Jessica and I (Isaac) met at the Education is Transformation Symposium. We expressed similar ideas and thought it would be very informative and enlightening if we collaborated for the purpose of this blog post.
Starting in junior high, children should be asked what they are interested in, and develop an educational plan around what they are passionate about and try to have those type of programs available. Being bored in school is counterproductive and plays a major role in whether a child stays in school. When a young person feels bored, questions such as, “How am I supposed to apply what I learned?” arise and thoughts like, “None of this has to do with what I like to do after school.” Therefore a lack of motivation to attend school is prevalent. Learning should be fun.
In high school I was bored to death due to the fact I did not find what I was learning to be interesting or fun at all. I was not given a reason to look at school as fun or that learning should be fun. School was boring, teachers were not saying or creating an environment for successful learning. It was like cemetery learning. After I was released in 2002 I attended Taylor Business Institute. It was really fun doing computer work. I did very well because it was inspiring, engaging and insightful. So it is important to ask young people what they like to do so they can start thinking about this early.
When a person is working towards their basic education and maintaining a given GPA, they should be allowed to participate in preferred activities. These activities are linked directly to individual passions. Young people between the ages 11-15 are within a very critical and influential time in their lives. Building relationships between teachers and students, through understanding individual preferences and interests creates the opportunity for learning “together”, rather than “you-against-me.”
For 11-15 year olds, this time is the biggest developmental part of young adulthood. Poor behavior, maybe because of lack of attention, issues at home effect school behavior. Young people need someone that is going to listen to them, someone that won’t judge them, someone that won’t run back and tell their mother. Someone they can talk to and trust, a good person for them to be talking to. Someone they feel that they can relate to, a person who has been where you have been, so it is not as embarrassing to talk to them. I know first hand that mentorship is effective. Throughout my years in incarceration, I was held back from negative situations and led in the positive direction because of a mentor that I may have had at a particular time.
Education After Incarceration:
A lot of people are not aware of their educational options after coming out of prison. Immediately before a person is released from prison is a very vulnerable place. At that moment, individuals are starting to decide what they are going to do once they get home. Are they going to go back to doing what they were doing or take advantage of their educational or other gainful options. When these options are not visible or made known, it increases the probability of a person returning to prison and/or never receiving a relevant education. People should be made privy to the school choices during the pre-release (Phase 3) period so they know what options are available and what assistance is available to them. It is important that not only program information is accessible, but detailed so people, upon returning home, know what is needed to participate in the vocational or educational opportunities.
My educational experience was transformative for me. I was fortunate enough to be mentored by a number of talented artists who, by keeping me close, helped me to realize my passion. It should be noted that one may have little to no experience operating inside the skill-set of their passion. The passion alone will serve as the catalyst for productivity and progress.