sense meaning by doing something that matters and they need honesty and open dialogue about stuff most schools fear to talk about openly: drugs, gangs, party rapes, teen pregnancies, bullying, etc. And not talk about this as only criminal deviancies, to be avoided or make you 'bad' when you do it anyway.
    4. Think and act outside the box. Check ideas like Zander, of Dave Eggers (once upon a school) Freedom writers or this movie (http://www.royston-maldoom.net/about/index.php?id_language=2) where they have very high demands. Expect and demand the best if you care, not just be satisfied when they turn up and conflicts stay away.
    5 Have dialogues and philosophy rounds at school. Help kids to think about what they study for. Let them get in touch with their why. And when they can't help them. Not push or give up. Offer a safe place for them talk about their lives and worries without judgements. Where they can develop themselves and their perspectives, beyond street lingo or school pressure.
    6. Wonder what is wrong with the whole system. More and more I feel children are expected to fulfill a program and prove it in the final tests. The tests once were just help to check progress, The foundation is to help children learn, whatever way possible. The child/ student should come first, not the end product of amount of high scores. This and many other very critical questions should be asked.