#5- Tension

Over the last few days, i’ve been feeling incredibly stuck. I’m having trouble writing these posts because my topic is so broad and I have so much to say and so many questions that I can’t think straight and just write. So, after a long couple hours of just thinking, i’ve come up with an area/question that I might choose to be my focus.

Where is the tension?

I wasn’t fond of this at first, because it seemed so boring. Then, I started to think about what that question entails. Why is education changing? Why doesn’t the current system work? Why does it work? How do you get rid of the tension? Can you?

I think that by interviewing, I can really get into the tension between the teachers and the students, the old and the young, the students who think the system works, the ones who don’t, etc. I also think that I could work to understand the science behind how our brains learn, and if the current system supports it or not (although I already kind of know the answer- it doesn’t). This idea of tension makes me very excited, and I can’t wait to figure out what I can do with it.

Vermont has already taken action with the Flexible Pathways initiative, created by act 77. According to the Vermont Agency of Education, this provides for

  • Expansion of existing statewide dual enrollment program
  • Expansion of early college programs
  • Increased access to work-based learning
  • Increased virtual/blended learning opportunities
  • Increased access to career and technical education
  • Implementation of personalized learning plans

Even though this was created in 2013, i’m just beginning to see signs of it now. Only in the past few months have I been hearing about personalized learning plans, and only at the end of sophomore year did I hear about an opportunity to join a program that focused on work-based learning which I pursued and got into, which I wouldn’t have actually done if it weren’t for my sophomore humanities teachers. Last year, in that same class, I read parts of a book and watched a film called “Most Likely to Succeed” by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith. After watching the film, I gained a whole new view about how effective education could be, and it made me angry that the current system isn’t helping us reach our full potential. Throughout this program, I seek to make a documentary that will, like Most Likely To Succeed, give people a new view on education.


“Most Likely To Succeed.” Most Likely To Succeed. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.

“Agency of Education.” Flexible Pathways. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.


Maddie Parker

One Response to “#5- Tension

  • Emily Rinkema
    6 years ago

    Maddie–the focus on tension is excellent, I think. I love that as a center, and I look forward to seeing if you were able to make more sense of it and narrow it down even more with your mind mapping! I have been thinking about these tensions so much lately, and trying to determine which tensions are most compelling to me in my role this year. There are so many, as you know, but the one that keeps coming up in the high school is the tension between what we know about healthy learning and the pressures (perceived or real) from school requirements, colleges, parents, and other external forces. I think of homework as an example, as it’s something I have become passionate about, but also the crazy expectations that HS students put on themselves (or we put on them) that prevents significant change from happening within our schools. I’m not sure where the breaking point is, but I worry many students are reaching it; and what happens when students push themselves to “play by the rules”, load up their transcripts, build up their resumes…and it doesn’t end up the way it was promised to them?

    I can’t wait to see your mind-mapping!


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