Teaching and Learning

Let Them Speak

November 1, 2019

I attended a student panel on eSports. Six high schoolers had given up their time to come talk to educators about gaming and eSports leagues.

Within five minutes, the questions had shifted away from students and were directed at the adults. Questions like:

What about the violence? What about the hardware needs? What protocols need to be established?

* Sigh *

It’s fascinating how I read daily on Twitter about the importance of relationships over everything else, and yet these students were so quickly set aside in favor of adult needs. They were there to share their passion, and pretty much got a “yea, but” in response.

I raised my hand to comment.

“There’s a lot of adult talk happening right now, so I want to bring this back to the students. Why game? What compels you to that world?” A few of the people in the room turned and smiled at me, as if to say, “I see what you did there.”

Student responses were powerful. One shared about a rough upbringing, in which money was tight and life wasn’t kind. “Games,” he said, “comforted me when life could not.” A couple others talked about meaningful friendships being developed, and the time they spend enjoying each other’s company.

When finished, the next person called upon started his question with, “I have one for the students but also one for the adults…”

And so it went.

People…

We can’t just talk about student voice, and empowerment, and relationships mattering if we don’t mean it. That panel of students deserve to be heard. They deserve respect. They deserve awe and maybe even a bow for being willing to talk to their fiercest critics, adults, about their passions.

Don’t silence them with your adulting.

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