I watched a debate about the pros & cons of a democracy vs. communism this morning. No, it wasn't a discussion among a group of adults about politics. It was by a bunch of 7th graders (13 & 14 year olds) in school as part of their year long class project called "City on the Sea".
The premise behind this project is for them to develop a whole new city from the "ground" up within the scenario of the polar ice caps melting & covering all the land on earth. They had to figure out how much space they would need for the population, how they would generate energy to run the city, what kind of government they would want for the city (hence today's debate) & so on & so forth. Math, Science, Social Studies are all covered in this project as well as public speaking skills (when they make their own presentations on different aspects of the project).
This is the kind of teaching in schools that will stimulate the students, & encourage their passion for learning. And it was passion I heard during the Q & A session at the debate as the students all voiced their questions & opinions about the kind of political system they would want to have in their city. Hands were shooting up left, right & center as so many wanted their voices to be heard. The teachers were there, not to criticise their opinions, but more as moderators to keep things moving along smoothly.
I think we can argue till the cows come home about which education system works best for whom & in what country...but end of the day, when I see the enthusiasm stirred up in these students & their eagerness to question what is placed before them, it's clear to me what works...and what doesn't.