The outcome of Bead Town projects is very public, much celebrated and covered by the media. Published articles become résumé materials when applying for scholarships or job openings - because the generated media exposure shows community involvement. A student who cares will always have a better chance at landing a scholarship or a paid internship. A student taught resourcefulness handles obstacles better. A student who learns and receives the value of public respect will become more motivated.
Bead Town uses The Project Method
In the early 20th Century, William Heard Kilpatrick expanded the project method into a philosophy of education. His device is child-centered and based in progressive education. Both approaches are used by teachers worldwide to this day. Unlike traditional education, proponents of the project method attempt to allow the student to solve problems with as little teacher direction as possible. The teacher is seen more as a facilitator than a deliverer of knowledge and information.
Students in a project method environment should be allowed to explore and experience their environment through their senses and subsequently, direct their own learning by their individual interests. Very little is taught from textbooks and the emphasis is on experiential learning, rather than rote memorization. A project method classroom focuses on democracy and collaboration to solve "purposeful" problems.
Participants at Bead Town will not be locked into these goals. These paths are simply stepping stones and can be implemented in any way! This may suggest lack of creative expression; however, we will, at a minimum, have an addendum that lists the benchmarks addressed for each subject field and for each grade. In the United States, the Bead Town approach is therefore “Common Core aligned.”
Bead Town helps 'Fulfill Lesson Plans'
EDUCATION: Notes and Observations:
♦ Across most public and charter schools we have noticed an increased, in many cases ‘aggressive,’ push towards higher test scores. This creates additional stress for students and can nurture bullying and/or lead to gang- and/or domestic violence.
♦ Bead Town observed that certain gifted and talented students take a special interest in the project and independently become self-learners, wanting to engage in daily dialogue about the local history of each piece and the art itself. These children become autonomous ambassadors of Bead Town and are forever empowered in the process.
♦ Across many states, budget cuts within the education system have resulted in the disappearance of many departments such as art, music and/or similar programs.
Cutting funds will result in hiring less motivated staff within an administration, security and teaching aids. These cuts in funding will prohibit building improvements and even impact the aim of improving test results.
At Bead Town we have learned that many of those children identified as special education students, especially enjoy the break from test preparations and find art-inspired projects to be intrinsically rewarding.
Bead Town allows these students to thrive and take power in their assistance towards the success of an artwork. Additionally, special education teachers and therapists have expressed that Bead Town presents the opportunity for fine motor skills development and expressive communication.
The Magic of a hidden Curriculum
Never making a student feel like he or she is in a classroom
Not all children learn equally. Grades motivate some children, while teachers must force others to learn. A classroom often cruel, abusive and neglectful sometime does create an environment in which some children can not learn because they do not care to. Children find it difficult to find inspiration and it becomes impossible for them to find motivation when they are so frequently reminded of their binding environment. For some students, the repetitive walk to school incorporates abandoned buildings, indigent people, liquor stores, gang violence, drug dealers and prostitution.
Bead Town distracts in a positive way and gives any child or adult the opportunity to matter while learning difficult subjects in a setting outside the classroom. In such an interactive setting, Bead Town teaches about history, math, geography, social sciences, reading, chemistry, public speaking, and art; all the while, the student works toward a common goal, within a community setting. Bead Town’s unique ability to never feel like a classroom invokes the desire to learn in both children and adults.
Typical classroom conversations are almost 100% teacher/adult led. Bead Town is special in that while it encompasses common core concepts, it also allows freedom of expression and opportunity for face-to-face discussion. Advanced artwork preparation can link subjects such as: math, history, geography, social sciences, art and reading. The Bead Town workshop then becomes a useful extension of what is being taught. In the classroom, children are typically asked a question and forced to provide one correct answer. Bead Town allows children and teenagers the freedom to learn while searching for an answer. For example, we always ask the student to estimate the amount of beads used in an artwork, but teach the mathematic formula used in an exciting way to arrive at the solution. Such applied learning can later be used when purchasing a carpet or estimating the materials for painting a room, for instance.
These skills, taught subconsciously, can be applied to earn money, foster entrepreneurship, practice temperance and exercise tolerance.