The Sports Team Model of Tactile Education
Sports teams allow time for student's to "train" during the day. We should be doing the same thing for entrepreneurship and innovation. With flexible classroom time, students would have more opportunities for pursuing more interactive learning ops
To succeed in the 21st-century economy, students must learn to analyze and solve problems, collaborate, persevere, take calculated risks and learn from failure. Students can gain a lasting self-confidence not by being protected from failure but by learning that they can survive it. Students with this experience are generally more independent, confident, and will most likely have a better chance to adapt to what the future economy will look like. However, there needs to be time consistently devoted to the development of these skills for students.
Currently, sports is an integral part of the education process and is readily encouraged by both parents and educators alike. To accommodate student ambitions to pursue academic endeavors with the same rigor and devotion as sports, schools should adopt flexible schedules to encourage students to pursue more informal education opportunities as well. There are already a number of leading after-school programs that kids could attend with interactive learning experiences devoted to robotics,entrepreneurship, and the arts. The concept of flexible scheduling can be piloted and tested in regions where there is already a critical mass of informal education options and scaled up when/if successful.
Let's assume Malcom Gladwell was correct and that achieving mastery will take a student 10,000 hours. Growing up in Maine, I went skiing 6 days a week. My school was flexible enough to work around my training schedule, thus I had 3 hours a day on the slopes. If schools had the same flexibility for informal education projects such as entrepreneurship, engineering, and other hands-on learning activities, more students would be getting the 3 hours a day, 6 days a week that I did with skiing. At 3 hours/day x 6 days week x 40 weeks in a school year, a student would need just over 13 years to master the basic skills needed for the 21st century economy. So assuming a student will enter the work force at 22, it becomes evident that this process needs to start at the beginning of middle school.
How will your concept support young people as they transition into the world of work?
The main benefit of this approach will be the student's comfort with risk, uncertainty, and failure. Additionally, an education routed in the scientific method would reinforce the notion that there are many potential solutions to any given problem, which includes their own career. Students would also be more experienced applying their knowledge across subjects and situations.
What online or in-person components of your concept will best support this transition?
Students can have digital portfolios that illustrate their experience and progressive mastery of their selected skills such as design thinking, the scientific method, entrepreneurship, critical thinking, etc. This would demonstrate a student's real world experience, which could be more easily connected to job requirements. This portfolio would make it easier for students to communicate their value proposition and relevant experience in a way that "worked the cash register at Dan's PuttPutt" can't.