T he old question is, how do students learn best? We have learned through time that his question does not have only one answer. Some students learn best through visuals, some learn best from listening to a lecture, while others learn best from hands-on experience. There are many different approaches a teacher can take to help students. If I were to design a school for the future generations, I would make sure that all of these different methods were available to students. The new question isn’t how do students learn best, but how do we get students with all different learning approaches to learn together in one classroom effectively?

In my high school of the future, four years of each of the four primary subjects would be required to graduate. All four subjects: math, history, science and English, are equally important. Students would also study a foreign language, and would be encouraged to continue with it all four years of high school. The school year would continue to be under the Massachusetts law of 180 days. It would also continue to be five days a week, around six hours a day. Within the classroom different teaching styles would be demonstrated as teachers shift from lectures, powerpoints and hands-on demonstration whenever possible. For projects done outside of school, students would be given three choices of how to do their assignment — each choice representing one of these learning approaches.

A large variety of electives would be available to students. Freshmen would be encouraged to take at least one elective from each area. It is important for students to have electives because it creates opportunities. Through electives students realize their interests and create passions. It is important for everyone to find something they are passionate about, and feel good while doing it. Also students, whether from hands-on experience in a class or through visuals in a computer class, would be able to figure out which learning style works best for them. Some electives would be required for graduates, like government and current events. I think that it is important not only to learn how our country works but what is happening within it. Through the current events requirement students would be required to take part in some sort of activity that involves exercise. Whether it’s from a sport, gym class or dance classes, students need to stay active. It doesn’t matter where and how they get their exercise, as long as they stick to it. By being able to pick the activity they take part in, whether in or outside of school, students would be more motivated to stick with it.

I believe that it is important to make sure that students understand what they have been learning, but some of this review work can be done at school. At our regional high school, we have four classes a day, each an hour and a half long. My school would continue this routine. However, teachers would only teach for an hour. The half hour left would be spent starting homework. It would guarantee that students would start their homework individually, without influence from other students. This way if a student does not understand he or she can ask the teacher rather than not doing it or copying it from someone else. This would enable the teacher to spend a little time addressing the different learning styles. For example, after an hour lecture the teacher can follow up with all the students to clarify the lesson, making sure they all understand. Then the student can finish the assignment at home; starting it on their own at school ensures that they understand and are doing it correctly.

School gives students opportunities. These opportunities, however, are only as effective as one makes it. Students will only be motivated to find these opportunities within their school if they are motivated in the classroom. A teacher should make sure that overall their lessons equally represent each learning style to keep all students motivated. My school of the future would recognize its students learning as individuals and being motivated as a whole.