via red tricycle
Let’s organize schools like we do athletics
kids would be better served if we organize all subjects in the public school as we do athletics. No matter what the sport is, the raw talents of our youth drive their athletic education and training. Simply speaking, coaches build their teams around the talents of the kids who tryout.
Here’s David’s story
David is a freshman in high school and he is in love with baseball. Knowing that his high school baseball tryouts would be coming in the early spring, David has been practicing his fielding and hitting almost every day. Quite often you would find David at the local batting cage where he would spend all of his allowance and the money received from after school jobs.
When the day for baseball tryouts came, David felt prepared and ready to exhibit his baseball talents. After the coach described the baseball program, David with 120 other high school kids, was told to organize themselves by position. Signs were placed around the field indicating team positions, including outfield, infield, first base, pitching and catching. David went quickly to the infield area. His hope was to make the team as either second base or shortstop.
Tryouts began with an assistant coach hitting ground balls to prospective infielders. Soft grounders, hard-hit balls, and popups. David and the other kids were evaluated on their natural talents as infielders.
Specifically, David was being judged on how well he accomplished the following:
(1) getting into the correct fielding position, (2) being prepared to move left or right, (3) maintaining the correct location of your glove to your body and the ground, (4) watching the ball as it moves into your glove, and (5) transferring the ball to your throwing hand.
During the tryouts the coaches watched carefully, observing how each youngster played their respective position. But this was just the beginning. Once team members were chosen it was the job of the coaching staff to take the raw talents they observed and provide knowledge and skill-based instruction to transform these talents into strengths.
The same approach and process were used for hitting. Coaches watched each player for the potential they exhibited based on the natural batting talents they observed.
When the tryouts were completed David felt he had done well and was hopeful about making the team. Because he fielded every ball and showed the coaching staff that he could hit, he was optimistic about his future as a high school ballplayer. But David also knew that his talents alone were not sufficient for him to be a great baseball player. He required the knowledge and skills that his coaches could provide.
This is the power and influence of the strength-based model
David had natural talents in baseball but that potential for success would not be realized without the necessary knowledge and skills to transform and grow his talents into strengths. But most importantly, because David had the motivation and interest in baseball he had the will to listen to his coaches for the guidance and support they would provide.
So the question is, why can’t the public schools be organized like school athletics? Why don’t we use the raw cognitive, social, and emotional talents of students to create an environment which encourages kids to be enthusiastic about learning? Then, just as we do in athletics, teachers provide the requisite knowledge and skills to transform the talents into strengths.
Where is it written that the public school must be driven by standards, a curriculum, or subjects? Why can student talents drive the curriculum? If it works in baseball and other sports, why not in math, science, history, and language arts?
Why shouldn’t your kids be valued for the talents they possess?
Where is it written the only way kids learn is through an established curriculum? And for those that say this is a “Pie in the Sky Idea.” are our professional ballplayers more important than the rest of our kids? Why shouldn’t the natural talents of all kids be appreciated and drive the teaching and learning process?
Back to David. It seems that his baseball story took a very interesting twist. Yes, David did make the team and was considered by his coaches to be a bright prospect for their high school squad. But not as an infielder or even a hitter. Seems that David had a natural screwball and his coaches couldn’t wait to transform his newfound talent into a star pitcher.