Engineering, Chineese language in future for Perham-Dent schools?
Whats ahead for the Perham-Dent schools? Chinese language...pre-engineering... At the 549 Family Foundations annual gala April 1, School Superintendent Tamara Uselman offered the audience a glimpse into the future of school district 549. Followin...
Whats ahead for the Perham-Dent schools?
At the 549 Family Foundations annual gala April 1, School Superintendent Tamara Uselman offered the audience a glimpse into the future of school district 549.
Following is a summary, written by Uselman, of two unique initiatives that school administrators are considering.
Pre-engineering: The United States educates many engineers, almost all of them from foreign countries (97 percent do not stay in the U.S.). U.S. students do not choose to go into engineering. Why? What we have learned from our brief inquiry into engineering education is that if the topic is taught from a project-based perspective (i.e, hands-on, minds-on lab work vs. textbook instruction only), students are excited about the education, they perform well, and many decide to pursue additional coursework beyond middle school, into high school, and many high schoolers seek post secondary education in engineering and are very successful.
Community members may want to learn more by visiting www.pltw.org .
I would like a community person or two with some degree of expertise in engineering to join us in this study. Additionally, we invite curious parents, engineering background or not, to learn more about pre-engineering and participate with our curriculum council on this project. They can telephone me if they would like to participate.
Mandarin Chinese: If the School District is truly committed to preparing students for their futures, we must realize that China is a sleeping giant in terms of economics. Chinas population is, as we speak, moving out of poverty into middle class status. With that new middle class status comes trillions of dollars (collectively speaking) in purchasing power. In other words, the USA will be doing business with China if we want to sell our goods and services.
As a school system, we have opportunity and a little time yet to teach our students Chinese culture. While we may not be successful in our quest for world language instruction in Mandarin, we can do a good job of preparing students for the new business place. I am not kidding when I say we need to prepare our students to be part of the global village (remember, their future, not our past). We would not want to be left behind to sew tennis shoes for the Chinese, who already have most of the worlds engineers and engage themselves in research and development using the latest and best technology.
The world in which our students will live and do business is going to be a bright, aggressive, demanding place.
Giving them tools to compete and live well in the world of our past just does not get the job done.