Found in Education: Rethinking the Structure of School

This week's Found in Education focuses on two stories of re-thinking school.  The first was shared with me by Coach Sexton of Courage to the Core.  Students started to question the structure of high school.  In Monument Mountain Regional High in Massachusetts, students apply for and can participate in an open-ended program in which they design their curriculum.  

  • “The idea was that it was for students who could manage their time well, were looking for something more than the traditional program, and had a passion for learning,” says Powell, who served as the group’s primary adviser.  

The program has requirements such as daily meetings, semester projects, and collaborative projects, but students decide how to cover the major core subjects.  I LOVE this kind of student-designed learning.  In the article some express doubts that this kind of program can work for all kids.  I disagree.  With our current system, this won't work for all kids, because we have trained students to wait for directions from the teacher and be passive recipients.  But if you take students from day one and make them activate participants in education, this kind of program could revolutionize the way we do education.

Second is a story about the return of the "one-room" schoolhouse model in the private school.  These micro-schools, as they are being called, mix students of all grade levels.  Some of them  such as Altschools are heavily dependent on technology.  Others mix hands-on learning with individualized program work such as at BrightWorks.  As with many "trends," there are strong supporters of this new "old" idea.  The idea is that all students work at their own pace.  As someone who has spent many hours researching these schools, I look at these schools as I do all the other "revolutionary" and "innovative" programs.  There are many wonderful ideas out there, but implementation is the number one determinate of a program.  

Found in Education (F.I.E.) is a weekly blog post on education policy, teaching tips, products, and stories related to education that I find over the week.  See something I should know about? Please send your ideas.  Comment here or leave me a message on Facebook, on Twitter, on Pinterest, or at the store.



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