Harold Jarche in his post titled Small Schools, Loosely Joined makes an interesting pitch to return to the one room school concept, mostly because the tools make it possible:
- With access to the Internet a one-room school would have to reach out to the rest of the world and not be wrapped in the confines of the industrial school. Schools would have to seek out partnerships and not be isolated islands.
- Communities of learning online could be developed to link learners in several schools and even in different countries.
- No teacher would be able to â€œmasterâ€ the subject matter, so teachers would become facilitators of learning, which is what they profess to do anyway .
- Small schools would be integrated into the community and there would be a sense of ownership by the community, not the education system.
- Most children would be able to walk to school, therefore eliminating busses, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and encouraging exercise.
- Children and parents could have more than one school to choose from.
- Sales of industrial school buildings could be used as financial capital for the transition.
All interesting ideas, I’d say, not to mention the effect on the overall financial, taxpayer burden for funding schools.
Reminds me of a good friend who is eschewing the local public school kindergarten for something unique in my experience. He and his wife have banded together with a half a dozen or so other families with kindergarten age kids and hired a Montesorri teacher to work with them in their homes on a weekly rotation. So, you host school for a week then get five weeks off. Parent/hosts help the teacher work with the kids, and what you get is a very safe, supportive, close-knit community of parents and learners who are invested in their kids education.
Not sure what happens next year, however…
Harold Jarche says
Thanks, Will. I also came across this democratic school which recently opened in our region – http://www.fairfieldschool.org/
It’s based on the Sudbury Valley School, in Framingham Massachusetts; do you know of it?
Even if most children could walk to school, which is certainly true in my small town, most parents would drive them. I speak from experience since I seem to be the only parent who walks with my children to events (they’re in middle school).
At the moment, my kids’ public school has finally started a genuine gifted and talented program within the confines of the regular classroom and it’s great–they’re actually getting to do more challenging work without an increased workload. It’s as though they’re in a school within a school.
Andrew Pass says
I think you raise a good suggestion. I’m teaching a religious school class of 5th graders this year in which I’ve given my students the objectives and the resources for learning the material that they need to learn. I simply let them learn. While they are learning I walk around and support their learning, maybe asking questions, sometimes praising them and sometimes reminding them to work. Imagine a situation in which every school had informal learning, which simultaneously promotes socialization. Furthermore, with informal learning it’s easier to teach multiple age groups. Do you think it’s easier to do this in a one room school-house?
Roger Taylor says
That’s an interesting comment, Andrew. It’s funny to hear all of you speak about early grades this way when I found the exact same thing in my collegiate experience. I had to jump through hoops last year to get an independent study project set up. When I did, I learned far more than I ever did in any classroom or lecture hall. I appreciated my professors’ expertise and teaching skills, but there was simply more to be learned by going out and doing my own research.