Friday, October 24, 2008

My Ideas for Secondary Education

What a topic. I have no idea why this subject chose to bounce around in my brain during the flight from Spokane to Minneapolis, but it did. As I have absolutely no way of remembering these ideas, I figured I'd blog about them in the hope I'll actually be able to revisit them when I have time to actually research them. In the meantime, here are my thoughts:

  1. Project-based education
  2. Cirriculum assessment vs. personnel assessment
  3. Peer-based discipline

Now, I suppose I should take a few minutes before I catch my flight for Dayton to elaborate...

Project-based Education

As I work in an organization that moving toward becoming a project-based organization, I'm wondering if the value in collaborating on specific projects could be translated into a means of achieving educational objectives in a more structured educational environment. Students and teachers would work together during specific times during the week on projects that cross disciplines and address topical issues.

This format would encourage the development of research skills by requiring students to identify the issues surrounding the assignment in order to develop a solution or accomplish the object they are presented with. I guess a reasonable simile would be to liken this to advance role-playing without the drama.

In addition, this format would better prepare students for becoming active participants within their communities, be they home or work, by helping them develop the collaboratory skills that are necessary to address the significant issues facing every community.

Cirriculum Assessment vs Personnel Assessment

Everyone gets assessed. Everone meet some minimum thresholds in order to retain their employment. Teaching should be no different. The question of teacher assessment, however, has been confusing jumbled into an incomprehensible morass. I propose separating the assessment of the quality of the cirriculum (and it's corresponding impact on students) from the personnel assessment about whether each instructor is conforming to the expectations that surround them.

Peer-based Discipline

I would like to replicate some of the higher education, peer-review models for discipline that focus more on education than punishment, at least for some offenses. I believe that high school students might be more receptive to modifying their behavior if they realize their behavior will be evaluated by their peers.

I don't know if high school students are developmentally prepared for this challenge. That is one of the areas that needs to be researched.