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Steve Haberlin's picture
Steve Haberlin is a Ph.D candidate at the University of South Florida, where he also works as a teaching assistant, supervising and teaching pre-service teachers. Steve holds a master's degree...
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If I had a Magic Wand (and Could Change Education)

I often dream about what I would change in education if I could wave a magic wand. I try to work towards those changes in the real world--but dreaming, I guess, is easier.

I think imagining how we might better serve students is an important first step. Closing our eyes and asking ourselves: What kind of education would I like to see for students and my own children? Then, letting the answers emerge.

Here are some of my “answers” (in no particular order):

Students would actually enjoy school and want to attend. They would be engaged every minute of every day.

Each child, no matter their grade, age, or “label” would have a voice in the classroom and the curriculum; they would have some say in what they are learning and how they will learn it.

Students would be developing their unique gifts and talents and abilities each day. There would be some regular time in the school day to explore individual interests and passions.

Students would engage in some form of community service, service learning, and have time to consider how they could use their talents and abilities to contribute to others.

The curriculum would be designed to empower all students, regardless of their cultural/ethnic/racial backgrounds.

Teachers would be treated with more respect, more dignity by schools and society.

Teachers would have more autonomy and creativity in what and how they teach.

There would be less testing (I didn’t say no testing or accountability, just approach it reasonably).

Students’ happiness and well-being would be placed in the forefront of the curriculum. Social-emotional development would not come at the expense of meeting standards/preparing students for the next grade.

Schools would be more open (though it’s happening to some extent) to incorporating new approaches in the curriculum, including practices such as mindfulness and meditation, which research has shown to help people manage stress, focus, and enjoy positive relationships.

Curriculum would be more “practical.” Instead of merely preparing students for college and a future career, schools would be placed that prepare students for life, including teaching them how to manage finances, relationships and health and fulfill goals and achieve success however individuals define it.


These are my dreams in education. What are yours?