Have you ever heard of classroom where there were no rules? It sounds crazy doesn’t it? In our leadership high school summer program for high school students, this type of classroom is made a reality. At the start of the summer program, our teachers explain to the students that there are “no rules”. “No rules” means that students can say, do and act any way they want without the fear of punishment.
Most people would imagine this type of high school summer program would be chaotic and unruly but something interesting happens during the summer course. By the end of the week, even the students forced to come by their parents enjoy coming and over 60% of the students reported feeling more confident and accountable. At the end of the program, one parent said “[My son] had a phenomenal learning experience. We could see a real change in his attitude, confidence and how he conducts himself.”
How were we able to help these students become more accountable and confident? The secret: Simplifying life through natural laws and logic, enabling children to know, want and do things to make them more successful.
Leadership Society of Arizona identified a fundamental issue in our current educational system, it forces students to think. The world has made major advancements in the last twenty years. This has created many technical specialties. This has increased the complexity and the amount of information a student must learn. Education tries to prepare students by teaching them all of this information, but in the process it confuses and puts tremendous pressure on the students, causing them to stress, worry, be unmotivated and develop detrimental social behaviors. By pushing the students to fill their minds with more and more information and details, the students no longer can understand the purpose of life and who they are. They lose themselves. From an initial survey at our high school summer program, we identified that 39% of students felt that they had limited to no control over their life.
The Great Minds in History
We searched for solutions to this problem by looking at the greatest minds in history like Socrates, Einstein, Ghandi, etc… As we analyzed these great minds, we found a similar concept and characteristic that all of them shared. All of these great leaders instead of focusing on complex ideas and memorizing details, they focused on helping people to understand the purpose of life and use natural laws and logic. We realized that in order to get our students to be more confident, successful and motivated, we needed to simplify life and help them develop an understanding of who they are and what their purpose in life is..
With this idea in mind, we changed the way we ran our high school summer program. We found the only way to help a person figure out what they want is to allow them freedom to do what they want. Thus, we did the following:
- Eliminated all rules
- Created a flexible curriculum where the students can choose the topics.
- Instructors are more focused on getting to know the students than teaching a certain amount of information. This helps the students learn about themselves.
- Gives students an opportunity to present.
We also found that in order to simplify life for the students and give them a framework in which they could use to explore life and make sense of their thoughts, was to teach them natural laws and logic. Natural laws are simple and they are powerful because they work everywhere and in every discipline. For example, the law of gravity, whether in physics or in sports, the law of gravity works the same and is important to understand.
High School Summer Program Results
After a week of students being exposed to this type of environment, they made great improvement. The results showed that students were 39% more confident, 75% more accountable (believing they have control over their own lives) and 19% happier. One student said “I like how this class made life easier and actually happier for me; teaching me how I am in control of my life.”
The parents are continually shocked by the results they see in their kids. 100% of the parents would enroll their student again. Along with that, 91% believed that the high school summer program helped their child develop leadership skills.
Our current educational system produces students that are more stressed, worried, depressed. Students from this system have a difficult time understanding life and who they are. Although this system might teach more information, it causes them to be less successful and happy. In order to remedy our current system, we focus lee on helping students learn the “what” in life. We spend more time teach the students to understand the “why”. This is necessary to make sure they understand themselves and life.
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