A Letter from a ListenerPosted: February 11, 2011
Hello Brooklyn Free School,
I’m writing because I just heard the story about your school on This American Life. I love the concept, and hope one day to either work at a free school, or at least be able to send my kids to one. I think this style of learning is much more appropriate and teaches kids responsibility in a way our public education system is failing at.
However, I wanted to address one thing: the “No Screens” week debate. One argument portrayed again and again was that no research was going to be able to be done should there be no computers allowed every other week. And I got to thinking that perhaps learning to research sans a computer is actually kind of vital. Think of it this way: instead of clicking and looking up information online, students could conduct research by going out into the community and connecting with real people. You’re doing research about animals? Make calls to the local zoo or veterinarians in the area. Curious about the Civil War? Make calls to history professors at the local community college and see if you can set up a time to ask them questions.
I think one of the amazing things about the Free School is students have the freedom to let the world be their teachers, not just a screen or a book or one person in a classroom. And by going out in the world, you’re not only learning from experts, but you’re getting different opinions, and possibly making friends and mentors.
Thank you for your time, I just really felt like sharing this thought was important. I hope you all are doing well, and I am ridiculously happy to know this sort of education exists.