I'm thinking that during school needs to be more like after school...
This is a point I really like and thankfully one that I do hear on occasion. But, it seems even people who do understand it fail to place the appreciation on extracurricular activities necessary to take full advantage of them as learning opportunities.
Extracurriculars provide wonderful learning opportunities, however many of these are intangible. I am a much better person due to the leadership skills I gained in the theatre. I can troubleshoot a light blindfolded, and react quickly to a wide range of athletic injuries. These are things that I learned outside of the classroom. And, these skills (among others) are not just limited to those activities. The ability to work through a problem systematically (e.g. troubleshoot a light) is something that I will use for the rest of my life.
The problem (from the 20th century education perspective) is that these skills aren’t testable; they don’t show up on any transcript, there is no grade assigned. This, it seems, scares educators.
Does that fact that it is difficult to test a student’s ability to systematically think through a problem mean that it shouldn’t be the focus of our attention? We give students the tools, why not also focus on how to apply them logically?
There is no doubt in my mind that my GPA is lower due to my high level of “after school learning”. This is a fact that I have accepted because I know that I have learned more than my peers who did not take advantage of these additional learning opportunities. The question then becomes: how do I get colleges, my parents, all of the people who will be reading my transcript to acknowledge what I have learned, not only my documented performance? (Having a resume helps, but I don’t think the cultural understanding necessary to get credit for my extracurricular learning exists, yet.)
We need to learn to value the learning that can’t be tested before these additional opportunities for learning can be fully explored.