Continuing the discussion from Activity 3: Visit a creative learning space:
This is a very important topic to me. My own kids are starting to enter high school where our state has adopted initiatives that are supposed to supplement Common Core and better prepare kids for traditional academic pursuits while using a modified interest-based approach.
The local high school participates in a program that utilizes areas of focus, modeled after traditional degree programs. All students have some requirements such as in maths and science. Some focuses come with additional prerequisites and co-requisites. The idea, as I take it, is that a learner is advised to get as many mandatory requisites out of the way as possible for their 9th and 10th grade years. The reasoning follows that an 11th an 12th grade learner may be more equipped with a better idea of who they want to be or what they want to do after experience with how the school works, the programs of focus, and after rapport and interaction with educators.
A stated goal is also to promote exploration without fear of failure. The thinking behind this seems to be that if a high school student chooses a focus towards what they think they want to do and be but find out it is not their interest after all, they will be equipped with critical thinking about longterm academic choices and have a better sense of what it might take to get where they want without endangering a collegiate GPA.
On one hand, I value the spirit of this approach in some ways. On the other hand, some of the implementation seems too early to assess. Judging by resources and information available now about some policies that will begin next year at the high school, it seems ill-planned, shortsighted in ways, and still too focused on metrics. I am trying to stay open as a parent due to early development stages, but I have concerns.
I think there is definitely value in finding opportunities for learners to direct their own educational path based on their interests and passions. I also think there is value in providing learning experiences that reflect even interests and passions may require dedication and hard work. And I see value in offering programmatic policies that help prepare students for the real world.
I think where education might be lacking or too metric-focused, creative solutions can enrich critical thinking experiences and supplement any missing value to those metrics.
But when are metrics too much or stifling for creative learning?
"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain