How in the world can we expect all students to show the same amount of enthusiasm for all subject areas on their schedule? I am not sure we can.
And if you agree we can’t — read on. (If you think we can, then this post is probably not for you.)
I think about my own experience in school. For me, science class was always something I endured more than I enjoyed whereas creative writing was an after school club for me that I choose to join which had me up til late in the night working for no real academic credit other than the pure pleasure of the discipline back when I was in high school. And my grades reflected my interests. In the humanities, I smoked it, in math, I was a decent student, but certainly not exceptional, and in science, I was a “let me just do the least amount of work to get me over the hump” type of kid.
And high school for me was a long, long time ago. Before google, email, AOL, cell phones and DVD players. (I know for some people on this board, it was also before the invention of the wheel but hey, I’m just making a point here… no need to compare long-in-the-tooth tales.)
So why do we still mandate our curricular offerings as conceptualized from the perspective of pre-designed, non-differentiated, one-size-fits-all educational packages for today’s kids? (Well, for the most part, we do.)
I mean in middle and high school you’re forced to take X amount of math, Y amount of history, Z amount of science and K amount of language arts. (I ran out of algebraic characters… shucks!). Unless you show deficiency in math or the language arts, that is. Then you’ll take 2X of those (cause we know the subjects in which you do poorly are the ones where you want to spend double the amount of time, right? Geesh, reminds me of the old game show prize joke — 1rst prize is one week in the city of Detroit; 2nd prize is two weeks).
Is there not a link between choice and performance?
Is there not a link between allowing kids to be more self-directive about their learning and a connection to an improved dropout rate, higher grades, better attendance, more motivation to succeed and a sense of perceived relevance between a school’s curriculum and a person’s own life?
In an iTunes world where we no longer have to buy the whole record in order to buy the song we want to own, how come our schools are not doing more to accomodate for today’s kids by reinventing our curricular offerings as conceived through this type of ‘iTunes” philosophy?
Why? Because I guess it’s like mom always said when I got too smart-mouthed and logical about matters and she just had to get back to running the darn house and didn’t have time to discuss it any more with me.
Why? Because I said so, that’s why!
And at the end of the day, no matter how intelligent my point — or poignant or thoughtful — Mom always won when it came to aruments like this.
iTunes… when will your brilliance more speedily bleed over?