Supporting Freedom of Speech in School
Online education has so many perks, but one that stands out above them all is the power given to students to speak freely. Brick-and-mortar schools are known to inhibit children’s right to freedom of speech by creating a pattern of silence, whether it’s in the halls or during class time. This silence is said to bring order and focus, but is that always true? It’s possible that some students may not be reaching their full potential in the silence.
A teacher poses such questions and ideas in a recent article for Bluff City Education: “Is Silence Truly Golden?” She writes:
“At any age, but particularly in early childhood, giving students the opportunity to utilize their freedom of speech by voicing their thoughts and questions and conversing with others is an invaluable skill that can only be learned through practice.”
Because millions upon millions of neurons are formed during our first 4 years, our neural development is at its highest during this time. With that being said, it is important to know that the more words children hear as they are learning to speak, the more likely they are to use and understand those words later on. No surprise there. Kids repeat everything.
So who is the silence intended to benefit? Is it possible to have rich, meaningful conversation in classrooms? Why not inspire kids to explore through spoken word? This is possible with online education.
With online education, students not only have the independence to ask questions freely, but they can also ask questions based on their individual needs with the option to expand the conversation when they aren’t entirely grasping the concept.
Jason, a third grader who struggled in a brick-and-mortar setting because of Dyslexia, found that online education not only provided the opportunity to use oral reading to encourage development of linguistic awareness, but the ability to take extra time when needed to complete assignments and provide the emotional support he needed. Jason’s mom, Angela, says ‘He enjoys reading now. And as a mother and learning coach, I couldn’t be more proud. Thank you K12.’
Brittany Marklin is a contributing writer for Learning Liftoff and a community manager for K12. She coordinates all K12 student contests and connects with families who pursue online education. She attended George Mason University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing, with a minor in tourism and events management. Brittany spent her first five years at K12 on the social media team where she aided with content and strategy for multiple channels, and helped construct K12’s user-generated content site, “What’s Your Story?” When she’s not working, Brittany loves spending time with her husband and daughter in North Carolina.
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