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New report says student success depends on scrapping high school as society knows it

LatinaLista — Forget about it taking a village to raise a child, according to a new report, It takes a whole society opening up the learning landscape in the high school years, to educate a child — and the first step is a major overhaul of high school.

The new report, released by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation (NMEF), asserts that high school is far from a bastion of learning but, in many respects, chokes learning for too many students. These students experience “school weariness” according to the report’s authors.

School weariness is defined as:

1. Assumes college is for all
2. Delivers learning based on a common curriculum
3. Provides learning within the physical setting of a high school

The authors feel that real learning, the kind that actually prepares kids for the real world, involves integrating hands-on experiences through applied learning and “engages society in the broader role of providing meaningful learning.” In simpler terms, it’s all about providing students with opportunities to make the real-world connection to what they are learning.

The authors’ solution to this age-old conundrum is to do several things with the students:

  • Engage young people in genuinely useful work so they can experience a complete cycle of activity in a particular field.
  • Introduce dimensions of the larger culture including occupations and work, types of communities, parts of the world, and social and political problems.
  • Enable participation in individual and team activity that leads to a collective goal.
  • Experience some degree of personal challenge that results in a developmental “stretch.”
  • Exercise new cognitive and social skills through experiences that may require multiple elements, emerging problems or more than one solution.
  • Offer the opportunity to be immersed in social, moral and ethical issues at play in the larger culture.

Citing how Europe is ahead of the United States when it comes to youth policy and teaching their students in secondary education, the report offers a fresh, radical look at how to revise and update an approach to teaching that statistics tell us are failing students who would rather play an active part in society than spend time at a desk learning about it.

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