Parts of the Education System

“One of the things that has to be faced is the process of waiting to change the system, how much we have got to do to find out who we are, where we have come from and where we are going.” – Ella Baker


The U.S. education system, illustrated as a bus by
The United States education system generally looks like this…


Expanding students’ understanding of learning, teaching and leading throughout the education system is essential for authorizing Student/Adult Partnerships. Cook-Sather has explored this in-depth, starting with her important article entitled, “Authorizing Students’ Perspectives: Toward trust, dialogue, and change in education”. In it she wrote,

“At the root of the terms that underlie the following discussion – authorize, authority, author and authoritative – is power: The ability to take one’s place in whatever discourse is essential to action and the right to have one’s part matter.” (Cook-Sather, 2002)

Working with students requires engaging those terms in action. As explored in Part Three, the Cycle of Engagement hinges on authorization. A vital component is this understanding that power comes from increased ability, and increased ability comes from expanded understanding.

There are many topics that can increase students’ knowledge of the purpose, function, process and outcomes of education. Teaching students about the education system requires basic knowledge about the different components of learning, teaching and leadership throughout schools. Following are some areas where students can expand understanding.


Illustration of the Canadian education system
The K-12 education system in Canada generally looks like this…


Parts of the Education System

Activities in the Education System


People in the Education System


Your Role

Engaging students as partners means ensuring each student has a basic understanding of their personal and collective identities. Teachers can embed this learning across all curricular areas and reinforce it with place-based learning, global education, and more. Students who are partners with adults are made distinctly aware of their skills, abilities, and knowledge, and are increasingly able to apply those understandings throughout their daily experiences of school. Embracing student voice in this way takes a lot of different forms that are examined later in this book.


Related Articles


Published by Adam Fletcher

Adam is the founding director of SoundOut. An author, speaker and consultant, he has worked with K-12 schools, districts, nonprofits and others for more than 15 years. Learn more about him at

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.