Exploration… the ultimate key to an education. Many schools have forgotten that point in the recent years of math and written grammar. They have forgotten the significance of exercising a student as a whole person, not only as a brain, and thus provoked a reluctance to learn. This trait is predominant in most of the population and can really injure a person’s capacity of expanding their education in the future.
As one of my teachers taught me in the past, a brain is like a cabinet; the emptier it is- the more it has the potential to contain. My interpretation of this is that the more you fill your brain with wasted dislike and disregard for school, the less it has space for the useful material. The solution to this is to prevent the seeding of the dislike in the first place. To do this, you must take advantage of a young person’s want to live, experience and use the senses.
Usually, a person does not value how much they learn and gain from their senses until they are deprived of them. This can be demonstrated in a person who was deprived of two, Helen Keller. In Helen Keller’s biography, The Story of my Life, she explains how most of her education was based on touching, and smelling, and tasting. It exposed her to the world and enabled her to continue to be part of a social and natural dialogue that we would be able to learn nothing without. I think that written subjects are important, but only once a person is prepared to reach for them with everything that they have. This is what Explore 2000 Middle School, my school, is all about.
Our freedom to explore is encouraged like no other school ever has. The field experiences that are presented to us, the free time that we are given to research on our own laptops and read, and the one-on-one teaching, enable us to use all of our senses and to put our heart and soul into what we are learning. We are assisted and now able to write reports pages and pages long and to be pleased with our own merit. We are able to conduct science projects that nearly destroy the classroom and then clean them up again. We are able to Explore and be free.
Often in Explore 2000 students have a lot of free time during the day. Some “traditional” people may look at this as less time for classes and excessive time that is non-productive, but I look at it as character building. In this time we are treated as if we were in the real world and have the choice to benefit by our actions or not, to be productive or non-productive, and to be resourceful or irresponsible. When making these decisions, our advisors will prompt us and support us do good work, but it’s really up to us. Our decisions will be judged by the quality of our research reports, our math, our science, and how we use the English language.
Every element counts. These periods also enable us to learn to operate under looming deadlines and to draw from every resource and every person that there is to learn from. We learn to do this even if classes are not guiding us at every moment and providing the optimal environment. I believe that these times produce my best work and have been more beneficial than all of my studies in any school. On top of that, the free time challenges us emotionally. Though we may want to do well in other classes the want is greater when it is up to us to perform.
You may think that the fact that there are only a selected 48 students accepted to Explore 2000 is inhibiting to its’ students socially. Other schools have an abundance of different students. When we have an unlimited selection of people to hang out with, we are never forced to challenge ourselves to get along with the many other types of people that we will encounter in our lives. At first it was difficult to find friends; it seemed with the limited amount of students that no one possessed the same qualities as I. Once I used my head to try to interact with my fellow classmates, resulting from many times that we were placed in groups together, I got to know them very well. In fact, it is for the first time in this school that I have known what it is to have real, true friends. I think that this is due to the need reach out to them and to build a relationship where no similarities between us were eminent; no foundation existed for a short and shallow acquaintance.
These years in Explore 2000 have enabled me to show a better side of myself- be it in creativity, in my ability to be resourceful, or in my newly developed social skills. Going onto high school next year, I feel ready to conquer the world.