The Treasure Hunter

A blog by Joanne Yatvin

There’s More to Education than Reading,Writing, and Math

on November 18, 2019

Last week I read an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer that seemed to be a copy of others I had read before. It told the story of a teenage boy shooting and killing a school classmate because he had insulted him. As you might expect, the results were family heartache, the shooters’ arrest, and his punishment. Although most people think that restricting gun ownership is the only way to prevent more of such tragedies, I see other ways to stop kids from shooting each other and instead work happily together. And so, I will describe some of them here today. *****************************************************************************************************************

Basically, I believe that schools should be places where students feel safe and see themselves as successful and likable human beings. If things don’t go right many of them may be headed for trouble instead. Only when schools recognize students’ personal needs, along with their learning needs, and aim to meet both of them, will there be educational success. Students will see their schoolwork as reasonable and beneficial, themselves as winners, their teachers and classmates as friends, and education as a good time in their lives.

What kinds of learning activities do I suggest for schools? Well, where I was principal we chose ones that were beyond the classroom but appropriate for the ages, interests, and abilities of students. In our lower grade classrooms we provided plants, flowers, and small animals that needed regular attention, and gave students the responsibility to take care of them. For our middle school students the opportunity to learn adult jobs seemed appropriate, so many of them were tought to serve school lunches, clean up and re-organize the school gym after games, and collect daily classroom trash. Our upper school students were assigned to work inside and outside the school. A few of the smartest ones went through classroom trashcans every week in order to take out any articles that were re-salable. Because of their efforts the school earned enough money to buy worthy school materials every year. As a result of their out-of-cllasroom activities most of our students felt successful inside and outside the classroom, and learned skills and adult behavior that would benefit them in the future. I hope with all my heart that all of them succeeded.

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