A High Schooler’s View On The Education System
Being a high schooler, this is the high school I wish I went to.
I’m a junior in high school and I love entrepreneurship and business. I’ve made 14+ apps on the iOS App Store and have explored design and marketing.
I agree with many of the points that both Nathan and Hank stated. Nathan brought up many notable points such as that the internet will continue to push the boundaries in education and push progress forward.
He goes on to say that his version of the education system would be very much curiosity based where students are encouraged to ask questions in which they must find the answers. No courses. No curriculm. It’s a very student led process with guidance by a mentor.
Hank, on the other hand, took the approach that the internet and anything else won’t make much of a difference in the education system because there still needs to be teachers.
The personalization of education, according to him, is impossible because there are simply not enough teachers and educational officials to match up with the students. It is a system that is unbelievably difficult to optimize.
As a student that is currently going through high school and the education system, my views obviously won’t be perfect or applicable to everyone. They are in a way specific to me, but I think that they can be related to more students than just myself.
First of all, I agree with both Hank and Nathan. I think both articles pose good points and I have experienced certain topics brought up in both. I think that a certain level of personalization has to occur, but complete personalization to every single person isn’t feasible.
In order to write this post, I had to ask myself, if I were to start a high school, what would I want it to look like? This included curriculum, size, and style among others.
For the first couple of years in school (K-5), the basics would be taught. This includes basic math concepts, reading comprehension, science theories and research process, and computer literacy. I think that to truly develop critical thinking skills, you need to have a certain foundation of knowledge that’ll apply to nearly every job or profession you choose.
These concepts should be taught with limited testing. This is one of the worst features of the educational system, in my opinion. I hate standardized tests and feel like I study just for tests and not for knowledge. Learning should be a process in which you build knowledge for practical usage, so that the knowledge stays with you.
Along with the basic conecpts in math, reading, science, and computers, fine arts courses should be mandatory. Creativity needs to be nurtured at a young age. It should be encouraged and curiosity, as Nathan said, should be promoted by teachers.
A basic level of coding concepts through the likes of Scratch should be taught. Computer literacy is increasingly becoming important and should be introduced early.
Research also must be taught. This means how to use the internet and how to find knowledge on your own. Students must understand that you won’t know everything at all times. And they must be able to find information out on their own and understand the powerful tool that they have access to in the internet.
All of these fundamental skills along with a growing sense of curiosity and problem solving are for the upcoming years. From 6th grade up until your college years, you must have experiential based learning.
From what I’ve read and seen, after high school, real life comes at you really fast. Most students have a tough time transitioning and they often need to quickly learn skills that aren’t taught in the classroom.
These years are crucial. Starting in 6th grade, students should develop their critical thinking skills and learn how to apply their fundamental knowledge to practical, real-world problems.
Along with developing the foundational skills taught from K-5, students will be introduced to different career paths, not with the end goal of making them choose one but to make them be aware of them. By knowing of the different paths they can then tailor their own learning and curriculum to their budding interests.
Using their research skills and creativity they can ask questions and actively seek out answers. This can include researching online, looking for shadow opportunities at companies, or taking online courses in practical job skills.
This would obviously be a gradual process where closer to the end of the 6–12 years the internship and job search becomes more intense. Being ready to search for a job or create your own is essential when coming out of these years. That way in college years, the student would be able to look for a job/internship, start their own business, or be in a good position to be able to develop their skills and knowledge.
Even though computer engineering and programming has rapidly become more important to know, these skills shouldn’t be forced upon the student. If the student wishes to master these skills they can. If not they don’t have to. As long as they do something productive they will succeed in the new education framework.
This is where class size and teachers comes in. Rather than having one on one attention (which is not possible) there will be small class sizes (10–15 kids) with 2–3 teachers/mentors of different professions. The students will be grouped diversely so there isn’t a room of only computer science interests for example. That way students will always be surrounded by other opportunities and chances to collaborate between industries/interests.
This is my idea. It, by no means, is perfect or even great. It’d work for me though as a starting point. In the case of education reform, I think that ideas are the best thing to have to serve as starting points for further discussion to lead to action. Change won’t come overnight but with continued discussion improvement can be achieved.