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The concept is based on recognizing natural talents, intellectual, artiest, technical, dexterous, and recognizing the need for non-competitive education to address these talents. For example, everyone in a classroom does not have artist ability. Different abilities need to be recognized. In non-competitive learning environment, anyone can excel.
For intellectuals, the academic base education system inspires a vision, discovery of natural talent, opportunity to develop it, career guidance, and job placement. The system does not provide the same opportunity for non-intellectuals. For them, the system becomes a barrier to self-discovery and becomes a developer of negative self-esteem. The system has a policy of not allowing anyone to take non-academic courses without first mastering academics. This policy prevents non-intellectuals from discovering their natural talent.
Mechanical and dexterity talented teenagers have limited opportunity to learn what their natural talent is. With no alternatives, many join street gangs. Street gangs are team learning environments where members unite with a common goal, to engage in criminal behavior. There is a need for alternative team learning environments where teenagers have opportunity to experience productive skills, especially blue-collar. Teenagers are learning machines, their direction depends on current opportunity that fulfills their need to feel important.
A high percentage of blue-collar professionals never went through a formal training program, because they could not meet academic requirements. They started at the bottom, usually as helper, and worked their way up. The secrete? They discovered their natural talent and found ways to develop it.
High schools have the policy of not allowing students with below "C" average grades, to take non-academic courses. Most apprentice programs require applicants to meet predefined academic standards. People, who would receive the greatest benefit, whose natural talent is in harmony with non-academic subjects, are rejected. The Self-discovery Program will give these rejects opportunity.
Our education system is based on competitiveness. Student abilities are compared to every student in the classroom. With competitive education, there will always be achievers and their will always be failures. Assignments are designed for the average student. This system does not meet the needs of students at the upper and lower levels. Today's competitive education method is a 20th century product patterned after the industrial production line, where every student is required to achieve established goals by a selected age. This is not man's natural way of learning.
Non-competitive education is based on students natural talent and interest. Each student is unique and teaching methods are based on students learning personality. This is man's natural way of learning.
With competitive education, students are labeled gifted, average or failures. The outcome is proven right through self-fulfilling prophecy. The education system meets the needs of the gifted and they are the one's who control education's policy. They like the competitive system because it has served their needs well. Non-competitive education can meet the needs of all students and no one needs to be labeled a failure.
While the education system is seeking to increase the number of students passing standardized test, there will always be the 30% that never make it. (49% in South Carolina) From a high school of 1,000 students, 300 will go on the street and become a burden to society. This is a significant number that can't be ignored. The concept of the Self-Discovery School is to motivate teenagers to seek a professional skill that can be achieved in non-competitive learning environments.
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