Alan November Interviews Dr. Yong Zhao: Part I

I highly recommend listening to the newest interview on Alan November's blog if you can find the time. Some very good forward thinking and analysis about what American schooling is missing in his interview with Dr. Yong Zhao, what we are up against in terms of competing with Chinese and Indian schools. Anyway, I especially found the portions about students as contributors to communities a refreshing idea and one that i have been tossing around for a while. What would a school that based itself on student centered community projects and businesses look like. The kids would come to "work" not "school", they would contribute to a need of the community, they would learn while doing. Certainly this is not a radical thought, but getting there seems like a radical journey from the type of school that is the norm in the world today. My fourth graders for the last two weeks have been working on a business plan of their own that they will then have to execute. Most are selling baked goods but some are offering services. I really have gotten into this project with the kids and I think this is exactly the kind of project we need to see more of to make learning relevant to our students. My favorite student idea is offering the service of waiting in the lunch line for a small fee for students so they can go play . Who wouldn't want to pay that so they could max their recess time instead of standing in the cafeteria waiting for food. And, as the student pointed out (a fourth grader mind you), "there is no overhead in offering a service Mr. D., so I think we can get the most profits that way."


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