Education in America is something we take great pride in. In order to continue this, our education needs to benefit not one group of children, but everyone. Each person in the education system is unique, in their personalities or their ways of learning. Schools have a tendency to have a cookie cutter image of what a perfect student is and how they should be learning. It is time that we change this to shape the student’s needs.
Being introduced to this new personalized type of learning will have many benefits for our future society. DreamBox Learning explains that students, “rather than passively receiving and reiterating information, students in 21st century personalized learning environments take an active role in their education and contribute to their own learning”(dreambox 1). Students would gain independence as well as the responsibility for their own success. This begins with the teachers acknowledging the students learning preferences and strengths. This type of learning can expand what students are capable of learning because the information isn’t coming straight from a textbook or set curriculum (dreambox 1). Many times teachers using this approach will use technology, after all that’s what our world is made of today and we need to embrace it. The options with this type of learning are endless and will be more enriching.
Many american students are missing out on life skills that will be necessary after graduation and college because they’ve never learned them before. Students learn out of a textbook instead of learning things they’ll need to apply to real life. Successful student, a site consisting of college experts, careers and other resources lists off many things that aren’t taught in schools that are very much needed after school. A few of these things are: Self-defense, how to handle relationships, car repair, how to handle money/checks, cooking, credit cards, healthcare, finding a job, first aid, law and time management (successful student). Being taught these things before going into the real world is crucial to success. Knowing how to fill out a job application or how to talk and dress for an interview would not only increase the odds of students landing a job, but also make teenagers less nervous. Another easy example is home repair, knowing how to maintain a house/living space adds to responsibility and will save many people money in the long run (successful student). By implementing not only core math, science and social study classes, but putting together classes that will help kids to excel in life and maintain responsibility we are bettering our generations and ones to come.
Although life skills are important, acknowledging and using students likes and strengths will make them more interested in learning. By serving kids needs and giving them options for things they’re strong at, they will become more confident. One of the most innovative schools is the “Zoo School” in Grand Rapids. The school is very picky with how many students get the chance to attend this school but the noodle staff, a group of individuals researching new innovative schools, explains, “In addition to following the required sixth-grade curriculum, students feed the zoo animals, raise salmon, sample water, and even go on two camping trips during the year. Students at Zoo School also take classes in forestry, astronomy, zoology, chemistry, and physics” (Most Innovative Schools). So, the children get a well rounded typical academic structure, as well as a curriculum that’s about their interests and things that will help them succeed in the zoology field if that’s what they want to pursue. Another well innovative school is located in Santa Monica, California. Created by Dr. Cummins the school was designed to have the impact of “social-emotional learning” (Most innovative schools). The goal of this school is to let students achieve their full potential. The founders of the school explain it as, “Crossroads was one of the first schools to have community service as a graduation requirement. At present, students must complete a total of 45 hours of service to graduate, including one 25-hour project, one 15-hour project, and 10 additional hours of service” (Most innovative schools). Many courses offered here are focused around community service and life skills and responsibility. The students that attend this school are typically pursuing the arts and go on to become something in that field. Such as artists or actors/filmmakers. Schools like these appeal to kids interests and help them succeed and perfect a natural gift. What other schooling would be better than allowing kids to fulfill their goals.
Overall, there are many different opportunities in the 21st century for different styles of education. Education should be based on what the student needs, learning has to benefit the student in a positive way. Learning should also help our generations today and future ones to excel in not only core subjects, but things they are interested as well because they are much more likely to retain interesting information about things they care about. By implementing life skills and job interests early in education, I believe they will benefit later in life by being prepared and have the knowledge of a job they want to pursue in the future.
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Maitre, Michelle. "Innovative Program Rethinks High School." EdSource. N.p., 3 Nov. 2014. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.
Staff, Noodle, PhD Manya Whitaker, Sarah Rivera, PhD Molly Pennington, and Written By Noodle Staff Articles and Answers Provided by the Noodle Staff. We Are a Passionate Gr. "41 Most Innovative K–12 Schools in America." Noodle. N.p., 19 Oct. 2015. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.
"20 Life Skills Not Taught In School - Successful Student." Successful Student. Successful Student, 05 July 2016. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.