Tuesday, January 31, 2017

BHS: Changing Teaching Methods

In an interview with Thomas Perlinski, Bayard’s High School Principal, he talked about two diverse methods of teaching, and the difference between the methods. “One focuses on teaching individuals while the other teaches toward the middle, which is the majority of students.

“Both methods, though, have the same deficiency; they omit a segment of students. Teach towards the individual and the middle is neglected; teach towards the middle and the individual is neglected.

“The answer, of course, is to teach both methods so everybody’s included and learning; the question is how to do that. Regardless, it’s imperative for teachers to learn how to teach both methods because if they don’t, a segment of students become disengaged, and a disengaged student becomes a troublemaker.”

However, over the years, teaching has swung towards educating the middle.

But, in parts of the United States, like Western Nebraska, there’s a need to teach towards individuals because an above average number of students don’t go to a four-year college. They want to farm or ranch, be plumbers, welders, mechanics, in health care, office work, or join the Armed Forces.

Perlinski emphasized there’s nothing wrong with these careers and they’re needed, but a four-year degree is not a prerequisite. “However, if a school’s curriculum caters toward these type students it ignores students who want professional careers and need to go to a four-year college and often beyond.

To bring both ends towards the middle, high school teachers and guidance counselors are learning how to prepare students for trade schools, community colleges, and four year colleges, depending on the student’s preference. It means adjusting curriculums to include prerequisites for these institutions and counseling students about their choices.

Technology is the answer because it allows students to further their education in the type of post graduate school they need to get the degree they want. Online, they can take the courses they need to enroll in one of these post-high school places of learning.

Even if a student doesn’t know for sure what they want career wise, they don’t need to go to four year college to search for the answer. Trade schools can lead to productive careers with firms like Caterpillar, John Deere, or other ventures.

In addition, community colleges offer remedial courses some students need in order to enroll where they want to further their education.

Perlinski mentioned ways high schools like Bayard can help students prepare for their future:

-Provide “success coaches” who help scholastic underachievers catch up.
-Offer advanced industrial and agriculture programs.
-Counsel about Career Academies where students get certificates for agriculture, mechanics, construction, etc.
-Guidance Counselors to help students prepare for further education.

Bayard’s Public Schools are learning how to focus on the education their student’s desire, whether it’s agriculture, constructions, or a career that requires at least a degree from a four-year college. The goal is to let students decide and teachers and counselors guide.   


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