I have this idea, actually it was a dream that woke me up early one morning ... it goes a little like this.
We appropriate a building that is useless for anything else. We kit it out with state of the art resources and paint the walls beige, put motivational posters on the noticeboards and equip the space with support staff that are there to provide assistance in the tough times, tutoring and "personal educational counselling" during those all-important screen moments when it is tough to learn.
We put out the word on the street that we are looking for learners, people (regardless of age, race, socio-economic background or hair colour) who are prepared to demonstrate measurable learning outcomes and be judged by an independent panel of Academics.
We kit them out with specially designed clothing, all the same so they lose all sense of identity, we ensure that the clothing is impractical for the climate and have it a tribal colour so eventually they associate themselves as part of the tribe.
Each week, contestants are put put through a varied and rigorous program of learning activities that stretch their understanding, spread them across disciplines and offer them every opportunity to demonstrate their capacity but leave their actual enthusiasm and participation rates up to them.
We parade contestants periodically, displaying how much they used to know and how much they know now - differences being enough to select them for special groups, special privileges and special support.
We strategically take them out of their chosen fields of study, inflict learning styles on them that do not match their preferred intelligence. We add difficult to understand instructions, difficult to get along with instructors, poorly constructed and badly implemented resources amongst unrealistic timeframes and watch as they sink or swim.
We deliberately distract them from their studies with other non-academic activities - music, sport, culture, to see who we can draw off the goal to achieve. We interrupt the regular schedule with difficult to predict disruptions, team meetings and other meetings, encourage them to form factions and forge alliances for no other reason that membership in a team and possession of a special t shirt, cap or badge.
In the end, we line them up in front of authorities of higher learning, arranged by some wonderful (yet to be designed) measure of academic achievement - best to the front, worst to the back ...
We call it ... schooling.
Come on Television producers, I await your calls ... have your people call my people, we'll do lunch. With enough cameras and the right balance of triumph and tragedy it could be compelling television.
Then again, I could just return to work...
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