The Kids Teaching Kids Story
“When students take direct action in their environment the power of learning is truly demonstrated ”
estimated 5 minute read
Summary of Kids Teaching Kids experience
Kids Teaching Kids is now embraced by schools in every state and territory in Australia. Arron Wood has created a business model to support exemplary school based teaching and learning programs about sustainability. Kids Teaching Kids leads to real and authentic learning outcomes for the students and teachers who embrace the philosophy.
The current complexity of the business of Kids Teaching Kids today belies its more humble beginnings.
The program had its genesis in a school in crisis. After eleven years as Principal of a smaller rural school of 200 students, l was promoted into a large city school and was forced to suspend two students on the first day. The following day a solicitor’s letter arrive on my desk about a serious bully incident.
Having never suspended a student before it was clear the school had to find its way back to a more caring and engaged learning community. The school culture had to change. Having a life- long love of the environment and as fortune would have it, a son starting his environmental career at the local Catchment Management Authority a valuable partnership between the Authority and the school was inevitable. Privately it was both a professional and personal pleasure to have the opportunity to work alongside my son.
The environment would be used as a catalyst to change the culture of a school. Aided by supportive teachers, particularly one of the best practitioners l have seen Anne Robinson, we aimed to have our students take on more and more responsibility for their learning and to have greater respect for their peers and the teachers and other community members who supported them.
Many aspects of the program ensued, from student led assemblies to student voices in school decision making, but the small scale student researched and led environment based activities and learning were particularly valuable.
An idea for small school conference on our local environment rapidly transformed when a school from Perth and a number of schools from South Australia expressed interest in attending. The term Kids Teaching Kids was born and the first tentative steps of KTK into an Australia wide program began.
The philosophy that under pins every Kids Teaching Kids decision and activity remains the same as it was at its inception. Our young people are the leaders of tomorrow but they have so much to offer today. We as educators risk losing their ‘appetite and motivation to know’, if we do not allow them to us their own voice and experiences to contribute to the learning process.
If we are to harness our students’ innate gift of wanting to learn, we must immerse them in the process of teaching and learning and as the highest form of learning allow them the opportunities to teach others.
Ultimately students are encouraged to take their learning to an action phase above and beyond their presentations to others. When students take direct action in their environment the power of learning is truly demonstrated creating today a myriad of outstanding stories throughout Australian schools.
Richard Wood 2014