“It is crazy that in a system that is meant to teach and help the youth, there is no voice from the youth at all.” If students were to design their own schools, what would it look like?

Monument Mountain Regional High School in Massachusetts took a bold step away from regular classroom structure, and replaced grades, tests, homework, and even teachers with group discussions and independent projects. The students become their own drivers for learning, and the teachers take a backseat as guidance.

The students teach themselves, and then to each other. They are accountable to all their friends in a small group. In the video, Annalena, one of the 9 students participating in this alternative education, compares letting her friends down and getting a bad grade on a test. Social loathing and slacking in a group-based learning environment suddenly disappear because no one wants to disappoint their peers. Many urban classroom management challenges can be improved, and even removed, if the students were interested in what they are doing, and “everyone is interested in something” (Charles Tsai).

See how a classroom can look very different: