Many students grumble about their teachers and their schools. But how many 17-year-old students have written a book calling for a radical overhaul of the American educational system? Nikhil Goyal of Woodbury, New York, has written just such a book. And he’s being taken quite seriously as an advocate of educational reform and critic of our existing classroom approaches. He not only has spoken at several Fortune 500 companies and major universities, but also appeared on Fox and Friends and NBC Nightly News, as well doing interviews with the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, among many other publications.
We at Call Me Stormy recently had the good fortune to touch base with Goyal, the author of One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student’s Assessment of School. We asked Goyal what motivated him to write his book. He cited two factors. “I became very frustrated in my experiences in school,” he said. “I’ve hated going to school for a long time. I realized that I was learning so much more on my own through travels, books, lectures, conferences, and online communities than my time in school. I wanted to do something about it.”
Secondly, he found he was not alone. Boredom or hostility toward a traditional curriculum are what drive many students to drop out of school. “I have a goal of virtually eliminating the dropout rate in this country,” he said. “Studies have found that the main reason why students drop out of school is because they found their classes to be uninteresting and irrelevant to their lives. I’ve examined some of the best schools in the country and what their kids generally unanimously say is that they love going to school every single day.”
How would he keep more students engaged in learning? By “allowing children to take control of their education by means of experiences, apprenticeships, and learning by doing.” Goyal is not just impassioned on this subject, but amazingly gifted and bright, and eager to see a turnaround in the success rates achieved by our failing schools. To give you a sense of his full range of ideas, we present Goyal’s TEDx talk, “Learning Revolution,” that he presented this past July.