Dangerous Dan Thoughts and musings on the world

1/20/2005

Edumacation

Filed under: Education — Dangerous Dan @ 10:30 pm

Captain's Quarters links to this story about a British school that has decided to abolish homework and schoolwork generally in favor of letting students guide their own studies. It's all wrapped up in nice terminology like making school "relevant to life in the 21st century" and letting students "manag[e] their own learning." They also want to get the parents more involved in guiding their kids' studies and to implement a cross-discipline curriculum that encourages learning. In other words, the school is abandoning its role and turning into a hybrid of a Montessori school and home schooling. What's the point of the school, again?

I especially like this part:

A mother who asked not to be named said: "My daughter has always taken pride in her homework. It gives her the push she needs.

"But Dr Hazlewood told us that it is a waste of time. Of course, he knows more than me but I am very worried about it."

I think this is a British trait that the mother would so easily defer to some stuffed shirt with letters after his name acting authoritative and let him override her own objections. In most of America, the mother would have told the good doctor to go perform obscene actions with himself shortly before either pulling her child from the school and putting him or her somewhere else or raising such hell that the decision would be reversed.

I often toy around with the idea of starting my own private secondary school somewhere. I have my own philosophy for how it should be run and, needless to say, it's very different from Dr. Hazlewood's.

One thing about this story, though, and its mentions of social development… it reminds me of a teacher I had back in high school. He decided that the students in his classes really hadn't learned much at all in junior high except for social skills. His proposal was that instead of trying to teach the middle school students anything, it would be better just to have them paint the school. Then when they finished painting the middle school, they could come paint the high school. That way they'll have taken care of learning their social skills while also absorbing the same miniscule amount of academics as they already were. Only this way you had the bonus of freshly painted facilities.

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