Pictures in my high school yearbook show the 1951 student body of West Valley High as 100 percent lilly-white Caucasian and with few exceptions, average to slim in build. What a contrast with last year’s M-PHS yearbook that pictured a healthy mix of races from around the globe and an unhealthy trend toward obesity. Call the obesity issue, Issue No. 1.
One of the lessons I’ve learned in my work as a teacher is that learning is not a passive phenomenon, something that can be done to students — it requires the active participation of the learner. We often refer to this personal investment of time and energy as engagement. It’s like the gears of a car — when they are engaged we have movement, when they are disengaged we have idling. When students are engaged as learners we see growth, when they are disengaged we see stagnation, or even worse, regression.