In Part I of Educational Innovation and Evolution some of the weaknesses of the current system were identified. I also alluded to a new approach to education. In this article I will explain the new approach I believe to be necessary, to evolve our current educational system and structure.
The past and present model of education is still holding on to a stagnant and stifling approach to education. Does it work, yes, one could argue it does, but to what extent. The question is- could it be better? Although there are signs of change, the progress is painfully slow and each step takes years to be implemented. The current model still insists on assessing and educating kids, teens and adults in the same way it always has. The process is more like manufacturing than it is education and the approach is a kind of 'cover all bases' and hope that foundation is sufficient enough to develop well balanced young adults who are able to integrate into society. We are educated on general terms as children, then encouraged to specialise later, but a significant amount of time and potential progress is wasted during the general education process. I am not denying the need to learn the basics, have an understanding of the secondary core subjects such as science while placing a stronger emphasis on core subjects like English.
As a Child I was always creative musically, but not artistically, I loved nature and animals and exercising, so why the hell was I learning Japanese, how to paint and how to sew in some classes, when I had no interest in these subjects or any natural ability whatsoever. What if I instead utilised the time wasted in those classes to focus on my natural strengths, talents and interests, how much progress could I have made in the areas that mattered to me personally.
I have a vision for a new approach to education, which begins in the early years, between the age of 3 and 10 years. This vision came to me after reading the book 'Frames of Mind- The Theory of Multiple Intelligences'.
Imagine an approach to education, which identifies innate, interests, strengths, gifts and talents before a child reaches the age of 10.
Imagine a classroom with a central learning area, but also with 9 sections or alcoves, separated by walls. Using the above image as an overlay, try to picture this classroom. Each of the 9 types of intelligences would be represented by the individual sections bordering the classroom. The sections would contain toys, puzzles, games, instruments, balls, role play props, books, relevant to and representative of each type of intelligence. It is important the toys, activities, props and games are carefully selected in relation to each type of intelligence. Between normal classes children will have play and engagement time, where they have the freedom to engage in activities in each of the sections. While this occurs a teacher or internal assessor would record data based on observation on a child's natural interests, behaviour, expression, level of skill, frequency of engagement, communication style and more. The teacher and assessor will develop a student profile, which will be communicated to the parents of the student. This profile will identify and highlight a child's natural expression, allowing the parents and teacher to channel each students natural strengths and interests in the right direction. A more personal, customized, efficient and effective approach to an individuals education and pathway in life will emerge, avoiding wasted time and energy, as well as improving happiness and engagement.
The early years of education will of course build the usual foundation of English and other core skills, but it will also identify who your child actually is, could be and might be as they develop over the years. A child who can be accurately directed and channeled earlier in life stands to advance and refine and particular skillset and area of expertise far earlier than children do under the present model. A side effect of this customized approach, is more confidence for children who do not perform well by conventional standards, but excel in their specific area of interest. This is the vision. The promotion, planning and specific details for this vision will commence in the coming years.
Education Innovation and Evolution Part III- Developing Hybrid Schools for the Future