The Model T didn’t emerge from strapping an engine to a horse, and Tesla didn’t emerge from putting an electric engine into an existing car. Yet when it comes to school design, we are trying to innovate off a completely outdated industrial model, rather than rethinking its fundamental structure.
It’s time to boldly reimagine the high-school experience—using the power of human-centered design, the latest adolescent neuroscience, and purpose learning—to usher in a new era of education that prepares students for this century, not the last.
From a design perspective, our current debate is kind of like people arguing over the interior design of a house without considering whether it’s the right house. Why argue about the furniture in the living room, the kitchen, and the bedroom (the curriculum) when the house is old, failing apart, and not right for your family’s needs anyway (the current high school model)?
Take scheduling, for example. In my conversations with students, they say they pay attention in class 15-60 percent of the time. This is partly due to the teaching schedule.
Unless we redesign the system, we are going to keep delivering less-than-optimal learning environments for students.
While there are some exceptions, the majority of today’s high schools focus on the regurgitation of facts (as evident in most AP curriculums). Almost nothing that US high schools formally evaluate is designed to actively develop or increase a student’s self-regulation or emotional awareness—skills that employers like Google most desire today
The teenage years are a time when students can start imagining the lives they want to lead, and can develop the internal compass and traits that will help them live a life of purpose, meaning, and devotion to a cause bigger than themselves.
This is where our high schools are really failing students.
Almost nothing in the current system speaks to developing the voice of young people, their own dreams, and a sense of what’s really important to them. Instead, the system focuses on validating rampant external achievement and measuring students’ knowledge through standardized testing. No wonder students are bored, tired, and stressed.
Organizations like the Institute for Applied Neuroscience are actively trying to educate policymakers about the need to adapt school policies so that they better align with the neuro-functioning of young adults.
Include project-based learning and differentiated instruction:
Help students feel like they matter:
Train teachers to play the role of mentor.
Build better physical spaces:
t doesn’t have to be expensive—simply re-designing a classroom or letting students spend more time outside goes a long way.
“What do teenagers most need to thrive in today’s world?”
The Future Project, for example, assigns each school a coach (known as a “dream director”) who helps inspire students to figure out their dreams and aspirations, and then re-shape school culture around these projects.
Noble Impact introduces young people to purpose-provoking curriculum to help them answer the “why” question.
Wayfinder Weeks programming, for example, allows students take a step back from their day to day, and ask what they really want from life, why, and what they need to do get there.
What big issues do students want to address in the world and why? What kind of life do they want to lead? What makes them come alive? What do they want to contribute to the world, and what do they need to learn to do so?
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.