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Five Reasons Why High School Curriculum Needs a Change
We are all familiar with the basic area of studies that make up a typical high schools curriculum: English, Fine Arts, Foreign Language, Health, Physical Education, Math, Science, Etc. You know the drill. And it's normally broken down into blocks, periods, semesters.
Think back to when you were in high school, were you excited about what you were learning and studying on a fairly regular basis?
Would you agree that as a teenage high school student you had a genuine interest in certain areas of study and a very low interest in others.
Would you also agree that the high school curriculum could afford to be a little more interesting and focused on the needs and wanted of its students?
What's Your Common Core?
Everyone has that area of study that just comes naturally to them. there's always one subject you seem to understand without much thought or effort, and everyone has a weak area too. No one can be perfect at everything, and you can practice and become better at just about anything you want to put your mind to - but what if you don't want to?
English, Writing, Grammar, Literature came naturally to me, and I was most interested in history class. By the time I reached high school, I knew I was no mathematician and I really didn't have any interest in being any better at it either.
I knew the basics in math. I can add, subtract, multiply, divide, etc. But I didn't care to learn the value of x or how to find the yield on a graph, but I did learn it, but I couldn't tell you how to do it now, because I didn't care and it was sadly a waste of my time.
Does this sound anything like your high school experience?
Long Days Indeed
The life of the typical American High School Student starts early. Normally somewhere between 5 Am and 8 AM depending on how much time you need to get ready or how long it takes you to get to school.
Once the students fall into their daily routine - maybe a four block schedule or a six period schedule that someone else laid out for them without really knowing them at all. They make it through the day with homework and they balance the rest of their lives and get ready to do it all again tomorrow.
I'm going out on a limb here, but I'm going to say that a good 3-4 hours of a students day isn't totally necessary.
I'm not saying kids should cut their days short and head home early, but I think better areas of study and ways to spend their time could be created around the common curriculum.
Do you believe that the high school education curriculum should be modified to meet the individual needs of students?
Let's Get To The Point
It's no secret, most students don't know what they really want to do with their lives, but I think all of them have a pretty good idea of what they don't want to do.
As for me, I knew that I was - without a shadow of a doubt - going to avoid professions that require a substantial amount of math. I know the basics, what do I need to know all the geometrical terms, infinitive theories that I would all but bang my head into my locker to forget when I leave your classroom.
I did, however, enjoy english classes and history lessons - maybe I could replace a math class or two with some creative writing, in depth Egyptian History -- Arts really not bad either. Maybe if I was able to study art a little more I might be the next Picasso or Van Gogh.
Maybe if I had a little more freedom and was a little more trusted with my decision of what speaks to me and what I am interested in, then maybe I would realize my passion for journalism before my junior year of college. Maybe with a little more hands on learning in areas that are outside the common core, I would realize that my passion lies in fashion design, music, social work, photography, criminal justice, etc.
See where I'm going with this? All I'm saying is...
Give Teenagers A Little Credit!
They all ask the same question at some point about some certain topic that they really don't care about!
Why do I have to learn this?
Teachers, quit lying! I know you want them to listen to you, but you are lying to yourself and to them. You can't force any one to care about things that they are not interested in - not even kids!
Wouldn't it be nice if you could listen to them? Wouldn't it be nice to be able to say something along the lines of, "Johnny, are you sure you're not enjoying this extremely enticing lesson of algorithms and finding the quadrants of the graph - what are you interested in?"
And when Johnny says he thinks he would like to get involved in photography, you can suggest he checks into the media department offered at the high school and explore that interest that actually excites, interest, and compells him?
Yeah, I know, they're kids - teenagers at that - facing hormonal imbalances and life changes, coming up into themselves... We can't just let them run the show!
And you're absolutely right. They can't do it alone. These students need guidance, but I do not believe that high school students need to be told what they should be interested in studying and learning.
Here are the top five reasons I think the high school curriculum should be changed:
- Give young adults an opportunity to explore what they would like to enter into as a career, without waiting solely to explore broader areas of study in a college setting where it is less acceptable if they make the wrong choice.
- To get students excited about school and what they are learning.
- To raise the graduation levels and lower the drop out rates.
- To invest more time and resources into our youth who are obviously suffering because we accept common standards from individuals with different needs, wants, and goals.
- To finally quit comparing all students to each other and help them embrace their differences.
I do believe that general education is important, however I believe that is pushed a little too far.
A teenage high school student foundation of a general education has been built and it is time to build on the areas that you are most interested in as an individual.
What do you think? I would love to hear from you and your opinions on this educational matter.