Students choosing the afternoon
Academic Programme would study one subject per year and, in that one year, the teacher would
have the job of getting them though at least two years worth of 'current'
materials. The sharpest students would likely work through and pass exams in
three 'current' years worth.
Every academic student would be expected to choose one task (Standard),
research it and do all the work one their own, with no teacher help. This
would prepare them for academic life beyond school.
The ideal situation would be
that the teacher teaches for a while, then lets the students proceeded at
their own rate. Then teaches a little more, then sets them free again. At
some point, the teacher would become a facilitator and the students would
all be at different stages - the smartest leaping ahead the fastest. I
adopted this approach for teaching Japanese and many students stormed ahead,
way beyond any syllabus requirements; my job was then to teach the
slower ones to make sure they could pass their assessments.
The students have to be
naturally keen to do this, not pressured into it by teachers or parents. If
they cannot get into self-study, then, obviously they are in the wrong
The purpose of morning study is to reach a certain level of literacy and
numeracy. If not achieved, it would have to be studied again the following
year. With such a plan, a two year junior programme could be completed in
one year by a keen student thereby giving them more freedom to chose what
they want to do. Or perhaps they could then move onto a one-year Senior
literacy and numeracy programme. This would create motivation - study more
now, do less later. The job for English and maths teachers is to create
tasks that support and relate directly to other areas of student interest. For
example, probability in maths for a sports student might look at the odds in
horse racing betting. While there is a core basic element to any academic
subject, it should be minimised and focus instead placed on what a student
Science example: In junior science, there could simply be minimal to no
teaching lessons whatsoever. Instead, the teacher gives them a question. "Where
does electricity come from?" The students research and find their own
answer. It is just - information. In developing their answers they will all
find and read different things. Some will do better than others but it
doesn't matter as long as they are all searching and finding 'stuff' out for
themselves. The ones that do better will be the more academic. If they are
not interested and do less work, science is obviously ... not for them ...
or perhaps, not yet. There is always later. As a minimum, if a student
produced no work, s/he would at least be expected to read about and/or watch
videos on electricity and be able to answer basic verbal questions and offer
explanations about it. The teacher's job is to provoke, stimulate, guide a
little, but not to teach information or answers or 'to the test'. In
science, the teacher would likely spend most of their time organising
experiments for students to further stimulate learning. This same
student-centred approach for juniors could be adopted for most subjects.
Afternoon programmes would have zero assessments. The entire emphasis is to
be on the 'doing' and to do it as well as it can be done. Doing assessments
and/or studying for the test forces the direction of education and restricts
the student's natural curiosity to search. We need to open it up and give
them more freedom. In this way, each student will learn more, they will all
learn different things, and they will share and help each other. As a
result, they will remember more, meaning, far more will be learned.
* Students NOT academically
oriented should not be forced into the academic area.