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Gabriella Araimo

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A school where fees depend on wealth,where students can borrow books instead of buying them and learn through games,music,acting and debates

A new high school for Italy ( and the world):
1. You have to pay a school fee depending on how much money you have, but you don't have to buy any book or computer because the school lend them you
2. Every subject is teached in a more interesting way: maths through games, physics and biology through experiments ,languages through music and acting, history and philosophy through reading and debates, art through practice
3.Each classroom has two teachers: one is older and/or with more experience and another one is younger and/or more enthusiastic, one teaches practice and another one explains theory, an actor or a musician work swith a language teacher; this help students also dealing with two different points of view in every situation
4. There are lessons in the afternoon, so students who live far from the school will eat at the school canteen
5. Each two weeks there will be a test or a lesson made by groups of students who have worked together on a specific topic
These are examples of school days:
8:00-10:00 French and acting, break, 10:15- 12:15 History, Philosophy , documentary and debate, break, 12:30- 13:30 current affairs, break and lunch, 15:00- 16:30 sport, break, 16:45- 18:15 homework of a subject studied in the morning (some teachers help the students that have difficulties), end of the lessons ( no homework at home!)
Tuesday ( same timetable):
Maths and games, break, physics and experiments, break, latin, break and lunch, art and painting, homework, home
English and music, break, Biology, Chemistry and open-air lessons, break, informatic, break and lunch, sport, homework, home
My purpose is to create a high school that prepares not only for University, but also for social life. What is your opinion?

Topics: education

Closing Statement from Gabriella Araimo

I want to thank each of you for the precious, interesting and appropriate contributions that opened my eyes and made me more conscious of the problems of any education system. First of all, the funding problem, the difficulty in convincing governments to invest in school expecially during a period of crisis. Second, the natural differences among human intelligences, interests and aptitudes. Third, vandalism. Fourth, the risk that an emphasis on debate can encourage students to find strong arguments to win rather than to understand.
However, some of us have proposed practical solutions, others have shaped their personal experience, others have simply appreciated (the no homework aspect, for example). All of these things make me hope in the future: answers are only to be found. Godspeed to everyone!

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    Dec 27 2012: This school of yours would be a wonderful idea, but i see a major problem with your first point.
    The kind of school system you are talking about would require a lot of funding.
    And more than 90% of the parents will not be able to afford the fees, this means that the wealthy few would have to pay a lot to compensate for them.
    Now there are already a lot of schools with world class facilities, teachers etc. which are there for the rich people so they will not wish to participate in this New school system.
    This means that the government has to invest significantly larger amount of money in education.
    I don't see this happening considering the current financial situation.May be in future some of the developed countries will be able to afford to do this,given that people demand it.
    But for the majority of the developing nations, such idealistic education systems are far down in the list of priorities.
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      Dec 27 2012: There are countries with public education systems that involve no fees from their millions of students and where students borrow books rather than buy them through grade 12.
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      Dec 28 2012: Well, you're right when you say that a system like this would require a lot of money, and I have not considered that rich people may not wish to go to this kind of school, even in Italy where private colleges are often full of corruption. I also believe that fees are inevitable, at least at the beginning. Nowadays in Italy we already spend about 300 euros a year in books and school furniture. Families will have just to use that money in a different way.
      I'm a student and every day I see my classmates losing enthusiasm and interest in learning. What society are we going to build with these apathetic men? What progress will have our economy if we continue to escape from study, work and research? I think nations will pay a lot for this in the long term.
      I'm aware of the current crisis and I don't hope that this kind of education systems are first place in priorites. But maybe governments will change their mind after proving its positive results. So, how to find money to start a school like this and demonstrate that it has only advantages?
  • Jan 26 2013: In restructuring systems of education, for the sake of all life on our planet, as well as our planet itself, instructions with exercises in the development of wisdom and understanding desperately needs to be incorporated in all grades, primary through high-school. Before we begin to entertain ideas and technologies that carries serious impacts on our precious planet, we must become well versed in using proper judgment and choose paths that lead to prolonged life... not profits. (Listen carefully to the earth.)

    Augmenting that approach is the need to have "Listening Classes" as opposed to Debate Class. Every single person I have gotten to know well who excels in debate and takes pride in being able to win, regardless which side of an argument they take, they fail horribly in humility and listening. Their relationships in life basically boils down to themselves... for all other relationships are without root, including their marriages.

    Scientists should NOT have to present a dissertation or a theory. Doing so removes them from the joyous realm of enthusiastically and humbly searching for truth, to one of defending their point of view to the hurt of their joy and the strangling of humility. Then, if they wish to be funded, they must stay within certain boundaries, making sure to not step on any older and established toes. This process squelches the freedom to search for truth, and in some cases, has forced truth to be carefully hidden away, once it was unearthed. The process also engenders fears. A person with fear, cannot possibly see and examine clearly. A scientist operating under fear, is no longer a scientist. He is a conformist.

    A true scientist will not shrink away from examining anything, including The Bible. Bring up the topic of Intelligent Design at a dinner function attended by scientists, medical doctors and psychiatrists, and you will hear little more than forks and knives contacting their respective plates. That is fear, and that is wrong.
  • Jan 11 2013: I definitely agree with the no homework aspect. The way I see it, we spend so much time on our homework after school that it cuts into our sleep hours. Then the next day at school, we cannot focus as well because we are too tired. Studies have shown that people do not learn as well when they are tired. If we had no homework, we would be able to focus better in class, thus learning in class what we would have had to struggle with as homework. I also think that people nowadays don't learn in the linear fashion that is still being used. People want it to apply to their lives and be interesting. We should be able to learn in a more creative way. Great idea Gabriella!!
    • Jan 13 2013: The greatest challenge with homework is not the work itself. It is the time management issue. If you want to get your homework done, you plan for it. Then you stick to that plan and get it done.

