A New Educational Model

Everyone wonders about his or her purpose in life. Why am I here? What should I do with my life? What is my destiny?

I’m not the type of person to sit and wait for an answer. So I’ve given myself an answer. I can sum it up in a sentence:

I want to fundamentally improve the world. (Hey, we gotta aim high, right?)

There are two ways to do this: through policy and through education. Policy changes have an immediate but sometimes superficial impact. Educational changes have a fundamental impact, but can take a long, long time.

Politics is not a realm I want to enter. And like the song says, children are our future.

I want to start a privately-funded public school that uses a cooperation-based teaching system, as opposed to today’s competitive-based teaching system, to educate a new generation of society not just in academic intelligent, but in emotional & social intelligence as well.

Teachers will be highly trained in traditional academics, child psychology, and other advanced teaching methods. They will be very well paid, so that the teaching profession will be a highly desired and respected career.

Initially, the school will target disadvantaged inner-city youth. Once the educational model is proven, I want it to spread to other cities and states. Perhaps even countries too.

The model will be constantly evaluated and evolved. Training will be constantly provided to the teachers. This sort of evolutionary feedback loop is common in many types of entities (businesses, technologies, even biological organisms). Continuous evolution will keep the educational model modern, relevant, and effective for generations to come.

American schools still use a model that prepares our children for factory work. Volumes have been written about the need for a more innovative & creative workforce, so I won’t go into it here, except to say that academic smarts isn’t enough to operate in today’s global marketplace; emotional & social intelligence are also equally important, if not more so.

That is just the US-centric incentive for such this educational model. Hopefully, schools around the world will adopt such fundamental educational goals also. As a species, the human race needs to. I currently have little knowledge about the educational models in countries outside of the US, so they may already have teaching systems like this.

Fortunately, I’m not alone in this vision. A number of schools with progressive and/or alternate educational models have already appeared in America. I’m trying to collect information about each, so if you know of one, please let me know.

There is no profit incentive here. No power incentive either. The educational model will be publically available to any school or organization that wants to adopt it. There’s no need for a centralized governing body, though an independent quality & accountability association may be necessary.

Being privately-funded hopefully removes potentially negative political & financial influences on these schools. But a number of problems are immediately obvious:

How do I pay these very well paid teachers?

How do I train these teachers?

How do I privately fund it?

What exactly does this educational model look like?

How would the current educational institution react to these schools?

How would parents react to these schools?

How would quality & accountability be ensured?

And many, many more.

I don’t have the answers yet. There’s a lot more research to do. I’ll need lots of help too. Experienced teachers. Child psychologists. School principals who’ve had to deal with school boards. Anyone with the desire to help change the world.

Perhaps I won’t realistically accomplish all of this in my lifetime. That’s okay. At the very least, I want to lay the groundwork for such a school. Perhaps a successor will continue with the torch.

Or perhaps such a school already exists and all I need to do is support & help it grow. Who knows. There’s still much research to do.

But on my deathbed, at least I’ll know that I tried to fundamentally improve the world.

. . .

Want to help, or have any information that can help me build this school?

Author: Mike Lee

An idealistic realist, humanistic technologist & constant student.

8 thoughts on “A New Educational Model”

  1. I’ve spoken with lots of friends who are teachers or are related to the education community. They’ve given me some great insights & ideas.

    I’m still in the information collection phase though – the nice thing is that a ton of research & initiatives have already been done in this area. Now I have to sort through it all so I can build a viable system to sustain this educational model.

  2. Hmm, I’m not sure I understand the question. Do you want to create a new education model with the specific intent of using new technologies? If so, I’d caution against that approach.

    I think that you should create a new education model regardless of whether or not new technologies apply. If they do, that’s great! If not, that’s fine. But don’t limit yourself artificially by requiring the use of new technologies.

    That’s just my opinion, of course. Yahoo, Google, and a number of web start-ups are all trying to change the education system with new technologies. I’m skeptical yet hopeful; if one of them can do it, more power to ’em!

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