If you’ve read my last two posts you’d know a few problems, I see, with the US education system. In “What kids can do” by Ronald Wolk he points out ways to deal with these problem and ways certain schools have been trying to counter act the lecture style of learning. The whole idea that sitting in a classroom and listening to a lecture is out of date and has been failing recent generations due to its lack of engaging the student. “Students will learn more and remember more of what they learned if they learn in real world contexts, which also reduces boredom and disciplinary problems, stimulates more parental involvement, inspires self-confidence and responsibility in youth, and motivates them to learn.” Wolk explains. The best way to learn how to do something is to do it, and teaching kids to learn how they will be learning with their job will benefit the students so much more then just learning how to calculate angular velocity.
Wolk mentions that, “John Adams echoed the thought when he said, “There are two types of education: One should teach us how to make a living and the other should teach us how to live.” Our current education system is doing neither very well.” I’m not saying to completely dismiss the idea of lectures in a classroom. The lecture style teaching is still necessary for basic everyday knowledge such as reading and writing, and is the most efficient way of teaching multiple people at a time. The benefit comes when we replace lecture with learning, the only way to learn how to do is by doing. According to psychologist Joseph P. Allen teenagers are primed for action and easier to understand through physical work due to them hitting physical peak when young, teenager bodies crave work activity which schools, sadly, do not provide.
The Met school in providence, Rhode Island, is one of few schools trying to incorporate real world skill building into their curriculum. “Students gain real-world experience especially through internships that span at least a semester but could run a year or longer, and through individual projects that they design and carry out.” Wolk explains. Every week for two days, at least, the school provides the students with individual mentors to help guide them on a career path or teach them basic life skills like applying for a job. These students end up repaying the community for all their help, with a project that benefits the community in a way the student seems fit. One young woman decided in her first semester that she wanted to be a secretary, so she interned in a physician’s office as a file clerk. She became interested in medicine, so her next internship was with a physical therapist; then she spent a semester working in a hospital emergency room. She needed to know science, so The Met arranged for her to take courses at nearby Brown University. These internships help guide the students on a clearer path of what they want in their future.
However there are problems with this model. Some students may take advantage of the freedom granted to them and not grasp the opportunity, which is their fault and their’s alone but does not bode well for the school. Is it worth dedication so much time to molding the students in such a way that is frankly a gamble and an expensive one none the less. I think schools dont have to follow the exact model The Met uses but i think all schools should have a common goal of making the student as prepared as possible for the real world.