School/College Collaboration: Teaching At-Risk Youth

Al Shanker describes the need for experimentation with the structure and organization of education. He cites a school in Germany that has drastically restructured the way it educates, grouping children with one team of teachers from fifth grade through age nineteen. Collaborative learning is the focus of classwork, and no substitute teachers are ever hired. Shanker further cites research that says that of all the ways to learn material, listening is the least effective, yet we ask students to sit and listen to the teacher all day long. Changing subjects, teachers, and expectations every 45 minutes also runs counter to learning, he states. Tests that put students on certain tracks at too young an age also discourage. Shanker recognizes that teachers can not wholly abandon the current system, especially when what to replace it with has not been determined, but he urges teachers to take responsibility to enact change and experiment with the current model.

Baltimore, MD
8 pages
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