Based on decades of conversations with students, I think it is fair to say that, generally speaking, they feel school is being done to them.  Their lack of power and freedom, the inflexible structures of everyday school - bells ringing in a relentless schedule - conspire to make them feel like parts of a large, impersonal educational machine.

When a student has the good fortune of being in an energized class with a supportive and charismatic teacher, he can feel that school is being done for him.  He is learning and enjoying himself, but it is still a passive position, he is still a recipient.

But when a student begins to participate in a living classroom, begins to feel a sense of ownership and belonging, then school finally feels like it is being done with him.  This is when genuine learning can take place.

The deepest problems schools face cannot be resolved without this kind of engagement on the part of students, because it is the lack of their active participation lies at the heart of so much of the failure of schools.