Envisioning roles for students to be and behave like experts throughout the K-12 education system to teach youth is relatively easy. However, seeing new roles for students to teach adults because of their expertise can be more challenging. Engaging students as experts can bring specialized knowledge about particular subjects to classrooms and education agencies, enriching everyone’s ability to be more effective throughout schools.
Student Expertise Can Include…
- Students as Cultural Liaisons — Students can share unique, meaningful and substantive information, wisdom, knowledge, ideas and critiques of culture. As experts, they can have expertise on schools and learning, race, gender, age, development, and many other areas.
- Student School Planners — Working with adults as partners, students school planners can help design education as democratic action that enhances the significance and efficacy of schools. They can also bring unique perspectives to formerly all-adult developments, allowing adults to have insights they wouldn’t gain otherwise.
- Technology Specialists — Working with computers, the Internet, computer infrastructure and other areas their entire lives, students today can be spectacular technology specialists. Their ideas and passion drive the future of technology, starting hundreds and thousands of years ago.
- Education — Learning about their areas of knowledge, passion and ownership allows students to have deep investment and engagement with the issues throughout K-12 education that interest them the most. Their learning can be in any area they are passionate about, whether curriculum, design, assessment, technology, or any issue, so long as it moves beyond simply consuming learning and moves towards critiquing and building new knowledge with adults as partners.
- Internet — The web provides people of all ages massive, moving and meaningful opportunities to develop and deepened their knowledge and wisdom about countless areas, allowing them to specialize in areas they are interested and the world needs.
- Opportunities — Without substantial opportunities to be experts, students are inadvertently taught that their opinions are insignificant or not worthy of educators’ attention. Teachers, principals, districts and other education organizations can readily create opportunities to engage students as experts.