• What Happens When a School Puts a Stop to Homework or Grades
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  • We are only just really beginning to feel the changes in the kids' school curriculum since we've adapted the new K to 12 education system. (Read more about it here.) It is quite an adjustment, but many of you are hopeful that it will pay off in the long run. It makes us wonder if these sweeping changes in our educational system mean we may be ready to change more in the way our schools are teaching our kids.
      
    In Europe, there are two new philosophies that are challenging the traditional way of children's education, and both are getting thumbs-up from parents. Maybe these can get the kids to love for the process of learning more. Read and let us know what you think. Here are two new education innovations.

    A school that gives no homework
    At Philip Morant School and College, in Colchester, U.K., there is no homework in the traditional sense. Students can choose to take part in Prove it+ and Independent Study Tasks, two optional homework schemes that aim to help kids take greater responsibility of what and how they learn. Teachers only guide their students in choosing their own homework, taking into consideration their interests and targets.

    The school conducted an analysis on how the new homework options impacted the students' lives and found that the new homework policy is on track to help develop independence, ensure that skills taught in school are followed-up at home, and promote kindness, as some tasks involve family, the community, and charity. "This new approach allows us to more carefully track and monitor students both academically but also against skills critical for their lives ahead," school principal Catherine Hutley told The Huffington Post UK

    Both feedback from parents and kids are mostly positive. "It's better than doing homework because you can choose what you focus and develop," one student said. Another student said it's more engaging for them. "We can be independent and the teachers help us to make the right decisions as individuals," another student said. It might be too early to call it, but kids don't really use statements like these to describe traditional homework. 

    A school that does not give out grades
    Not until the students turn 15, that is. At Evangelical School Berlin Centre, in Germany, there are no grades, no timetables, and no lectures. Set subjects are only limited to math, German, English, and social studies. Other subjects have a more abstract scope like “responsibility” and “challenge,” where 13- to 14-year-old students plan and go on an adventure on their own, such as kayaking and trekking. Neat, right?

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    The students also decide the subjects they want to study for each lesson, and when they’ll take an exam. The students are also encouraged to come up with an alternative "test" and prove that they have learned new skills, for example, a student would write code for a computer game instead of answering a math test. "Nothing motivates students more than when they discover the meaning behind a subject of their own accord,” school head teacher Margret Rasfeld told The Guardian, adding that the ability to motivate oneself is the most important skill the school could teach its students.

    "The mission of a progressive school should be to prepare young people to cope with change, or better still, to make them look forward to change. In the 21st century, schools should see it as their job to develop strong personalities,” says Rasfeld. So while the change is a drastic one, the results are impressive and rewarding. Year after year, the school's students end up having the best grades among all of the country’s comprehensive schools, Rasfeld points out.

    If you notice, these two education innovations put premium on developing independence and decision-making at such an early age. It also gives emphasis on motivating the kids in this day and age of gadgets and instant gratification. More imporatantly, these education philosophies celebrate children as unique individuals and not just part of a class or statistic. Kids today will certainly benefit on all the skills and traits we've mentioned. Agree?

    Do you think the Filipino kids are ready for these kinds of changes? Let us know in the comments below or write to us in via Facebook.

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