At Burr and Burton Academy, an independent high school in Vermont, five teachers agreed to go through the school day as students in order to help them understand school from a student point of view. By the end of the day, they were far more empathetic with their students. Their comments? Five minutes isn’t very much time to get between classes, and student chairs aren’t very comfortable. Time can drag in class when a teacher exclusively lectures and doesn’t include participatory activities in the lesson. They even complained that the lunch period didn’t feel long enough to unwind and relax with friends. Stanford researcher Denise Pope recommends this exercise as a way for educators to begin to understand the constant pressure students are under and to take steps to change small things about space and time to improve school.
The experience was an eye opener for the teachers. Several teachers said that attending other teachers’ classes gave them ideas about how to improve their own teaching. Check out the video: It’s fun and might prompt other educators to walk in students’ shoes.