School, Redesigned

Oh dear… You want me to redesign a school?

Very well, I shall take on high school, since it’s freshest in my memory.

There will be the usual suspects. I’m tempted to put in nonsense like Penguin Appreciation and Dolphin Singing, but I’ll be serious. Literature, maths, history and so on. Literature will cover various time periods depending on the year level. Maths will cover the various things, with a compulsory budgeting component built into every year level.

Time for An Anecdote. When I was in high school, I did maths for three years. In year 11, I did the easy version to get my numeracy credits to get uni entrance. After that, I could have selected calculus (no thank you) or one semester of easy maths. The calculus would’ve led either to more calculus or nothing. The easy maths would lead to either calculus or nothing. Either way I wasn’t going to be picking a year 13 maths class.

My high school will mimic that.

Food technology will be compulsory for one of the later years, so students may learn something about cooking. At least once a week some aspect of nutrition will be covered.

Languages will be French, German or Japanese and compulsory. Two of these were offered at my school, and in my German class I watched the numbers dwindle year-by-year. It was depressing. Year 10 was a fairly full class. So was year 11. Year 12 had maybe fifteen students, and that was scaled back to about ten in year 13. I think only one of those students, other than myself, did any German beyond high school.

Languages are useful. They open the eyes to a whole new world of film and literature and culture (I’m looking at you, Mr Hoffmann, who terrified myself with the Sandman).

There will be a class in which people discuss things like current events. That’s probably a thing, but the closest we ever got at my school was Miss Social Studies asking ‘What happened today in the news?’, at which point a few people would contribute with the enthusiasm of tired penguins, and then we’d proceed with the lesson plan. This means that people will get into the habit of being educated about what’s going on in the world, thereby breaking the stereotype of ignorant teenagers.

Ooh, how about a Social Media class, in which blogging is a topic and people learn about the pros and cons of using social media. It’ll be a one-year course, but still compulsory. (Here, I was tempted to say a Twitter class, but anyone can master Twitter)

PE, of course, will be useful. However, it is contingent on what exercise the student gets outside of school. I walked to and from school – therefore, I would be exempt from PE on those grounds. Student who gets dropped off and picked up, however, would not.

The arts and sciences will also feature. However, it will be a balancing act. To ensure that students do not get bogged down in Biology or consumed with Chemistry, they will have to pick an art such as dance or drama. I did drama for two terms. It wasn’t bad. My teacher remembered me three years later and said I was good at it.

Actually, it’ll all be a balancing thing. Just use the science/art model and apply it as you see fit. I’ve teachers to hire.

3 thoughts on “School, Redesigned”

  1. I was disappointed by this post. By the title, I was expecting more about how the classes are taught not just which subjects are offered . The school my children go to is very much like the one you describe, with the exception of the language requirement.
    There is a lot of discussion among educators right now (andaybe always) about teaching methods, the benefit of homework, and the necessity of tests. I was hoping for more of that from your point of view.


    1. In hindsight, I could have gone that route, and I was tempted to do so. My main thread of thought was high school, which I didn’t always like because of the classes.

      I am aware of the discussions, but haven’t given them much thought. Still, I am returning to study soon, so there may yet be a future post about the discussions you mention.

      Thanks for the feedback 🙂


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