By Arushi Agarwal, Teen Committee Member
A few weeks ago, I met a girl who was unschooled. Since she was young, at that point in her life, her parents wanted her to just do what she was interested in. As a student myself who took multiple AP tests and SAT tests in the following weeks, I was intrigued yet frightened of the consequences. How would she achieve anything without a diploma or without tangible proof of her academic understanding? Yet I also wanted to be able to spend my day any which way; either pouring myself into an interest or spending time exploring in my community. This past week, the Bay Area community engaged in a discussion about different education methods and whether our current system is truly better than other options, like unschooling.
Beyond Measure, a film directed by Vicki Abeles, was screened at the Redwood City Library. Although Girls Innovate has been exploring society and education for the past year, this was one of my favorite discussions. Beyond Measure was similar to Most Likely to Succeed in the fact that it showed schools that were taking more project-based approaches and that were moving away from standardized tests. However, Beyond Measure also showed the journey of a few particular schools as they adopted newer methods of teaching. It was eye-opening to see High Tech High teach its students interactively but it was “mind-opening” for me to see administrators in Trigg County, Kentucky starting to implement what High Tech High was aiming for.
For the students in the crowd, it was inspiring to see junior Sam Levin start the Independent Project in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He asked his school to allot one day each week where students could teach other students in interactive ways and could work on their own creative semester projects. They could choose any area they liked and create something of their own without having to be stressed about it. Levin surpassed faculty and administration. He demonstrated that students can take a part in their own learning.
As for myself, I will also take a more active part in my community to understand the relationships and dynamics of education. I will try to take action, given any opportunity, to better my school. Students and teachers are already doing so, and step by step, we can make this a global revolution.