For the past 150 years, governments in many countries around the world have used the Prussian Model of Education as a model for their school systems. Compulsory attendance, standardized tests, fragmentation of concepts into separate subjects and the State ultimately asserting claim to the child over the rights of the parents was, and still is, the intention.
In the 21st Century we still constrain our children in crowded classrooms, deprived of fresh air, sunlight and exercise. We coerce them into memorizing and regurgitating and then complacently consent to them being labelled FAILURE simply because they didn’t pass an age-graded standardized test.
This is especially devastating for young children who don’t have the ability to know what to do to avoid the FAILURE label that decimates their confidence levels and negatively influences the rest of their lives.
While some students can be molded into the expectations of our outdated education system, just as many drop out, physically or mentally – their gifts and talents underdeveloped and unrecognized. The model has never and will never be suitable for Indigenous children who carry in their DNA a cultural history of learning through oral communication, stories and hands-on experiences with lots of fresh air and exercise.
What is needed is a Revolution, a new model, an alternative way to deliver education that creates successful experiences for all children. We still need a curriculum; we still need to teach reading and writing; but more than ever, we need to create environments where everyone can create success stories.
Children are like flowers that need prepared, nutrient-rich soil in order to be healthy. Children need a variety of engaging experiences to choose from in order to develop their uniqueness. The Story Circle Model of Education was created to teach curriculum in a way that focuses on children’s strengths rather than on their weaknesses. Like flowers, children don’t bloom at the same time or in the same season. Why can’t we accept this?
The Story Circle Model of Education is based on creating stories around academic concepts. Humans communicate through story and the brain stores information best in story form. The Story Circle Model of Education uses Music, Art, Drama and Technology to create the stories so, ultimately, the model is both a brain-friendly and a people-friendly system.
The Story Circle classroom offers a rich environment where K-12 students are encouraged to investigate themes in science, history and mathematics… as they create stories around the concepts to be learned. Confidence and self-worth are built into every task. Vocabulary knowledge, without which reading comprehension is impossible, is emphasized as students learn about creations, cultures, critters and climates around the world. Standards and expectations are maintained but diversity is encouraged rather than conformity insisted upon.
For the past fifty years I have researched, studied and dreamed of being able to share The Story Circle Model of Education with the world where millions of children have been, and still are, disadvantaged by our current educational model. Conformity, control, standardized tests and homework have not served their needs and never will.
We invite all educational leaders to The Vera Goodman Academy of Learning located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains – Calgary, Alberta, Canada – to discover how The Story Circle Model of Education can change the education experience so that all children have an opportunity to grow up to be happy, successful, contributing members of our world.