Saturday, April 12, 2008

Why Experimental Methods in Education Are So Important

Full story here:

Vaughn learned that the regional pass rate for girls was low because it was rooted in the economic need of young girls to work at home. They begin missing classes, then failing exams, often ultimately failing or dropping out of school.

"I found every one a girl younger than she and said, 'You're responsible to make sure she learns.' I taught them how to teach each other."

It worked. In two years, the group of girls had grown to 80 -- and they were succeeding in school. With a grant, Vaughn was able to hire teachers, and the program continued to expand despite her attempt to set a limit of 100 girls.

"The girls wanted to take it to 10,000," says Vaughn.

To keep their "10,000 Girls" education program going, the girls asked Vaughn to teach them to bake. They began selling cookies and juice and were able to buy books and supplies.

Soon after, they got their older sisters, aunts and cousins -- who had already failed out of the school system -- involved in baking and selling goods. The entrepreneurial element of the program was born.

"We have girls who were told they'd never get through high school who are at university now," beams Vaughn. "We hope that if we get 10,000 girls out there, 1,000 girls will come back to Kaolack and work. It would revolutionize the whole region.

Fortunately Vaughn was in Senegal, not California, where home-schooling is a crime.

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