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More Schooling

Problems

General knowledge of the world is important

Firstly a quiz: How many kings can you name. What about wars. Tell me about the Tudors, the industrial revolution, the capital cities of Italy, Germany, Poland. What is the basic plot in a book you had to read at school. If you felt knowledgeable about all of them then I'm impressed (was that knowledge you gained at school or after); I would imagine most children wont be able to tell you much.

Next, when did you last find it useful to know this sort of stuff. If you knew no Geography, History, English literature, Biology, or Art History would you be able to cope. I certainly could, I do cope.

The other side to the coin is that these subjects will be taught but not in the same way. The teacher might set a task for every child to pick a part of history and say how daily life was different from now. Each child has the choice to pick an era they are interested in so that they are more engaged in the subject. They will come out with a memory of a few specific topics that they studied in detail.

If you combine that with the idea that after every project each child had to present it to the others then they all get taught a wide variety of topics.

It wouldn't work; the teachers aren't good enough

True, I don't think that you could re-train all the teachers to this method. It could still work with an independent school where the teachers know what they are getting into and want the changes.

It will produce an unbalanced curriculum

Most normal subjects will be covered by projects; all depending on the interests of that particular student. The idea is to encourage children to want to learn and by letting them have more decisions you let them choose what they find interesting.

Where is art, music, drama; anything that brings creativity

Two points:
1. Creativity will be taught.
2. art, music and drama are bad at teaching creativity to the uninterested student.

Creativity is a very important skill and like any other skill it can be practiced. Edward DeBono has done a lot of work on how to teach creativity and this is how it should be done.

How would the child get to University without A-levels (or equivalent)

This is a problem. I guess that they would have to take time to do whatever the prerequisites are.

What about problem students

Hopefully there would be less. A more engaged student and a more interested student is less of a problem. There will always be persistent troublemakers but if they are given the choice of say sitting in a room with nothing to do and doing a project they enjoy many will be cooperative.

It will cost too much to implement

Possibly, I haven't done the sums. The cost it mainly for the changeover not because it is inherently more expensive.

There is no evidence for it

True, but if you agree that most of what is taught in school is pointless or quickly forgotten then it's not going to be a step backwards. It's worth trying in one school.

Extensions

Group teaching

Have the children sat in mixed ability groups. Try to get it so that each group is as good as the others. Then encourage the students to teach each other.

Be the best, be the worst

If any child stands out in a subject then let them have an extra class in it. That extra class should be made up of only the best (or worst). That way every child has a chance to mentor and be mentored by their peers.

Career finding

When 16 to 18 (A-level age) the focus should be moved onto longer projects with the aim of finding a type of career that each child likes. This could involve placements at a builders, artist, local business. Or presentations by University lecturers, social workers, business men, etc.
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