Independent Study and Technical Schools

Hey guys! So we’ve read a lot on education and about how philosophers like Friere, Foucault, and Gatto strongly dislike the educational system that we have today.However, none of these philosophers, except for Friere (kind of), gave any solution to the problems in education. I think that I might have a partial solution to the problems in education; actually, I didn’t really think of this, but the high school I went to did. I’m thinking that every high school can implement these solutions. The first is allowing a student to do independent study-which I will explain a bit more later- and allowing them to attend a technical school while they are in high school.

So independent study was a really cool program at my school for juniors and seniors. If students were on track with their credits, they could decide to study and research and do projects on things that they found interesting and wanted to learn about. For example, if the only thing that really interested you in high school was molecular biology or learning about the civil war, my high school would partner you with a person who was a professional on that information, and you would work with that person and do research projects for the remaining two years of high school (as well as doing your normal school work).This program is a solution, I feel, because it allows students to be trained in something that actually pertains to the goals that they want to achieve in their life and that can actually be useful to them in the real world. This is one of the big issues that the philosophers had with our educational system, and I think that this program provides a partial solution because students at least have some kind of authority over what they are going to be taught and do in life.

The other program that my high school did was allow juniors and seniors go to a technical school for half of a school day, and then spend the rest of the school day taking their regular classes. So, if the student wanted to become a nurse, or a mechanic, or a cosmetologist, or a photographer, they could get more than basic knowledge and experience in the field of their choice before going into the real world. Also, the technical school is great because it gives students the chance to decide if the program that they’re in is really something that they would like to do for the rest of their lives as a career.

Both of these programs, I believe, give students some power when it comes to their education and what, specifically, they are being taught while in a public/private school system. I believe that if we implement these programs in every school, then education would be a better system overall, and people would be more excited to go to school and obtain a degree. What do you guys think?

4 responses to “Independent Study and Technical Schools

  1. I think you make a great point that the philosophers provided very few solutions to the problems they described, I could it pretty unsatisfying that they critiqued problems without at least mentioning a solution. As for your school’s solution, I think that does seem like a pretty feasible means for at least creating some change within the educational sphere. I think one of the problems the philosophers would find with both solutions however, is that both still incorporate the power structure of the traditional education system by not just letting students focus on their specific study, but still requiring them to maintain a regular course load. I do however think it is a good step forward. Emory has a similar program to the second solution you provided, through their business school. The business school does not have classes on Friday, but they expect students to take that extra time allotted to them during the week to work on business related projects to jobs and subjects they are interested in.

  2. I think the option of having technical school and independent school classes is a good one for the same reasons you mentioned above, especially because I feel like this option prepares students a little more for college in terms of selecting a major. There are many high schoolers who go to traditional high schools and then graduate going into college undecided or with the intention of majoring in one thing and then changing their minds after they no longer have interest in a particular field of study. This method seems to work much more because it provides the students with early experience in their field of choice plus hands on learning not readily available to them outside of a traditional education. I feel like this course load provided by attending both high schools adds a bigger burden in terms of homework but makes up for it in invaluable experience and therefore could surely suffice as a more rewarding means of education.

  3. I thought this post was very interesting, especially because I had not noticed how much these philosophers complain without offering concrete, plausible solutions to the problems. While I agree with Lauren that the system your high school provided was a good one, I don’t necessarily believe that going into college knowing what you want to do is better than going in undecided. I may be biased in this regard, considering that was my situation when I entered college, but I believe being undecided leaves you unrestricted. Our philosophers stress studying all things that you find interesting, and creating your own curriculum, but having a major predetermined before you come to college leaves you less likely to explore other options, even if you are interested in them. Although I understand that the idea is that that exploration takes place earlier so students know what they want to do by the time they reach college, I think that the atmosphere, opportunities, and resources at college provide a better environment for exploration than most high schools could create.

  4. Harry: I understand what you mean by the philosophers not wanting students/people to take a regular/general course load, but is that not what students do in college as well, with general education requirements? I feel that everyone should all have the same basic knowledge in different subjects, just because I think that it’s useful to have general knowledge. What if a person showed drawing potential at a very young age, and only went to art school? Never knowing basic math, like how to multiply and add and divide? I think that is something we should think about.
    Lauren: I understand what you mean about having two course loads and that being too much. However, in my school, students would technically only have one regular course load because they would take 3 classes at our regular high school and 3 classes over at the technical school. And all of the students I knew that went to the technical school said that it was no problem handling the douse load. But still, I can understand how maybe it would be a little overwhelming to some people.
    Orli: I understand what you are saying, but the purpose of these technical schools is to allow students take classes in things that interest them, much like we do in college if we’re undecided, not to prepare them for college. I think what Lauren was trying to say was if that student really liked what they were doing, then they would have some idea of what they would do in college and the classes that they would need to take when they get to college. But I agree with you, I do think that the atmosphere at college does provide a better environment for exploration. Maybe we should start structuring high schools more like colleges?
    Thanks guys for talking about such interesting things on my post!

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