In America, we have high school drop outs.
The drop outs are those kids who just don`t fit the mold of going through some 3 years of high school. Sure some of them are those crazy druggy kids, but there are a lot of brilliant kids that leave high school... or stay in it and do horribly as it just isn`t there thing.
We are trying to fit all kids up to the age of 18 into a single mold... high school.
But with such a variety of teens, shouldn`t there be an alternitive in which they can still be successfull at life and not be dubbed failures for life?
In America, we have plenty of kids who just don`t have the will to keep going and doing hours of random sciences and math that won`t help them in the career they wish to pursue. Yet, it can be difficult for them to pursue the career of their choice without going through those 3 or 4 years of random studies.
This is where Switzerland gets brilliant.
Switzerland has an alternative.
Once you finish elementary school, you have to pick what level of education you want. Either you go to a school that is pretty much like a giant IB or AP school... or you can go to another school with studies at a level that is less intense.
What are the reults of the two schools? What happens? Where do you go from there?
Well.. you can only go to college if you pick the "smart" school. In America, it seems that college is essential to make a good living... yet that is not so in Switzerland. You can only do some 3 years of secondary education and make a fine living.
If you pick the lower option, you go to three years of "high school" and then, from there, you start a 3 year apprenticeship. With this, you go to school maybe 1 day a week... and in the meantime you learn a trade.
This is perfect for all those hands on learners or the students who just want to get started in life. Those kids who just don`t see the need to study the books much longer.
I think that system is brilliant. Students are not forced to continue in a busy high school education that will not help them further their education much. And even though they can`t go to college, it is no big deal.
But naturally there are flaws in the system that I have come to dislike.
In Inglemoor and America, you can pick your classes. In Switzerland you have no choice... you have a grade level (like Freshman or Senior) and each grade level has a set of classes that go with it. One class is up to you, but the rest are set in stone.
The pro? Well, it makes scheduling a whole lot easier.
The cons? You can`t move ahead or struggle. Everyone must move at the same pace. While some kids may be strong in a language and weak in math, they are all forced to remain at the same level. I see brilliant students in math finish quickly while other struggle with every thing the teacher says. Wouldn`t it be nicer to put them in different classes? Let the slow one go at an easier pace and the other learn as much as they can. We all have our strengths and weeknesses, and in this aspect, the Swiss are trying to fit all the students at the upper high school into one mold.
There are entirely other things I could write about comparing Swiss and American schooling (such as the number of classes, school hours, and going home for lunch) but I have a year to write about that.
What have I learned?
To every system there will always be something negative. And both systems have a lot to offer. As an American coming to the Swiss school, I find it a bit, well, constricting not having any choices. But for the Swiss, they know nothing else. They don`t think of a school where you can learn at different levels and speeds. It`s a bit more mechanical. Yet it works.
What are your thoughts on the Swiss school system? American? another system?
Note: When writing this, I am generalizing all of Switzerland... but honestly I write of Obwalden school system. I am sure there are other systems. Perhaps some have other choices? But this is the system I know.