Nearly 1 out of every 2 students in Latin America does not finish high school.
Many students start to show warning signs before they even get to high school. This month for our seventh contest we ask:
How can we prevent dropouts before students give up on school?I want to learn more
"Reinventing school is the first step to reinventing society."
Eryk Rocha, film director
All students are at risk of dropping out of high school because the education system isn’t perfect. So if we can’t change the system, why don’t we change the way students see the system?
The Four Elements is a program for young people at risk of dropping out of school that combines Incan and hip-hop philosophy to divide a young person’s life into four areas: Dreams, Passions, People and Skills.
The Four Elements is structured around the Incan Cross (chakana), which represents a guide for living that has been used for hundreds of years. This is combined with the philosophy of hip hop that encourages people to be their best, pursue their passions and contribute to their communities.
Following the topics covered by the chakana, young people have to complete 3 challenges for each element in order to ‘attain’ it, and upon completing the four elements they are awarded their own chakana to remind them of their experience as they follow their path. There is no failing The Four Elements, all of the participants that do their best graduate from the program.
The Four Elements doesn’t view education and employment as the most important thing in life, but more as vehicles that will help young people fulfill their dreams. When students see that continuing their studies and finishing high school is a tool that can help them achieve what they’re really interested in, they are more motivated to pay attention in class and do their homework. By developing a complete life plan during the program that doesn’t just focus on employment, young people have a better idea of how they are going to achieve their dreams and why it’s a good idea to finish high school.
The Four Elements consists of a student handbook, board game and teacher’s guide. It is deliberately non-technological so that students are forced to interact with their classmates and teachers instead of a screen, costs very little to produce and can be implemented by any teacher or adult in any educational environment.
A realistic solution for students dropping out isn’t to change the school system. A solution is to help young people realize identify their talents and dreams so that they are inspired to not just complete school but contribute to their societies and be happier individuals.
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