I'm trying on some new ideas and if you feel like responding with constructive criticisms, I'd sure appreciate your feedback. This is raw thinking and kind of a sketch of where I'm going with my charter school. I know I need to further develop and explain some of these pieces because while it all fits the empty puzzle pieces in my brain, I know that not everyone has seen me put some of the pieces into place. I need to know from objective minds where the gaps in my logic lie. Thanks, in advance, for your help!
I think that what we're coming up with right now is what can be dubbed as a Life Practice Model, where the students are put into the position of developing Careers Habits, Personal Habits, and Knowledge Habits. I think that with each of the triumvirate taking equal time/efforts at center stage, we'll be able to have the base set for an integrated school.
Careers Habits seem to be those skills and dispositions needed to be successful in a personally rewarding career. Students will be expected to figure out with which skills they're good and/or comfortable, how to further develop those weaker skills, how to develop new skills, and how to apply all skills to figure out a possible plan of action to carry them through their schooling years into their career field. Mentorships, job-shadows, and other real-world experiences are a vital piece to developing Careers Habits. They also need to have an opportunity to "try on" these careers in the classroom, getting paid with simulated cash for their work. To be sure, as they leave Life Practice
and go into the careers of their chosen fields, their choices will inevitably change, but that's why we have the Personal Habits piece of the triumvirate:
In the Personal Habits side, students are learning how to learn, first and foremost. They learn about their particular styles, and learn how to mesh their preferences with the learning styles of others to be effective team members. Emphasizing the Personal Habits curriculum, they not only learn self-directedness, control of impulsivity, organizational skills, etc (Art Costa's 16 Habits of Mind
), they learn how to do this THROUGH the curriculum, which includes having a home, bills, money issues, day care for their kids, etc. While this all seems so touchy-feely, yet suspiciously missing
from current traditional schooling, we still need to include the academic piece in order to pass the all-important AYP/NCLB measuring stick:
This is where the Knowledge Habits come in to support the final(?) leg of the triumvirate
(I'm purposeful in my continued use of this word). Knowledge HABITS are more than simply the State Standards, even though they are the guiding principles for this Habits leg. The standards seem to be learning in isolation, and the core pieces help to develop a "bigger picture" of how humans use the standards in "the real world." These core elements of Knowledge Habits are 1) communications (reading/writing/speaking/understanding), 2) investigations (problem-solving in the maths/sciences), and 3) a global understanding of where we've been, who we are now, and where we're headed as not only a culture, but also as members of the human race. To truly develop the Knowledge Habit, it is essential that its core elements are integrated for a big-picture understanding of real life.
The support system for the Life Practices Model is centered around the School Family (school staff and students' families as equal partners) and extends well into the community both virtually and in personal contact. Up to date technology usage and technology FREEDOM is essential for the development of future skills, as well as being the tool for creating student engagement.
Time and space are flexible notions in the school. How the building is set up can be changed to fit the needs of the students at the time. Some students will need more or less time to learn than what is traditionally allowed.
We are not constrained by birthdates for learning placement. We are not constrained by our location in this world. We are not constrained by the notion that facts are the end-point to learning.
The idea that students are learning how to become lifelong learners is an inviting notion in the traditional school, but the structure there just is not conducive to effective and lasting and teenage engagement in this task for the 21st Century. While the current infrastructure of the traditional school is still set up to prepare students for careers in 1920, the Life Practices Model allows for adaptation and true student growth for their futures.