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Educational Diversity From Jo

According to Barbara Van Dahlen, founder and president of Give an Hour, “There are endless possibilities if you just step outside yourself a little bit”.

I think we can use this quote to support the fact that we need to find new, diverse ways to deliver education. To me it helps me think about creating a new environment as just the right thing to do. Time for next steps to support our changing society.

We need to move past the notion that just because we have always delivered education in a certain manner we should continue down the same path. Ive always heard this quote, “If it aint broke, don’t fix it”. Well, folks, it is broke and we better find ways to make it better.

We must concentrate on Early Childhood Development and Intervention Strategies. In our society many families have both parents working. So their children need to be taken care of by somebody somewhere. We know there are Day Care Centers, Nursery Schools, babysitters, etc. How about establishing more structured Early Childhood Centers within existing Elementary Schools- private and/or public. Little kids are so much brighter than many of us give them credit for- they just need opportunities to develop their skills. Homeschooling is another option for parents and grandparents to consider. I have written a program for just that and you can read about it in my book, The BS Years (Before School), Setting the Stage for School Success.

We definitely need to evaluate the progress children make in school. I would, though, like to see greater use of Authentic Assessment- teacher made tests on curriculum taught. We should continue Standardized Testing, but not to the exclusion of developing critical thinkers and decision makers.

My experience and background was in elementary education, as a classroom teacher,  as a reading specialist, ESLteacher, and a consultant to a national reading program. So, I feel qualified to offer the above options. I’ve done a lot of reading and talking to high school teachers and they have ideas for different delivery options at their level. Most specifically, they mentioned making greater use of Industrial Arts- getting kids ready for work. My son-in-law was a football coach and welding instructor at the high school level. He helped his kids learn about the real work world and they are able to get jobs when they graduate.Not all kids are going to college so lets get them ready to take their place in the work force. Back in the olden days you were an academic major preparing for college or you participated in the Four-Four Program which meant you went to school four hours and then went to a job for four hours. A more practical approach is definitely needed.

An article not long ago in Time Magazine mentioned these options for change at either elementary or high school: Develop cafeterias that encourage healthy eating: One such school was in Virginia and it involved the kids in growing some of their foods and in the meal planning. Prioritize diversity: studies show that attending a divers school can lead to higher academic achievement and better preparation for real world work environments. Turn discipline into dialogue: basically, have the child figure out what the problem is and then deal with it. Let Students customize their curriculums: I did that with sixth graders one year where we decided to create a country. It was fun!  This last one really applies more to High School- start classes after 8:30 a.m.

So, as you can see we should be looking at diversity and different methods of delivery.




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