When it comes to educating for more efficient results, there is and there has been a lot of talk on what “should be”; however, it seems that we all somehow know what needs some to be achieved: children with excellent academic skills, prepared to enter in a competitive world and who happen to enjoy going to classes and learn.
The school with those characteristics exists. At least there’s one we know about because it has become an international phenomenon and it has a well thought out structure of self promotion. The Ron Clark Academy is a model school who enrolls mostly disadvantaged children and transforms them into top-notch students. The recipe? A staff of talented, committed teachers, academic rigor, strict discipline rules known and agreed, high involvement of parents and unconventional, fun methodology that includes creating songs and choreographies with mathematical concepts, field trips that include other countries and high profile debates among many others.
Ron Clark, the main founder and creator of Ron Clark Academy has no roof for his dreams, energy and commitment. He is the designer, the engine and promoter of this model middle school that has settled in Atlanta and has been teaching since 2007.
You can easily google him and his school, find dozens of videos of his students dancing, singing, of himself being invited to popular TV shows, but what I can recommend is reading his books. Truth is, you need a certain profile to be able to dance on top of the desks to teach your lesson or to write a rap to dance with your students, but the devotion of this man to proving what we can achieve with genuine belief in children’s learning, strong conviction in teaching, and relentless energy, is admirable. He has managed to do what few people have been able to accomplish: turn learning at school into something respectable and fun.
In The End of Molasses Classes. 101 extraordinary solutions for parents and teachers, he goes over details ranging from lesson plans to school rules to parents’ role in kids’ learning. It transmits such energy, provides such empowerment that you might want to feel like being part of the school when you finish reading. He knows how to communicate about his work with confidence (that’s how he gets funding for his school and projects) and that is a great advantage in life, something he is determined to teach his students.
“See the potential in every child.”
“Kids look to us to learn about themselves, and we need to remember that they will strive to become the individual that we see in each of them. See greatness, tell them the wonderful qualities they possess, and avoid any statements that will place a negative label in the mind of a child. The behaviors we teach them at a young age will help them mold who they become as adults and we need to remember that our words and our influence on our children are paramount in the formation of their habits, personality and personal view of themselves.”