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Your system sounds fascinating. What happens to the students who don't want to do any of the assignments? Here, we would have at least a third who would simply never attend school if they were given the choice. I understand the argument given above about the education versus social role of school, but in practical terms right now, do most of your students attend and do most actually complete the assignments? Is this for all years or just in secondary? What sort of ässignments" are set?

First of all our system is not the standard way of teaching in the Netherlands.

If a students does not do an assigment he/she will have a talk with one of the teachers responsible. If that does not help, we talk some more :) But in general we do not have to. If the student doesn't complete any assigments he/she will not advance and in the end will not graduate.

The assignments are 'real'. E.g. An assignment could be arrange a stafflunch. The students who choose this assignment will have to do the shopping cooking etc. etc. and face the staff who will have to eat it! Assignments can be anything as long as it is meaningful for the student to complete. The student has to learn by doing.

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The assignments are 'real'. E.g. An assignment could be arrange a stafflunch. The students who choose this assignment will have to do the shopping cooking etc. etc. and face the staff who will have to eat it! Assignments can be anything as long as it is meaningful for the student to complete. The student has to learn by doing.

Fascinating. Could you provide a list of the type of assignments that they do? Are there any attempts to give them a "balanced" education.

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In my utopian/distopian school students would receive high cash rewards for getting As, teachers would have complete freedom of how to teach in the classroom, and they would be surrounded by a team of excellent, inspired, hard working peers who lived a monks lifestyle but with loving nurturing families and were content well-rounded people. The teachers would have little but yet want for nothing.

Their surprise retirement fund would kick in any time after age 55 or 25 years service and it would be based on a percentage of all tax revenues generated by all of their students.

All students would be treated equally in the classroom and those with the least ability who were able to earn D's in the classroom would be celebrated for there accomplishments.

The courses would be content and work laden to prepare students for the real world that will ultimately await them. Students would be advised throughout their education that an inability to maintain a B average, no matter how difficult the school, would not be eligible for university level work. Parents, administrators and teachers would all provide every effort to get every student across that line.

A love of learning would be encouraged but the main focus would be to instill a core education. Ample periphery electives would be available for those who learn along the way that they have no love of classical learning. Arts, shop, vocation, business, life skills, etc. would be offered. Society would recognize a value in graduating from such high schools and gobble those up in the work force who chose not to go on to college, and many of those high school graduates that opted not to go on to college or were ineligible to do so, would go on to have extremely lucrative careers.

End of utop/distopic rant.

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Fascinating. Could you provide a list of the type of assignments that they do? Are there any attempts to give them a "balanced" education

If you go to www.veursstip.nl, then click FAQ and then Stipinfo, you will find a short English introduction. I am working translating the whole site, but this could be a start.

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I found this on a site after doing a search for education in the Netherlands. It is dated 2004 so is current. The separating of students into four streams explains the rationale for this type of curriculum. Here in Tasmania our studnets are not streamed from K-10 so I am not so sure it would be the best sole method for heterogeneous classes. The Netherlands method of streaming at 12 would not be acceptable here I'm afraid.

The school systems in New Brunswick and the Netherlands operate with very different philosophies. In New Brunswick, the Department of Education has implemented a policy of inclusion. In the Netherlands, students are streamed beginning at age 12.

In New Brunswick, all students are educated together. Students of different abilities are in the same classroom. They may be grouped and regrouped for instruction within the classroom in some circumstances - math and language arts for example, but for most studies, students are in the same classes, receiving the same instruction up to the end of grade 10, or students mostly age 16 years. Positive examples are given by the students who are academically strong. These students can help their peers as well.

In the Netherlands, students are tested at the end of their elementary schooling. The tests and teacher recommendations determine the level of education to which the student will be streamed. Level I students are in the highest academic level. These students are considered the brightest, and will go on to university. Level II students, while very bright, also have technical interests. Level III students will enter vocational training for a specific trade. Level IV students are not the brightest students. They will be doing common jobs that require little training.

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Have just been informed that Michael Tomlinson will be leading a forum on new curriculum in Adelaide, SA, next month. I can't attend, but have requested the CD of the proceedings which they are going to make. Will let you know what he has to say when I get it. South Australia is in the throes of a curriculum review - but, then, who isn't?

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