Many modern parents are dissatisfied with the existing education system. The main reasons: low quality and development of complexes in children. Therefore, a certain popularity was gained by alternative education. But it carries both undeniable advantages, and conceals drawbacks. In this article we will try to objectively evaluate this phenomenon.
Have you ever thought about your child attending only his favorite lessons? Had the opportunity to show his creative abilities and was given a free hand? Many alternative schools claim that all this is possible.
An alternative school is an educational institution with an unconventional curriculum and methods. The legal basis for such education depends on the state and determines any obligation to comply with standard tests and assessments. Such schools offer a wide range of learning strategies; some of them have a strong religious, scientific or philosophical orientation, while others do not depend on any kind of ideology and are formed by frustrated teachers and teachers.
Alternative education encompasses pedagogical approaches that differ from traditional pedagogy. Such a learning environment can be established in state, statutory and independent schools, as well as at home. Many alternatives in the field of education are characterized by small class sizes, close relations between pupils and teachers, and a sense of community.
Some alternative schools have their mission and beliefs, which they strive to adhere to. Here is something in common that can be distinguished:
- All students can learn and succeed with a variety of methods.
- Progress in learning comes when the student is expected to achieve great achievements.
- It is important to develop confidence and competence in each student.
- You can learn in any environment, not necessarily in the classroom.
- An alternative learning environment develops independence, skill and creative thinking.
- Learning is an active collaboration between pupils, parents, society and school.
- If the student is able to share his knowledge with others, he is on the right track.
- Learning is a lifelong process, it does not stop for a second.
The mission of such schools can be the following: “To equip all our students with basic knowledge and skills that will be prepared in an academic, social and emotional way, which will help to succeed in the global community.”
There are several different types of alternative schools, including:
- Local alternatives to public schools. For example, charter and magnetic schools (about them a little lower).
- Schools for students with special needs.
- Independent private schools.
- Schools with an emotional bias.
A charter school is a school that receives government funding, but operates independently of the public school system in which it is located. In some cases, it is private property. Such institutions are an example of the privatization of state assets.
Magnetic schools are public schools with special courses or curricula. The word “magnet” here means that they attract students from other regions (that is, not by place of residence).
Most magnetic schools focus on a particular discipline or field of study, while others have a more general focus. Their programs can focus on academic (mathematics, science and technology, humanities and social sciences, executive arts) or on technical, vocational, agricultural education.
Choosing an alternative school is often difficult. Parents who believe that standard schools do not adequately work with the educational needs of the child should consider different options. Here are the main reasons for this:
- the child is extraordinarily gifted;
- has a special talent or interest, for example, music or science, which can not be fully developed in a standard school;
- He does not receive enough attention in a regular school;
- he can not study for health reasons;
- the child’s behavior becomes self-destructive;
- He has emotional and mental problems.
Studies show that most problem students who graduated from programs in alternative schools have improved their relationships in the family, want to continue their education or are looking for work.
Disadvantages of alternative schools
However, do not think that visiting an alternative school has some advantages. There are drawbacks, here are the main ones:
- expensive training;
- classes can be less intense than in standard schools;
- There is an opinion that classes are not so strict, and graduates are not competitive when entering universities. Nevertheless, some schools are focused on ensuring that the graduate can continue studying without problems after graduation.
- the qualifications of teachers in alternative schools are not always clear;
- schools that are less than 5 years old may be more experimental than effective. This is now fashionable, which means that there are many who want to cash in on this.
- Not every school is accredited in the relevant state bodies.
Advantages of alternative education
We have already said that advantages and disadvantages are rather arbitrary, because such schools are too different from each other.
Nevertheless, it is possible to single out general trends that are more clearly traced every year:
- Smaller class sizes. This allows teachers to pay more attention to each student.
- More flexible schedules and requirements. Children and adolescents can choose the subjects, as well as the time of visit.
- The founders of the school are really interested in the students. For two reasons. First: they receive a large salary. Second: many founders really burn with the idea of teaching children, they see this as their mission.
- A wide variety of teaching methods. In such schools, emphasis is on creativity and interaction, and teachers change strategies to see what works and what does not.
- Non-traditional methods of estimation. Some schools instead of the usual assessments put written assessments, that is, they turn to the student or parents. This helps to find out what the problem is, and in what areas there are successes.
- Address the student’s social, mental and emotional needs. Such schools strive not only to provide academic knowledge, but also to educate a person with high emotional intelligence.
- Students seldom skip. And it’s true: children themselves want to acquire knowledge, because they are trusted and given freedom.
It is also worth mentioning that alternative schools specialize in the use of diverse and creative ways of teaching the material, and their methods are often more adapted to the preferences of each student.