Friday, August 23, 2013

Blog post #1 "If you built a school, what would it be like?"

After reading Krissy Venosdale's blog about building a school, I agree on some points. I like the creative classroom and carefree attitude of teachers and administrators she speaks about, to a point. Such as free use of cellphones, whenever and wherever. However, the current rules about cellphone usage are around due to cellphones not only being a distraction for other people in the room and the instructor teaching the classroom, it also promotes a lack of focus on the student it pertains to, unless of course the cellphone can benefit the subject in question, such as a creative class or technology class.

When watching the video on TEDtalks, I love the idea about helping those in poverty the ability to learn and giving them tools to be able to learn. The ability to learn does not come from money, but from an individual's willpower, capability(such as accessibility and IQ), and interests on the subject at hand. However, I do not believe that giving everybody the same ability to learn such as cloud computing is the way to go either.

We have different traits and abilities, things that define us as individuals. Individuals have different ways of learning, and these ways of learning deal with our senses, visual, listening, feeling, smelling, and tasting based teaching, and some individuals need a collaboration of certain ones or all of them together, in order to learn optimally. We have separate schools and classrooms for those who are below the average intelligence, catering to them and helping them learn due to their needs, that is great, but not enough. We do not have separate schools and classrooms for those who are above the average intelligence, or those who wish to learn differently than general education.

Building a school wouldn't be enough, building a school system would be what is needed to change how people learn. Elementary education should cover a general education system of the country's common language(such as English for the United States), mathematics, science, history, music, art, physical education and etc. This general education system should also at the same time, not only educate young minds, but also educate the administrators into seeing what child is interested in and in what subject. There may be children who are wonderful in Art but not so good in Mathematics, we should encourage them to follow their interests which will turn into passion, and evolve into a profession. Grades wouldn't be sought out to be straight A's(unless of course the kid is a genius and apt in everything, which is unlikely), but A's should mean the student is excellent in this course, and F's should mean they aren't interested in this subject. The courses students make F's in should be waned away from the student and see how they feel about moving away from that. The courses students make A's in should be gradually taking up more of the student's time in learning, to see how well they can excel in the subject at an elementary grade school education, perhaps even further if need be.

Valuing the subject of art over mathematics may be considered heresy in today's standards of administrators, who believe math and science should be taught to all because that will encourage everyone to fall into a heavily needed profession. The thing is though, we should encourage people to do what they enjoy and make sure they are good at what they enjoy. I enjoy mathematics over all other subjects, but I do not hold value to the idea that math is more important than another subject such as physical education or music.

Truly all subjects are linked to each other in some way to the open minded, such has how there is history in art, there is math in physical education, there is history in science, there is art in music, and vice versa for all examples. The separation of subjects is to better hone the skills and abilities of a person in that particular subject, which schools today do not do. Schools today want students to be good at everything and it turns people into a jack of all trades, but a master at none, which can lead to a lack of interest in certain subjects.

After finding what a child is interested in from the elementary school days, we should help them follow learning what they interested in. Middle schools would be more tuned toward students in specific fields, but still having the basics in all other fields. For example, having a middle school that specifies in science, however teaches only basic math, history, music, art, physical education, etc.. The basics should still be around, even though they are being taught in a less important way, so that the child may still find possible growing interest in the other subjects.

In high school, this is when a school will cater even more to a student's interests and needs for intellectual growth. For example, if a student is interested in the subjects of Mathematics and Music, the school should teach only those subjects to the student. The first grade of high school should still have all of the basics, but by the end of high school, the student should only be taught what they find interest in. High schools would specialize in certain subjects for students, to prepare them for not only college, but also life.

The advantages of a system like this would be for instance, a person interested in mathematics would finish high school in a much more advanced mathematics course than today's A.P. courses. High school math students would have learned above Calculus before hitting their college or university of choice. This math student may not be as proficient in the subject of history(which can lead to jobs such as archaeology, historian, etc.), but the student will be much better suited in the subject of Math(which can lead to jobs such as engineering, statisticians, etc.), and even if the situation were revered, it would still be just as great. A person pushed into the field of science when proficient in it and interested in it, would be more likely to find the cure to diseases and cancer, than someone who is pushed into the field of science when not as proficient or interested in the subject.

The current homogenizing importance of all subjects is not the way to go. We need to cater to students and help them grow in the field they want to be in and can excel in with great potential. The school Venosdale talks about would be great for those specific in a creative environment. A free spirited school is great, but not for everyone. The cloud computing learning system is another great idea, but again, not for everyone. Everyone is not built the same, so we should not be taught the same way growing up. We are individuals, and if I built a school, it would promote individuality.


  1. You have some good points on emphasizing certain subjects that the specific student is interested in. I understand where you are coming from but I have a few concerns. I think that you should wait until high school to start weeding out classes and making classes only basic! Honestly, most people change their interest drastically from elementary school to high school. Even in high school people aren't always sure what they want to do for a career or they change their mind over and over agian. If you start emphasizing students interest too early and making other classes too basic, students may miss other things they are interested in. Other than that, I agree with you! We should definitely let students focus on their career interest toward the end of high school!

    1. It was not my intention for it to be career focused, but more personal talent and interest focused. People are typically interested in what they are good at. That may ultimately lead to a career, but not the thing I was going for. I know people change their interest, so I believe options should still be open if the student decides to change.

  2. "...should be waned away ..." What does waned mean? "To decrease gradually in size, amount, intensity, or degree;"? If so, I am not sure it fits here. What did you mean to say?

    " if a student is interested in the subjects of Mathematics and Music, the school should teach only those subjects to the student. ... by the end of high school, the student should only be taught what they find interest in." Wow! That is a very radical position to take.

    Thoughtful. Interesting. Very different from any other view of high school that I have read.

    1. Yes, to gradually decrease the amount of the subject, if early on, the child is shown doing poorly. We do this in college, allowing the student take a major. I just believe this should basically happen sooner than that. Elementary school starting where educators determine what a child is good at, and start funneling the education of the students into more specialized education toward specific subjects/fields of study through high school. Not everyone goes to college, which is a shame, and people that don't may not know what to do.