Reflections at Graduation Time

It is graduation time. The class of 2015 has completed 13 years of basic education.

I have just seen one of my Grandsons earn his diploma.

As occurs at most graduation ceremonies there was a graduation speaker, a former student who among his many accomplishments worked as a commercial airline pilot. His speech focused on his experiences as a pilot and how these experiences contributed to his success and if followed would contribute to the successes of the graduates.

As I listened to his presentation I reflected on what I would say as an educator and what I and other educators have done that would challenge graduates so they would be successful in life.

As a teacher and administrator I  believe that the classroom should be a microcosm of the real world. I have seen  master teachers who designed real world classrooms and taught their lessons based upon 4 Basic Principles:

PRINCIPLE #1– Develop a positive classroom climate. This climate can be observed when there is positive  teacher to student and student to student interaction. It is also observed in how lessons are prepared and taught.

PRINCIPLE #2– Both students and teachers are held individually accountable, they are held accountable for their knowledge, acquired skills and appropriate dispositions.

PRINCIPLE #3–This is a belief that all students have the right to participate equally and be an integral part of the education process regardless of socioeconomic status, race, gender or level of physical or mental ability.

PRINCIPLE#4– People have a basic need to express themselves. In effective classrooms students are encouraged to verbally interact with each other and the teacher without fear of negative reactions.

These 4 Principles have been observed in classrooms where there is academic and social success. These 4 Principles when applied to the workplace will create an atmosphere where members of any organization are happy, productive and successful members of society.

Thank you for reading and reflecting. This has been my commencement speech to you.

Best wishes as you move forward in life—Herb

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