My desire is for all children to love going to school, to see its value and to grow in character as well as life-skills through going there. Sadly, this is not always the case. Is there an ideal school? My hunch is that there may be a variety of ideal schools that suit different children, but here are one Headmaster’s thoughts:
Paul Browning, Headmaster of St. Paul’s School, Brisbane brainstorms ideas for an ideal school, designed to meet the needs of today’s students. He suggests that once children have attained a basic level of literacy and numeracy they could attend a new type of school, an ideal school:
- Each day has 3 blocks of learning time, 2 hours long.
- Teachers offer ‘courses’ rather than subjects, structured around a key question and incorporating effective pedagogies that are known to improve engagement, e.g. project-based learning, inquiry-learning.
- Everyone studies a ‘core’ that supports learning and the development of character and life skills, e.g. community service, leadership and employability skills, learning to learn (and unlearn).
- Only the core is compulsory. Students choose what they would like to study creating that ideal school for each individual
- Courses are unique: 6 weeks, 6 months, a year or 2 years long depending on the complexity of the concepts and skills; stand-alone, or one of a series that increases in complexity, providing a student the opportunity to attend their ideal school that builds on their passion
- Learning is linked to life outside of school through local businesses
- Assessment is based on competences, the creation of new knowledge, or the application of concepts to real-life settings
- Literacy skills are integrated into every course as students learn how to communicate their ideas
- Each student is assigned a Learning Coach who they meet with twice a week to plan, review, and re-plan their learning program. The coach also supports their social and emotional development.
Do you think this would this make an ideal school? Would it work?