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Matt Dale

Teacher and Coach, Canyon High School

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At what age could students abandon a general education and enter an immersion-type education in a field of their interest?

An idea I had for educational model where all students did a compulsory education (much different than what we have now) consisting of fundamental skills (academic, social, cultural, interpersonal, artistic, creative and many more life-relevant skills) and then, upon completion, spent the rest of their education immersed in fields where they engage in real life learning in an endless array of fields. Currently, our "compulsory" component lasts 13 years, and is filled with numerous required elements that are unnecessary and irrelevant, while neglecting opportunities for students to learn things that tap into their human potential. At that point, their "free" education is up and their pursuit of their own interests now come at their own financial cost. I imagine that the transition into this more individualized education could come at an earlier time and could be similarly funded by the government until around age 18 (as is the case with the current model).

Topics: education

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    Mar 22 2011: I think there isn't a specific age. Every child is different and evolves at a different pace. What I think it would be great is that from a very young age, as soon as they start to demonstrate interest in different areas they have a personal project, with time and material resources put into them, that they can later share with the class. For example, if one kid loves lizards, he could investigate them in books, film them, learn more about them, start a youtube channel on them, ... kids like the most incredible things. They want to be artists, firemen, hairdressers, movie directors, ...

    Maybe there could be a specific class time allocated for these projects, where teachers could guide them and monitor them. Putting them in touch with other classmates that have already investigated on a similar topics, or have developed certain skills. I do think they need a structure. 6, 3 months working in depth on something and acquiring different skills. The great thing about this is that soon they will start to learn from each other! And the teacher will learn tons too! Some projects could be individual, others in teams, ... I think there are many possibilities!
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      Mar 28 2011: What about leaving the school setting and entering the actual field on a student level?
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        Jul 13 2011: How would that work? Would professionals be willing to have 'student level' participants hanging around? And how would this differ from an apprenticeship-style relationship???
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          Jul 13 2011: This scenario would have many similarities to an apprenticeship. Different professional settings would accommodate different types or numbers of student. Some could establish academies that blended classroom type learning of the profession with real application of skills learned. I think the point of it would be that the businesses/companies/professionals would try to set up anything that they think would work to benefit the students and the profession. What that looks like for profession A could be very different from profession B.

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