Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
At School Choice International (SCI), we are committed to assisting families in making the best decisions for their children's education. This requires expertise in many areas such as curriculum differences around the world, college placement, understanding children's specific needs and more. At SCI, our focus is the "right" fit for the child whether school age or college age.
Read more about challenges of curriculum changes on Relocation Viewpoints, a blog by Cartus, our global mobility partner,
Monday, June 15, 2015
Elon Musk opened a new school in Los Angeles, California. He was underwhelmed with the school his kids attended. So he thought he could do better. While not much information is available on the school--its location, facilities nor curriculum--the school’s name, Ad Astra School, gives some indication that pupils will be prepared to “think big.” Ad Astra means, “to the stars.” In fact, many of the 20 students are children whose parents are SpaceX employees.
Among Elon’s reasons for abandoning a conventional school was the complaint that schools were not skilled at teaching problem solving. He pointed out that schools were “teaching about how screwdrivers and drills work instead of letting the kids take apart an engine using these tools.”
In fact, the basic tenets of problem based learning (pbl) are by now fairly well defined. They include a key question which frames the entire assignment. I have heard skilled “pbl” teachers say that getting this question right is the most difficult part of preparing the lesson. Here is an example.
You and your fellow scientists will be planning a hypothetical journey to the center of the Earth. Describe what problems you will encounter along the way and how will you solve them.
There is no mention here about memorizing equations or names of rock or earth’s geological ages. In fact, one could argue that schools who are invested in this pedagogy are pretty good at teaching problem-based learning. Are Elon’s criticisms valid? Or he is but another example of a “smart person” deciding that his many extraordinary successes therefore qualify him to “build a better school.” On the other hand, there are parents who seem happy to educate their children in this experimental educational environment. So maybe there is a place for these innovative school startups.