Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Real World

In my continuing effort to push your thinking - and make sure you find items in your Bloglines accounts when you check them, here is my latest quote from the book I'm reading.

Do you change supervisors every 40 minutes in the real world? Not to mention job tasks or team members? In what real-world job is the sequence of tasks (classes) so unconnected to the larger product? What college student attends eight lecture courses a day running back-to-back with only one short breather? We introduced two-hour interdisciplinary class periods and demanded exhibitions - projects - rather than short-answer written tests. We provided time during those two hours for presentations, seminars, group work, and independent study. We built in time for tutorials and coaching. We insisted that this was more like the real world, not less.

I'd ask you to ignore for the moment the massive change in our schedule this would entail, and just focus on the idea. Do you think a school like this makes sense? Why or why not? And if not, what would your ideal high school look like?


  1. I personally don't mind switching classes every 40 minutes. It gives students an opportunity to interact with more teachers, more ideas, more students. I think it prepares us for the real world, just in a different way. As more and more technology plays a role in the workplace, we need to deal with all kinds of different people every day. Also, it teaches us to adapt to working with different people's expectations. Not everyone will work the same way one teacher does, just like bosses or clients. It makes us become more flexible.

  2. But what if you switched classes every two hours, had three "classes" a day, but still saw 6 teachers during that time (team-teaching)? Wouldn't that allow for more in-depth and interdisciplinary study of topics, yet still give you exposure to lots of different people's ideas?

    While I dislike the artificial separation of school from "real world" (I think school is the real world - for teachers and students), I think that most of your opportunities in the future are going to be very different from the way school is setup. (Whether that future is advanced schooling, work, or your personal life). There will be lots of collaboration (in person and electronically), lots of working on "real," complex problems, and lots of personal initiative to not only solve the problem, but to define what the problem is in the first place. I don't think we do a very good job of any of those currently.

    Even if you disagree with that Molly (and most of the AHS staff probably does), what are your ideas for your "ideal" high school?

  3. First of all we need to change the start time of high school. Studies on brain functions have shown that teenagers are not even awake, mentally, until 9 or 10 in the morning. If there was a way to switch the elementary and secondary school schedule that would be a start. I believe that we all need bean bag chairs, the more relaxed you are, the more likely you are to learn (only from my own personal experience). A group discussion overseen by multiple teachers from various fields I believe would be the best mode for learning. Maybe a whole school of forums. Each day there would be multiple topics that you could join in on.

  4. I sometimes find that the amount of lcasses for kids is overwhleming and I sometimes wonder how much they are really walking away with? Are they truly learning after going through a seven hour day with all those classes? I would love it if the atmosphere was more relaxed and we all had our own classrooms that we could fix up in our own subjective way. I definitely think this school ideal could work-why not?