A Special Interest in Learning
It’s no secret that in order for students to be engaged in learning they must study what interests them for a good majority of the time. This means going beyond the confines of our standardized teaching model and finding ways to provide special education to every student.
Simply handing students iPads is not enough. We need to teach kids how to use this tool to research and discover their true passions. We need to give them more resources to make an educated decision about their future before they get to the sorting hat.
Our experience is that when students get to college, they tend to change majors several times. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, around 80 percent of undergrads change their major at least once before they graduate, and a majority change majors three or more times over the course of their college career. This means that students are leaving high school with little to no direction, or may be unaware of the job market potential.
Career day should be career week. Schools should expand their network beyond the traditional educator base by calling on other professionals within the community. This gives community members a chance to give back and share their experience with their young aspiring counterparts. There are entire companies dedicated to accomplishing this. For instance, IT-oLogy is a non-profit devoted to growing IT talent by working with K-12 schools to encourage students, educators and parents to learn more about the IT profession.
If a student wants to learn something specialized, such as programming, there’s probably someone out there who’s doing it for a living and wants to share their experience. Schools should curate who makes these connections and create environments that incentivize mentorship. This expanded learning network approach not only accommodates students’ interests – it builds strong communities.