I imagine that it will emerge organically, by those for whom the system has failed.
Home schooling- may be one place where change will emerge. I think it used to be that most parents chose to home school for religious reasons ( which is their choice, and fine). I think more and more, parents are choosing to home school for a wider range of reasons: The quality and approach to public education, the lack of holistic approach and the watering down of curriculum- placing standardised testing and social conformity over actual learning and critical thinking.
With far greater access to information, and the innovation of new technologies- no child is lacking, for being in the home-schooled environment. Many colleges even have their lectures available to the public via satellite tv ( I miss that about my satellite, UCTV is great)… and I believe it is also available via website.
In other words- information is flowing. Once upon a time, a teacher was the sole arbiter of information… much the way the Catholic Priest stood between parishioners and God/damnation.. The teacher stood between the student and the knowledge. That is simply no longer true. In fact, the kids often have far more access to the information than their teachers- being more tech-savvy than ever their teachers could hope to become.
Early colleges may be another combined solution. While I am not a huge fan of AP classes and online-distance learning within the HS setting ( note the HS IS the problem).. I think that more kids could be accelerated more quickly than they are. BTW- check out the book “My Ishmail.” Very eye-opening and thought-provoking discussion of the nature of public education.
Combine that with more tech-voc programs- which, are at least more hands-on and involve the students in what they would actually be DOING, in a real-world situation. While I am not a huge fan of outcome based and “job-training”.. which tends to do two things.. First, it tracks kids from an early age, sorting them into college-material and not-college material.. which ranks them as though some are superior or inferior than others.. Secondly, statistically, in college, students change their major at least twice. there is so much to learn and explore.. how do we expect our kids to choose their life-path at 14, and not give them options for changing that path in the future?
I think more colleges also, need to explore the experiential model- however.. that will go back to bringing in a different crop of teachers, who can build a new criteria, from the ground up- what it would look like, what students would do, and how determine success.
Personally, I think that portfolios and authentic projects are the way to go. Much akin to the early days of computer work and graphic design– before there were a gazillion schools and programs to teach the new skill. Much like photography, A person had a portfolio that was an actual demonstration of skill and ability. The portfolio spoke for the person’s learning and abilities. Today, I think web sites are becoming living, organic portfolios, in that they can and should be used to reflect a persons skills, abilities and interests- while still reflecting the important aspects of their personality at the same time.
The world is changing. It HAS changed.. most people haven’t realised this yet, and keep dancing to the same music. It is imperative that the way we teach our children and what we are preparing them for… matches today’s circumstances.
I wonder what kids would design.. if it was in their hands. any kids out there? Do you have kids? Ask them to take an honest stab at this one…
I also think- school should be a right- not legal mandate. what do you think about that? ( stay tuned for that post:)
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