I will begin this post with an overview of the proposal including those items that may seem or be impractical at the moment. I will then discuss some of the benefits, hurdles and challenges of these and look for feedback on possible solutions or alternatives.
In a nutshell, the proposed educational model shifts the way we teach educational concepts from one that is based heavily on memorization and regurgitation to foundational learning. Thus creating life long students who have the tools to approach any challenge. The how to implement this shift broadly utilizes individual and group project based learning. One important hurdle that I will need assistance on a solution is that this model is predicated on students who fundamentally know how to read. Having tutored adult literacy, I recognize this is a very large challenge with the phonetic method one of, if not the only good ways to learn how to read – and very time consuming. With this caveat (and help from others to come up with a solution), the model then focuses on providing every student the foundational skills to solve any problem by using the concept of projects.
The proposed model would guide students from K to 9 (as noted above, a different/similar method would focus Pre-K on reading fundamentals) through projects that on the cover would be at the individual or groups choosing – as they would choose the subject but would have built in learning challenges. These challenges/hurdles to the end goal of success would be implicit to the project itself but early on not readily understood providing a building block for tackling the next project. Until the student has mastered the concept, they would stay on the same project level with the subject matter education an additional benefit to the student. Group projects provide the students the opportunity to benefit from the learnings of the other students (exponential learning) – not only in recognizing and evaluating how others in the group tackle challenges but in recognizing the skills others have gained that would also be beneficial to the students existing challenges for their individual project. As the student goes through each challenge the teacher would be there to help faciliate the innate love of learning. As the challenges become more difficult, the teacher would facilitate not by providing answers but in helping the student come up with the best approach based on the available alternatives. Post K-9 education would be advanced projects based on specialization. The premise is that having 10 years of completing projects that the student was interested in, would put the student in a position where they could spend the final 3 or 4 years doing specialized research (if they choose) so they would have completed the same level of education as our existing model through a bachelors degree. Thus every student would now have the same foundational education as any student who has completed their bachelors degress at a top institution allowing for college to be one where advancement of concepts (typically at the PhD level) is the primary focus.