      I recently had this discussion with my students about getting the work done. They self-admitted that the lack of sleep issue had little to do with their homework. The great majority of it was that they were on Facebook, Skype, playing games, texting, or doing any number of other distracting behaviors that limited their ability to complete their work. You can not effectively multi-task. The human brain is not geared for it. Again, students were reporting this to me in a discussion. And they recognized the problem, and did not wish to do anything about it.
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    Jan 3 2013: I went to such a school in my youth: http://www.metroopenschool.org/

    I think replicating that across the globe and for all age levels is an excellent idea, online and offline. Where the Metro Open School would be an offline version we should think about all the ways we can improve learning for everyone, for their entire lives.


    I took the liberty of using some of your words to describe this: http://www.wesolver.org/wiki/School

    Thank you for bringing this up!
  • Dec 30 2012: Okay I have another issue -we learn in many ways and many places Whether it is a school,university,PBS,NPR,TED,Church,books,at ones meals, etc. Guide others wherever you can. My greatest experiences were talking to other students outside my field. Isn't that available to everyone? Whether it is Moses at the last hours of his life in Gods company, Einstein at out of the way colleges, Jesus at the last supper,Gandhi describing teaching others and his philosophy in his autobiography, or just talking to your father and mother. - The perfect shool could never compare to the best coffee house experience. Oh well, I guess I am getting boringbut I am sure Gabroella knows this when she remembers the joy.
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      Jan 10 2013: I got your message, and you're not at all boring. Comparing experiences is probably one of the most exciting things in life!
  • Dec 30 2012: All I am noting is that different people have different aptitudes and interests. I just believe that sorting is unavoidable unless you have something like a military school , but not everyone wants to be in the Marines or whatever - and some are found not suitable. It's just the way we are made, but everyone should have an opportunity to follow their bliss. There are feedback loops in most everything including education. Students can bore instructors just like the other way around. Some people prefer sight,some sounds,and some feelings. We have all meet someone who went to the best schools who is a nitwit. Godspeed
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    Dec 28 2012: Just a small point but as a student I know the amount of vandalism that can take place in schools. How will this be dealt with because the most obvious solution (making the students pay in such situations) does not work (My school uses this system and the books are in a terrible condition). The reason it doesn't work is that some times books are missed and then the next student who gets it is blamed. S/he denies it and, since it is the truth, is believed but then other students start using it as an excuse. It quickly spread in my school and now all the books are in terrible condition
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      Dec 29 2012: Vandalism is an enormous problem, you're right. Maybe using a database and giving the students a book only for a day (for example from Saturday afternoon to Monday morning) can help people in charge of the library to control and immediately identify the bad students.
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        Dec 30 2012: Yes, I think that lending out books for a shorter period of time could really improve the vandalism problem. It would encourage the students to use the books there and then, in a controlled environment.

        Thank you for the good idea
  • Dec 28 2012: I love your model but I would like to ask for two considerations: 1 - a kid will and can learn at an astounding rate if he is interested. Finding that field for any individual is the problem. My solution, sit the kid in his parents lap in front of an internet link and let the kid sift through all that information until he finds some gold. Start real young, a couple of sessions a week. By the time he hits puberty he'll know less about more things rather than more about fewer. 2 - All men are not created equal. I think the latest election proves that point. The first things an education should do is teach the child how to learn.encourage the child to design his own curriculum and most importantly to guide the student over the inevitable obstacles one faces on any journey.My obstacle, math. Couldn' go over, had to go around.
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      Dec 29 2012: 1- Your solution is really interesting! Kids learn at a different rate and maybe surfing the Net to find useful information will help a lot, keeping in mind that real life and situations can't be replaced.
      2- All men are not equal, that's true. Maths is often an obstacle for a lot of students, and I'm convinced that we should think a new way to teach it. For example, using more teachers who can work with a small group of students in the afternoon and create with their collaboration a personal teaching plan.
      Have you ever heard of "Khan Academy"? It's a website where you can learn Maths through little steps. Maybe it's too late, but you can have a look anyway.
  • Dec 28 2012: Please build one in Massachusetts
  • Dec 27 2012: The schools are already to be found ! They are called Steiner Schools. Waldorf Schools in the U.S.

    Google it!

    Greetings and Happy New Year from Norway!
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      Dec 28 2012: Thank you very much, I'll immediately google it.
      Best wishes to you too !
  • Dec 28 2012: The Bronx School of Science? or an Honors Class. That's about as close as you can get with public schools(U.S.) Really others here have made the point that the student's interests and being interested are so important. Even teaching college students one can encounter a great lack of interest. The few Promethian teachers (from Keirsey) compete for honors classes because the students are interested.
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      Dec 29 2012: I've heard of Bronx School of Science and Honors Classes. I may be wrong, but I know that they require a selection among students to choose the best ones. On the contrary my wish is to build a school where everyone has the opportunity to be interested and to become the best one.
  • Dec 27 2012: your idea is good but when you can do all that at home. i mean online
    what is the use of making a school for it
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      Dec 28 2012: I'm really sorry but my English is not very good so I can't understand your second sentence. Could you explain it, please?