Carpe Diem Schools, Problem Based Learning, Charter Schools, Comprehensive Schools, International Baccalaureate–Middle Years Program
At the core of each of these mindsets and schooling structures is the need to have learning be accessible to all students and promote engagement beyond the baseline of the standards. In each of these models, their philosophies share a theme–students learning meaningfully. The Comprehensive School movement in the UK came out of a need to make educational opportunities reach all students, not just the wealthy class. Carpe Diem Schools and Charter Schools blossomed out of the desire to teach students in non-traditional settings with less bureaucratic structures than the public school setting. Problem Based Learning and the International Baccalaureate MYP facilitate learning experiences for students that appear to be relevant and pertinent to the modern world.
Each of these models view children as capable learners who require tasks and instruction that vary from the traditional rows of desks and bookwork–think traditional curricular structure. Each of these models came from a noticed need that many elements of our curricular design are failing students. Students are disinterested because the learning does appear to matter to them in real life. If the learning is not relevant or meaningful, it is worthless and students are less likely to engage with the material. That feels like an incredible obvious statement, but so many educators shun it as fact. These philosophies emphasize that students are viewed as vessels of learning journeying towards meaningful destinations–not some standardized test results or other arbitrary measure of achievement.
Traditional curriculum models place the power of knowledge at the hands of the teachers to dispel upon the students. It is not a very active learning model. Each of these 5 models do the opposite. They place students in control of their learning, and in many cases with great success–but why did it take the creation of totally different schools for these changes to come about? If we know what needs to be done to create critical thinkers and problems solvers, then why can’t it happen in public school classrooms? Neo-liberalism and bureaucratic responses aside, why can’t these changes take place in an arena that is truly accessible to all students instead of creating additional schools that are not always equitable. I don’t exactly know the deep implications of what I am saying, but it seems like a powerful option, and there seems like something may be there. I am still working on processing all of this and connecting the the textual underpinnings that we have based this class on. There is a big connection that I am wanting to make, and it is just not done processing.