Thursday, March 24, 2011

Let Kids Rule The School

Let Kids Rule the School
Published: March 14, 2011
Eight teens were given the chance to create their own curriculum, and the results have been transformative.

1 comment:

  1. An example of a another school that is doing something similar, but in a slightly more structured way, is the Lehman Alternative Community School ( in Ithaca, NY.

    I think that we definitely need to work harder at recognizing and responding to the fact that the traditional school does not work for every child. While many students thrive in a traditional school environment, there seems to be a growing population of students who do not do well in classes where the information is very segmented. Although we want to and try to create learning experiences that are cross-curricular, it is very hard to do so when the traditional educational environment is set up to be segmented, and even harder when there is very little time for teachers to collaborate.

    My own children are perfect examples of different types of learners. My youngest child needs to be in a traditional school environment. She has developed very few interests of her own, and needs someone to tell her what she needs to be learning. She is not driven by any interests or even by curiosity, and so she needs teachers who will introduce her to new experiences and new ideas. My oldest child, on the other hand, has been withering away in the traditional schools since she was in first grade. She finds the world a fascinating place, and can easily get caught up in an area of interest, delving into it with a thoroughness that astounds me; she will read everything she can gets her hands on about that area of interest, write about it, talk about it, watch videos having to do with it, and play with it. She can spend weeks at a time thoroughly engrossing herself in whatever it is that interests her. However, when put into a school environment where she is asked to study a subject for 45 minutes and then move onto a completely different subject, she cannot thrive. She does not think in 45 minute segments. It kills her interest, wears her out, and destroys her curiosity. Unfortunately, aside from homeschooling her, there are no educational alternatives for her in Hunterdon County.

    However, there are alternatives throughout the country, some of which have been around for many many years. I’m absolutely thrilled that we have a superintendent who recognizes the fact that something needs to change. Not for all students, but definitely for some. And so, let’s look at those schools, such as the school that you, Dr. Brady, blogged about, and the Lehman Alternative Community School that I mentioned at the beginning of this comment, in addition to the many others who are successfully doing things differently, and figure out how we can create an alternative for our students here in Hunterdon County. Because it can be done, and it desperately needs to be done. Soon.