Above all, high school students want to belong. Let’s let them test tribes that might deeply engage them.
Today a small tribe is growing into a Design Thinking movement. Will that be a tribe students join? (Even if they’re in a 300-student high school in rural Appalachia? How could we help them do that? How could current DT students do that?)
The maker movement is a growing tribe. Should it be confined to wealthy suburban districts? Or can we help spread it to any school where students want to do that?
What about the Western-, Eastern-, or World- history tribes? The Arabic-learning tribe? The tribe of robotics programmers? The Latin, art history, Jazz, or Mediterranean foods tribes?
Maybe the tribe is one student and a teacher who will help them follow a passion. Or two students and an adult cross-state who will guide them through learning and a project.
Maybe the tribe is the large group of Ohioans who actively help the people in up-mountain Haiti to get food, medical care, building materials, and jobs.
We all have deep needs to belong. For many students, the tribe they join in high school may determine what happens after school ends.
Many tribes besides Algebra, Chemistry, and English have a rich, deep, engaging base of knowledge, a canon of thought and thought-frameworks that can stretch and mold students minds. (Advanced-manufacturing concepts? Small business essentials?)
Let’s give them 100 more options to join tribes.