Years ago I had a vision of how schools could be reorganized to help our
young people both know themselves and each other. I envisioned that in the
k-2 grades, the classes would be co-ed. From 3-4 they would be single sex,
from 5-6 co-ed and from 7-9 they would alternate between single and co-ed
classes. What happens next you ask. Well, I saw young adults leaving school
and doing a 4 year 'walk-about'. That is for 3-6 months each, there would
opportunity for each student to experience an aspect of the world under the
guidance and mentorship of an adult. So for example, for 6 months a student
could work with a sculptor, then move on to a hospital aid position, then
a teacher, a plumber, etc. This movement would continue for the 4 years.
Then, the student would come back to school, co-ed, and determine what
courses s/he wanted to take to finish off their formal education.
The beauty of this plan is that each student can be in both heterogeneous
and homogeneous groupings at different developmental stages of their lives,
obtain some hands on experience in the opportunities for living after
and come back (after puberty mind you!) with some ideas of how school can
relevant to their lives.
Albeit the above is a somewhat fanciful concept, I think if we are ever
going to get off the dime of rearranging the deck chair on the Titanic, we
better get out of the box and start really looking at what our young people
need to support their healthy development into the brilliant individuals
world citizens we know and want them to be.
NH Dept. of Education,101 Pleasant St. Concord, NH 03301
Phone: 603-271-6613 Fax: 603-271-1953
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