Education That Works and Students Like!

A people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power that knowledge gives. A popular government without popular knowledge or the means of acquiring it is but a prelude to a farce or a tragedy or perhaps both.
--- James Madison

Education and professional training are provided at no cost to all citizens from pre-school to post-graduate school. The educational system is a composite of the best innovations in the field, conceived by award-winning educators.

Dan Greenberg, founder of the Sudbury School writes: “Children have an immense capacity for concentration and hard work when they are passionate about what they are doing, and the skills they acquire in any area of interest are readily transferable to other fields. Schools must thus become far more reliant on self-initiated activities.” These types of activities cause children to grow up with a greater sense of self-motivation and self-assessment, essential skills for future survival, according to Greenberg. He believes that students can be empowered by being given both the technology and the responsibility for their own learning.

A school system’s success, argues award-winning educator John Taylor Gatto in Dumbing Us Down, depends on self-discovery, but not the sort that is conditional. “People have to be allowed to make their own mistakes and to try again, or they will never master themselves, although they may well seem to be competent when they have in fact only memorized or imitated someone else’s performance.” Gatto’s foremost philosophy of teaching is to give a student time, space and respect. “We need to invent curricula where each kid has a chance to develop private uniqueness and self-reliance,” notes Gatto. He believes that independent study, community service, adventures and experience, large doses of privacy and solitude are all powerful, inexpensive, and effective ways to accomplish this.

Walden Three incorporates these and other concepts to educate and train students in the skills they need to achieve their worthwhile, realistic life goals--goals they set for themselves with the aid of counselors. The goals are always relevant to the person's age, and, naturally, change and mature as the child matures. If a child wants to be a fireman, the teacher says, “Okay, we will start training you to be a fireman, but to be a fireman you’ll have to know all about gases, heat energy, combustion, etc. To learn that, you’ll need to know math, reading, etc.” Thus, school would be made more personal, exciting, and useful.

In the educational model developed by Walden Three, information is delivered by auditory, visual, and sensory means to take into account different learning styles.
Students aren’t schooled in classrooms as we know them, but rather, at home using programmed, computerized learning systems. Areas of particular interest can be studied in-depth, and counselors are on-line for support and guidance. This provides the best means for efficient learning because it offers up-to-the-minute information on virtually any topic. With the ability to ask questions of teachers and specialists on-line, each student gets individualized attention.

Walden Three’s computerized approach allows the student to proceed at their own pace, helping them correct their mistakes as they go, rather than grading the student, which many psychologists say winds up punishing rather than rewarding the majority of kids, diminishing their innate love of learning (see Punished by Rewards, by Alfie Kohn, for extensive list of research) .

Computer training is complimented with hands-on training in the student’s field of interest: Up-and-coming legal aids will visit courtrooms, young musicians will visit orchestras, and would-be rocket scientists will visit laboratories. The student’s will be able to interact with these professionals in real-life situations to get a sense of the various demands of the job. Moreover, the students receive on-the-job training for their community service, actually helping to run the city where there is no physical danger.

Since a great deal of education takes place at home, it is easy for parents to be directly involved in their children’s education. They can follow their child’s progress, and limit access to information that they do not wish them to have.

With added attention given to the individual goals of the student, up-to-the-minute information available at the fingertips, hands-on training in interesting fields, and the participation of the whole family, we believe that the educational system can be a true preparation for fulfilling life-long dreams.

"Poor teaching leads to the inevitable idea that the subject
(mathematics) is only adapted to peculiar minds, when it is
the one universal science and the one whose . . . ground rules
are taught us almost in infancy and reappear in the motions of
the universe."
- H.J.S. Smith