This Morning, More School Ideas and... More!

As we age,
Time lessens.
Earth shrinks.
Paths through the woods grow shorter.

We believe we are becoming more independent,
But we become more dependent than ever before.
That's what happens when you find other people.

Age is the measure of our dependency.

In other news, I have decided to try to add more photos into my blog posts, as that's what everyone else does and it probably will make this a bit more exciting. It may even get me more traffic! Just a few minutes ago I found a blog solely because of a picture it had.

Anyways, that was the "More!" part.

I took Keely for a 87-minute walk this morning up to Carlanna Lake, which is where I got the idea for that little poem at the top. We then on to the end of the fancy trail they've made going alongside the lake that leads to who knows where. Keely realized it first when we got to the end of the built up trail. She stopped when the boardwalk ended and rooty trail continued and I thought "Go ahead! What are you stopping for?" and then I realized "Oh... that's why." I'm not sure why exactly she seemed apprehensive about continuing on a dirt path, considering she went off the path a lot to romp through the woods, but I guess we were both pretty used to the wood and gravel.

So we turned around and for some reason or another I began to think (again) about how to revolutionize high school teaching. Last time I was on this subject it was all about English, and for this morning my thoughts started with English as well.

I believe what led me to the station of my train of thought was my thoughts on the idiom "got out." I was thinking about my daily habits and said in my mind that one thing was a certain way "ever since AcDc got out." Then I immediately withdrew that memo to myself, thinking "I can't use 'got out' like that. 'Got out' would be more appropriate in use regarding school or other things."

(Above: Keely chills out, still damp and slightly dirty from her walk.)

That led me to thinking about idioms and how damn complicated English is. And so I thought about others learning English and about how learning a foreign language gives a person a lot of perspective on their own language and people who wish to learn their native language.

THUS, I eventually arrived at the conclusion that:

English and foreign language classes should be combined.

It's perfect! Foreign language should be required in high school, let alone earlier. And so, what do you do? You have students learn more about English and develop their writing and other skills while also learning another language. Instead of English I and II, we can have Language I and II (French) and Language I and II (Spanish). And that would be just to begin with, of course. With all freshman and sophomores having to take Language I and II, (and having to pass them to graduate) the school would want to provide a lot more language choices. And that means that essential element of choice is entered into the classes, even though they're required. After two years of Language, students could choose various English classes focused on certain topics and skills or they could go farther in their foreign language. Both should count as further English credits towards graduation.

Learning things together is natural. Chemistry I is probably the strongest example of this. That class has tons of algebra, but the math involved is all extremely simple for those taking the class. So how about Algebra I students also take Chemistry in a combined class? Math and science are always connected. Many of the problems in math classes involve science, so why not make all or most of the math applicable to the real world? A "pure math" class could also be created, for those who want nothing to do with realistic story problems and wish to look only at the language that is mathematics. Geometry could easily be taught alongside carpentry. Some days would be spent on building projects, others with the textbook, and all of it would be great hands-on learning.

History and English, too, are a match waiting to happen. How easy would it be for history teachers to involve fundamental writing and reading skills in learning about history? The development of my ability to write an essay well began with my AP European History class sophomore year and was furthered dramatically by both AP Language and AP World History this year. English I and II certainly didn't teach me how to write!

Maybe all this class cross-pollenization is a little bit too radical for right now. Here's my short-term list of desires regarding educational policy:

Make foreign language required for at least two years.
Create a lager variety of both foreign and English language classes.

That's all I have for now!

Comments

  1. Brilliant. I know many teachers who agree with you. AP History and AP English do line up in their curriculum content at least.

    ReplyDelete

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