Downloadable Lesson Plans and Class Documents (Still in Development)
How did our education problems develop? What happened? Why? There are multiple causes. (See How Did it Happen?) (Don't worry, there is plenty of blame to go around!)
Several areas of society have changed dramatically. The author discusses:
FAMILY - SCHOOL - CHILDREN'S ACTIVITIES - ENTERTAINMENT - ADVERTISING - PEERS - CHURCH - WHO IS RAISING THE KIDS? - THE BOTTOM LINE ...
Schools are not prepared to cope with the effects of societal changes upon the children. Schools have to change to better service today's children. There has also been a drift away from good practice.
Families used to teach their children the general skills needed to be a person of high quality (personhood). They used to teach various life-skills, which aid us in being motivated and successful. Too often that is not happening any more. The school has to take on more of this training. (See Why Teach Personhood?) Parents have been left out of the loop for so long that they don't know what the problems are or how to help their children. (See Inadequate Parental Support)
A major part of the answer, in general, is students lack motivation. The author discusses the symptoms, causes, short-term fixes, and long term fixes.
From the perspective of fundamental philosophies of education and of human development, the author has made a good start at redesigning schools. That is what much of this site is devoted to.
Schools MUST take on aspects of education which used to be done by family, but aren't any more! Schools should change their focus from teaching of the so-called core academic curriculum to teaching Personhood FIRST, THEN teaching core academics. As the child develops his personhood, he becomes much more amenable to learning the core academics. The initial focus changes, but the end academic goals don't! (See Personhood, the New Core Curriculum)
This site is a major effort to provide a detailed road map to reforming schools. Its focus is upon teaching kids how to be persons of high quality, and instilling internal motivation.
The site also suggests major changes in how schools operate. While some of the changes may seem radical, they really aren't, if you stop and carefully consider them. They are just good common sense! Some are already being implemented with encouraging results.
We must teach kids:
The author presents classroom lesson plans and papers (grades 3 - 8) designed to accomplish these teaching goals.
"How have schools failed us? Let me list the ways!"
The author tries to anticipate the concerns of school administrators, answering them in general terms.
There is a quiz to help administration evaluate whether or not they are doing a good job teaching global student skills.
There is a discussion and recommendation on how to implement the suggested reform.
The author develops the reasoning and teaching goals behind the Personhood curriculum. (See Expanding the Student's Self-Interest Horizon)
The fundamental motivation of every human is his own self-interest. It is true at any age. It is "part of our design!" It is fundamental. It is all pervasive in human kind. We cannot ignore it. In fact, we can make very good use of it!
How We Develop Mentally
We develop by building ourselves up in layers starting with our instinctive Self-Interest. In order for this mental structure to be sound, each new layer of Enlightened Self-Interest needs to be firmly connected to the foundation provided by the next lower layer of Self-Interest. Satisfying the upper layer needs to feed and nourish the lower level. Guiding that process is the teacher's job (because too many parents are not doing it).
If this is NOT done, the upper layer is fragile, and can be easily swept away by appeals made to the unsatisfied lower layer.
As we grow older, new layers of self-interest are built up. These new layers can produce either antisocial behavior (selfish or criminal) or positive social behavior. If the child figures it out himself, or is appropriately guided, the new layers can be socially positive. I call this Enlightened Self-Interest.
We must use this to instill internal motivation towards learning! Failing to do it can result in students dropping out (motivationally) sometime in Jr. High. Then it may be too late to rescue them.
If done correctly and at the right time, instilling internal motivation will minimize the effects of peer pressure.
Now here is a sacred cow that needs to be gored. Many people, especially parents, believe "A good example is the best teacher." As a general statement it isn't so! Too often the good example sails right over the student's head without anything being learned. The good example CAN be used to make "real" a concept, which has been explicitly taught. (See "A Good Example is the Best Teacher - NOT")
Meet them where they are...
A key to teaching personhood and character is "Meet them Where They Are, then Bring Them Where They Need To Be." This ties back into the layering process of motivations and development.
Children have a Strong Desire to Learn About Life
Children will key into the personhood lessons, which teach them about "life."
Mental Processing Skills / Global Student Skills
A contributing factor to the poor performance of Jr. High students is an emphasis on the teaching of content, rather than the direct and overt teaching of process, and of thinking. After a certain amount of mental development and personhood development has taken place, teaching emphasis should shift more to mental processing skills such as:
In other words, THINKING PROCESSES. These are global skills. They are applicable no matter what is being studied!
How does YOUR school do this? Does it have a development process in place and working? (Some potentially embarrassing questions put to school administrations! - - - Sorry about that, but they need to be asked.)
After some introduction, the author develops the top-level curriculum views for the several personhood tracks of:
Grade 3 - - - Setting goals, planning and working toward reaching them. Short, mid, and long term.
Grade 4 - - - Life-Goals, Life-Rules, taking ownership of self-development, the "What if...?" method of thinking.
Grade 5 - - - Making good choices, responsibility to control his future, relevancy of schoolwork, Self-Monitoring, honesty.
Grade 6 - - - Good student habits, student skills, brain development, earning respect, self-respect, the student's worldview, and developing intrinsic motivation.
Grade 7 - - - Getting the students to think clearly, monitor their own behavior, develop wisdom, and develop skills in relating.
Grade 8 - - - We go deeper into how people relate with each other, thinking and thinking errors, teen-parent conflict, and wisdom. Guest speakers (about high school life).
There is a section with details on how to painlessly and efficiently implement the lesson plans for the first time, and how to handle transfers into the school.
There are downloadable and editable versions of lesson plans, class documents, tests, test keys, and transparencies. A teacher can pull them into her computer and edit them, if needed, to adapt to her needs.
Parents are invited to use any of the material on the site. This could happen in a Home School setting, as an adjunct to a school who is using the same material, or in the situation that the school is not using it. If school doesn't use it, please also suggest they do.
Some material was developed which has a Christian focus. The reader has the option of reading it and using it.
As of 7 Apr 2004