“I’ve taken three English classes already, why the fourth?”
This is something I hear a lot when students are asked what they don’t like about high school. Many tell me “we basically have the same classes four years in a row.” Students are feeling more and more boxed in to some norm imposed on them by state guidelines. On top of the state graduation guidelines, counselors push for them to complete even more classes in the field of math, science, english and history to “better their chances of getting into college.”
By the time students are Juniors and Seniors, they are burnt out of school. I’m not just talking about the students who initially disliked school either. I’m talking about the majority of all students. By the time they are in the 11th or 12th grade, they know how to play the system. They have played it for 2 - 3 years straight by then and it is uninspiring to them. They are at the point of just getting things done to get out of high school and move on.
Teachers and students call it “Senioritis.” I call it an outdated school system.
Here’s what should happen in the four years of high school. The first two years should be the basics like math science, English, and history along with a few others like P.E. and electives. The final two years of high school should be building on individual interests with the basics integrated into the lessons. The students at year 11 and 12 would be choosing something they are interested in and learning about it surrounded by mentors in coaches who are experts in all subjects. The students would drive the learning and staff would be involved in a facilitating way. There would be no more 8 period bells to shuffle through each day. I would imagine the day would be split into 2 or 3 sessions for students to work and learn in entrepreneurial spaces.
Sessions of learning would include the following life skills integrated into student projects:
Care for others, empathy, project management, social skills, public speaking, negotiation, conflict resolution, financial planning, customer service, listening, storytelling, how to mentor and people management.
I’m sure there are more that I could list here. I think it is important for each student to have a job that someone else depends on them in school as well. Students at the upper grade levels should be mentoring those entering the school.
The bottom line is that the current system is outdated and frankly boring to students and teachers alike. Programs like The Academy Group, Inc., Blue 1647, mHUB, and MissionU are leading the way to changing ways we do education. These and many others see the value in teaching teens differently.
The school systems that change their outdated systems first will be the ones who will graduate the most talented students first. Their students will have better chances to be successful earlier in their lives over the students from outdated traditional systems that are “pushing” students through old, repetitive systems that miss many needed skills in today’s and tomorrow’s world.
Another reason to #disrupteducation.