5 Ways to Involve Your Students in Philanthropy

Textbook open to a page that has a chapter titled "we care", image used for Robert Peters educator blog on how to get students involved with philanthropy

Philanthropy is very important to creating a better world, so it’s vital that we teach children the importance of helping others. While most schools push this mindset by teaching children not to bully one another and by periodically hosting fundraisers, there usually isn’t a lot of discussion about philanthropy, its importance, and how young people can get involved in meaningful ways. Young people spend so much of their time in the classroom, that it’s a great place to start teaching them to develop a philanthropic mindset. Here are some great ways you can help students pursue philanthropy.

Start a classroom project

While your school may participate in some kind of fundraiser or philanthropic event each year, it can be beneficial to do something within your classroom as well. Even if you’re just raising money to donate to a specific cause, you’re helping students get involved with philanthropy. However, it’s important to teach them that philanthropy isn’t just about donating money. Consider choosing a cause that lets you make something, such as cards for people in the hospital or an activity that raises money. If you can take your students somewhere to volunteer, definitely do it! It could be something like cleaning up a park or visiting the elderly, just make sure you meet any standards set by your school district for trips.

Teach a lesson on philanthropy

If you can’t actually do something with philanthropy, just teaching students about it can make an impact. Teach them the difference between philanthropy and charity, talk about the history of philanthropy and its prevalence in society today, discuss the ways philanthropy can significantly impact someone’s life; any of these topics can lead to rich discussions and learning experiences for students.

Plan a career day…with well-known philanthropists

Typically, career days involve local adults coming in to speak with students or students dressing up as the career they’d like to have. Consider adding a philanthropic twist to this traditional event by having students research well-known philanthropists and then give presentations on these individuals. You could also have local philanthropists visit your classroom and talk about how they’re involved with philanthropy and why they do it.

Get parents involved

Ultimately, the people who can influence your students the most to participate in philanthropy are their parents. Send home handouts with a list of ways children can get involved with philanthropy and also highlight the benefits, for students and those who are helped through philanthropies. If parents understand the importance of philanthropy, they’re more likely to continue encouraging students to pursue philanthropic endeavours.

Offer outside resources

Like sending a handout home to parents, giving students the resources they need to participate in philanthropy is incredibly helpful. Provide them with a list of suggestions on how they can participate in general philanthropy, like picking up trash or helping out other people in their daily lives. Also consider handing out information on local philanthropies, such as their locations and contact information along with a little blurb about what the organization does. Give students information about community volunteer days as well.

What Makes Feedback Successful?

boy-1126140Feedback is one of the most powerful tools at a teacher’s disposal. It is way in which students are made conscious of their mistakes and how to fix them. Teachers and students communicate through feedback, whether it’s on a paper, test, or writing assignment. A teacher’s feedback is meant to improve a student’s skillset, and assure close interaction in their general education. However feedback is only helpful if students use it to their advantage. Some studies show that students often show less improvement when teachers provide feedback, than when they don’t. In order to prevent this from happening, teachers must always keep the purpose of the practice in mind.

The general definition of feedback involves providing individuals with information about their performance. If a teacher hopes to make their own feedback helpful, they must delve much deeper. According to education expert Dylan Williams, helpful feedback constitutes providing information on current performance, as well as tips on improving future performance. Feedback is meant to do more than just improve work, it should be designed to help students learn. This point is most obvious with sports coaches and visual arts teachers, where visual feedback is easily communicated. Teachers often forget about this very vital point, especially when grading papers or tests. Although red-inked corrections can help students better understand their mistakes, they are not used constructively if they are not improvement-focused.

The issue at hand is providing feedback that students can really use. However, the task is increasingly difficult when students are asked to perform tasks never before undertaken. In order to ease the difficulties, teachers choose to undertake the bulk of the intellectual work. Conventional corrections do not allow students to figure out new strategies when correcting their own work. Instead, professors provide corrections that are essentially done for them. Assessing students should not focus on the amount of corrections their work needs, but on their learning needs instead. “When we realize that most of the time the focus on feedback should be changing the student rather than changing the work, we can give much more purposeful feedback.”

Feedback must focus on assessing, and reassessing students’ work. Gathering information about their needs, and the proper way of addressing those needs is priority number one. In the case of the social sciences, give students creative tasks that allow for flexible writing. Creative freedom allow students to write comfortably, providing you with their best work. This would allow you to properly evaluate the student’s writing capabilities, and their possible needs.

If you found this post helpful, and would like to read more on education information, check out my twitter @DrRobertPeters. Thanks for reading!