I couldn’t find myself able to approach this assignment without also approaching the general education approach in the USA. My mother is a retired elementary school teacher who worked her whole career in one of the most impoverished, inner city districts in the state of Ohio. So many of my views on incorporating philosophy, skills exposure, world understanding, and asking true questions about what America is and how the world and its systems really function, are inspired by our chats, her experience, and thoughts on education.
It is my feeling that if we are to progress as a nation we need to accept that a people can not be part of a culture unless they are enculturated with it (ie. some kids in this country only have exposure to survival, drugs, and a welfare state, and they deserve more exposure to what America can be, and different thoughts about the world.)
I also define who someone “is” by their potential, and so my curriculum focuses on a system that would allow students exposure to many aspects of mental and body potentials, as well as skills and habits that explore our society and healthy habits within that.
I think the optimum flow can be achieved when the two requirements of growth (as I see them) struggle and understanding are in “perfect” balance. And the goal would be to maintain that balance for each student, moving different subjects and deeper study of subjects into and out of the course load depending on aptitude and interest.
The most challenging parts of this system are the “tracking” of students, which is illegal in public school systems, I believe. And the ability to allow enough exposure, either through more survey-level courses of subjects or ensuring that topics are covered between classes (ex. Math in cooking, history in math, etc.). We need to ensure that students can move back to subjects they maybe moved away from earlier in their academic careers.
The refocused attention on helping the child reach their potential is represented in everything being in those terms for the more focused chart. From there, I was influenced by college application deadlines to backtrack education milestones. This is what determined the “best candidate possible” objective placement at the end of the 16-17 school year. In order to meet that timeline, it felt that having a relatively-firm idea about the student’s area of interest should be established by the end of the 15-16 school year.
Specifics are difficult because everything is built around the student, but by the 15-16 school year, the student should have moved into more advanced study of their topics of focus. This would include focused, mentorships and exposure. (I am totally stealing this concept from Ruta’s work. Thanks, Ruta!) This ensures a better understanding of the child’s potential future than what can be gleaned from lecture alone.
Another important aspect is the child’s development and understanding of group dynamics and exposure to different aspects of their communities. The intent here is two fold: 1) Expose the child to leader and followership and 2) Expose the child to life circumstances different from their own to build empathy and reduce prejudice