We spent valuable time and had a chance to learn a lot about Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology, and from the students and the staff. It was a worthy experience as I gained a lot of knowledge, especially how learning institutions can have diverse cultures and which observe different curriculum and co-curricular activities. Unlike before this assignment where I thought schools used a particular standard when planning for events such as teaching and others that involve the participation of the students and the teachers, this experience changed my perception. I was able to capture that schools were operated differently depending on their policies and procedures set by the administrations. Particularly this school, I realized the people of this school had various and specific beliefs regarding the nature of the learning environment and the fundamental aspects of knowledge. For instance, students in grades 5-12 are required to attend weekly general meetings where educators and other experts from various places are invited to interact and share their experiences with them. The lectures are meant to open up the perceptions of the learners regarding the outside world different from the school environment. Also, they are intended to prepare them on how to live and integrate with the more significant part of the society without the involvement of their colleagues or teachers. In this, I realized that students could have gained considerable knowledge of living independently when they are through with their studies or are in a different environment with unfamiliar people. The school's administration uses significant educational philosophies and their unique perception of knowledge to ensure the students succeed academically.
We were taken around to observe the beauty of the school and interact with different people assigned to various tasks within the premises. We met with several heads of the departments, instructors and other significant non-staff members. Also, I came across several facilities such as the gym, laboratories, and library among other amenities and all are meant to help the students in their learning. They were equipped with a lot of crucial resources depending on their purpose such as experimenting tools and chemicals in the labs, different pieces of sporting equipment in the gym, and studying and researching materials in the library. At this point, it was now precise that this school utilizes more than one educational philosophies including progressivism, reconstructionism, and essentialism.
First, there is community-based learning where the students are exposed to the outside world through workshops and allowed to interact and learn from individuals and professionals with advanced experience of the social environment. This is a way of reconstructionism as the learners are taught something more than what they get in classes from their teachers. Second, through essentialism, the school focuses on teaching the students in a systematic and disciplined manner by ensuring the utilization of the best talents to instill essential knowledge and skills. This way the teachers grow intellectually and morally. The last philosophy is progressivism where instructions are practical and based on significant experiments like at the laboratories and the library in the school. Learners are allowed to experiment what they have been taught in the classroom of which enable them to have a better and crucial experience of the nature of the world beyond the school walls. They can solve problems, think critically and act independently when tackling a specific situation. It is precise, therefore, that the school used these educational strategies to ensure the students acquire the best and relevant knowledge and which is applicable in different environments and stages of life.
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