Time To Learn by George Wood

Time To Learn by George Wood

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The 2nd book within George Wood's manuscript, "Time to Learn", addresses the idea of change within the school system. "Transforming the High School" is broken into chapters that regard how to positively change the normal, structed school environment. Wood gives examples and illustrates the need and the process of change by; how to truly interact and connect with students, on how to teach important things successfully, and enforces the need for a democratic system within the school.
Like the first book, Wood uses many students to serve as an example of situations within the school, but also to bring a connection into his story. In the Introduction, we are introduced to a new student in Hocking High School. The student came from a very rough school and was unfamiliar with a positive school environment such as FHHS. The title, "Reaching Every Student", does just that with the new student, Leroy. The school reaches out to Leroy, discovers how he is finding trouble adjusting and corrects with problem by talking with his grandparents. The story sets a perfect theme going into the next chapter discussing how to know the students.
In Chapter 3, Wood starts right in with addressing the problem with school size. The schools are just too big. With the example of the student, Charity, Wood demonstrates that when a student becomes anonyms, they feel less connected to the school; therefore, students dismiss the importance of high school. I know that if I felt I didn't belong in a certain place or situation, my interest and involvement would, without a doubt, be diminished. Wood also gives the examples of a boy who was very smart, but simply uninterested in the work. When his lack of accomplishment was discovered, and upon investigation of his study habits and interest, he was very active in education, just not engaged. It was not the school work; it was his lack of connection with teachers and the material of the class. Wood then goes into the five strategies on how to make a connection with the student to the teacher / school.
1- Reduce overall size of school
With this method, Wood believes, that no student will be anonyms. They will all develop a larger sense of involvement. Students will get more face-to-face contact with the teachers too. He also develops a system of small, focus groups where students are split into fields in which they are more interested.

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2- Reduce number of classes per day
Covering about 7-8 different subject everyday is bound to cause confusion and overload ones brain. Instead of 8 periods of 45 minute classes, Wood encourages the system of having longer classes but the amount of classes per day reduced. The classes will be by semesters so all fields are covered for the year.
3- Pair up teams of teachers with teams of students.
This idea immediately caught my attention. Coming from a junior high school that used the system, I remembered the benefits it had. Like Wood suggests, there are teams within the grade of students. In my school, we divided them by color. This method gave me a much better feel of connection with my team classmates and team teachers. As in high school, we did not have this system and, in effect, I felt a less sense of connection.
4- Provide each student with an adult point of contact – The Advisory.
In most schools, the guidance counselor serves more as a student record holder, than typically advice students. Wood suggests the idea of more counselors and creates a new definition of what a guidance counselor's duties are.
5- Provide unstructured time for teacher- student relationship
Looking back on your high school, did you ever see your English teacher playing some guitar in the art department? Or the gym teacher painting a picture? Well, although seems different, the idea enforces the thought of students seeing teachers outside of their realm and viewing them more as general educators. Wood also encourages students to, in example, talk to the science teacher about a show he saw on Discovery Channel last night, even if not relating directly to the course.
Furthering the idea of "reforming the classroom", the thought of teaching more, by teaching less, is covered in the 4th chapter. A statement all too common in schools, "I won't need this after high school" might be one of the most popular complaints within the classroom. With instructors being pressured by satisfying Carnegie Units, they often don't have the energy to enforce students to connect with the material. Rather than force feed loads and loads of material, Wood creates an example system on basic questions and chapters that the class will cover for the year. These guidelines show clear questions, and demonstrate how they actually can be useful. This changes students perspective of "satisfying a credit" to a class they may enjoy and genuinely be interested in.
Democracy within the school is addressed in the next chapter. Janet, a senior who is married, demonstrates great individuality, a good personality and shows she can be responsible. Yet, when she is forced to have a sign-out card to use the bathroom, Wood is informed by her. Do you really think it is fair that a woman who can manage a husband and household should ask permission to go to the toilet? Wood realizes that students must feel that they are trusted with responsibility. To develop responsible youths, Wood creates 4 strategies in order for students to receive a better idea of responsibility.
1- Let students track own progress
Instead of what most students do, count credits till they have an understanding what they have to take to graduate, Wood believes that each student should be given a "handbook" on what classes they need over their school career.
2- Have every student do something significant
Students that had free time, and often unchallenged and bored, were put into programs in a field that they were interested in. One student, who wanted to pursue being a nurse, was put into a hospital her senior year to develop a better understanding and create the idea she was doing something important.
3- Give students more control over their time
Time management is something that I learned when I was a freshman community college, not high school. It was a great gift because without it, I would have been one lost student trying to further my college career. Wood enforces the idea that, it is very crucial for students to develop a sense of managing their time.
4- Give students decision making power
By actively having students participate in school events, the student feels more engaged and well represented. Student councils, and after school activities within the school system delivered students a greater awareness of their roll in the school. Wood even appointed students in decision making of new teachers, and patrolling the lunchroom for younger students.
After reading the second story, my thoughts and view of the school has truly been altered. Never did I think such structure and strategy was going on as I went from class to class. Like Wood's students, I too only say classes as "a necessary credit". I also realized that in my junior high, we used the "Red Team, Blue Team" method, yet I was left questioned by it only went as far as 8th grade. I also noticed that the pattern, again changed, one I entered college. The styles of structure discussed for success and the methods of teacher-student connection has, what it seems, has made a different transition in my eyes from a normal student, to an aspiring educator-student.
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