Ainsley Stapleton

ELMSDALE: Ainsley Stapleton might have a lot of new friends if she gets her way.

The Elmsdale pre-teen—a student at Riverside Education Centre in Milford—has always been a go-getter, and her latest project continues that trend. She’s always trying to change things and make them right if they’re wrong.

“The one thing I can’t quite wrap my head around is the way we teach kids these days,” said the 13-year-old.

Stapleton said there have been many times she has come home from school frustrated because the teacher would tell them they’re doing a new subject, and then there would be a test on said material a couple of days later.

That isn’t something that Stapleton felt was benefiting to the students.

“One day I was thinking there is a way that I could change this and I could make it better,” said Stapleton inside her Elmsdale home that’s just a hop, skip and a jump from Highway 102. “The way we’re doing it now is not right. It’s memorizing, it’s boring, and it’s stressful. It’s not the right way to teach kids.”

If that’s the case, what is the right way to teach kids?

“To me the right way to teach kids would be an experiential learning system, which would mean reducing the use of textbooks, notebooks, copying, memorizing, etc. and turning it into a more hands-on interactive system,” explained Stapleton. “That would mean instead of reading from a textbook, the teacher could bring things in and we could take notes on what we’re learning, instead of copying and memorizing and then having a quick test.

“We would be learning more over a longer period of time, and we’re doing that by seeing and doing.”

Stapleton said as part of her research, she’s collecting data from a survey—which has 65 respondents as of Sept. 6—she put online. It asks 10 questions for Nova Scotia students in Grade 6-12. The survey can be found at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2R2393H.

She plans to write a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; N.S. Education Minister Karen Casey; and the CCRSB about her idea.

“This letter will be a persuasive letter with all the data I have collected, my reasons and further explaining this is the best way to teach,” she said.

She explained there are many benefits to her proposed method of teaching.

“First of all, kids are learning more which is one of the best benefits, as they’re seeing and doing and not just copying and memorizing,” said Stapleton. “You’re understanding and remembering because it’s hands-on learning.

“Another benefit is less stress, because the student is understanding what they’re doing and what they are doing is fun and they can focus more because their less stressed. A third benefit is it’s more fun, and when things are more fun students will learn more.

“If students are doing something that’s actually fun and they’re still learning then their more eager to learn and they’re more likely to learn.”

Stapleton said other countries have tried this and have been successful.

“I believe if we can make this happen, in the end we’ll have less stressful students, students that are more eager to learn, and our next generation of students will be smarter, less stressful, and just overall better.”

She’s more optimistic than some of her friends about her chances.

“If you have a voice, and I’m going to be that one voice that’s going to change it I’m hoping, then anything is possible” said Stapleton with a smile.

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Patrick Healey
Pat has grown up in East Hants, having called Milford, and now Enfield home. He graduated from the journalism program at Holland College in 2001, and has spent time at newspapers in NL and Alberton and Summerside, PEI before becoming a reporter/photographer at The Weekly Press/The Laker in October 2008. He has a rescue kitty named Asha that is much loved—and spoiled. Pat is also our "social engagement guru." Check him out on twitter!