Why school should be more like diving
For quite a lot of kids, school is boring. Learning things is pointless and tedious. Quite often what I hear from my own children is, “I’m never going to use this.” Even if you know that they will, it’s difficult to explain where and when it’s going to be useful.
To counteract this, I think school should be more like diving:
At the end of each year, for each individual subject, a student goes into a room with an examiner and the examiner says, “What would you like to explain for me today?”
There’s no pre-set curriculum, the student can explain anything within that subject that interests them. If the subject is history, the student can pick any period in history, following any point of view, they like.
The entire conversation is filmed and only ends when the student is happy. They have a whiteboard where they can explain anything they like.
The examiner then marks the student based on the difficulty of what they’ve explained and the execution of it. They have the conversation on tape, so they can review it and fact check, if needed. The tape can also be used for third-party review, if anyone is unhappy with the grade.
This is a critical change from written exams because the student dictates the curriculum. They decide what they’re interested in learning within the subject, together with their teacher. They can pick an easy subject and do it well, or a hard subject and try their best. Just like diving.
This system would also help all kids who have problems with exam pressure. Enthusiasm about their subject can get them over that hurdle. Instead of worrying they’re going to write something wrong or run out of time, they can prepare exactly what they want to say and say it.
This system would cost more and is potentially open to kids learning things by rote. However, it gives a basis for life-long learning if done right that I believe the existing system is lacking. If my children said, “This is boring. I’m never going to use this.” The answer becomes, “Well, pick something you like and do that, then.”
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