Many people have misconceptions concerning military boarding schools. Common perception being military boarding schools are only for juvenile delinquents who cause trouble and corporal punishment is a part of the discipline regimen. In fact, the guiding philosophy of most military schools is to provide a wholesome, patriotic and invigorating atmosphere in which students are inspired toward maximum achievement.
Why Choose a Military School Education?
1. Build Character
Military schools help build the qualities of character often missing in a student’s public school education. These traits include honesty, self-discipline, motivation, initiative, courage and self-confidence. The military staff at these institutions has spent their careers developing the techniques required to develop good character in others. Under their tutelage, students learn to make good decisions and deal with the consequences of poor judgment.
2. Eliminate Distractions
You’ll find all accredited schools have similar academic programs. Their core curriculums vary little, they hire qualified teachers, provide the required classroom resources and monitor student progress. Where military schools differ is their learning environment. They work to remove obstacles to student achievement. Students who have difficulty with time management and focus benefit from this distraction free environment. Adrian Arranaga, an admissions counselor at the Marine Military Academy, hears a common story from parents:
“Time and time again parents express that their child has too much freedom, they don’t listen and/or has abused there privileges to the point where the parents does not know what to do next. Placing a student in a school that offers the same freedoms helps to perpetuate the problem. We have learned that the more distractions students face, the less they are willing to do what they should. We minimize distractions and require students to earn privileges.”
A primary distraction in a teen’s life is technology. A life without the constant beckoning of modern technology can be a radical change. Students are forced to adjust to a world without freedom, distractions and technology overindulgence. Gone is the unrestricted access to cell phones, Facebook, email, instant messages, television and computer games. In their absence, the important skills of concentration and focus are given the opportunity to develop. Here are two excellent articles that discuss the importance of focus and eliminating technological distractions:
- Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction – NYTimes.com
- Age of Distraction: Why It’s Crucial for Students to Learn to Focus
3. Develop Teamwork Skills
At a military school, daily life revolves around teamwork and leadership development. Military schools have a student leadership system (all students are in JROTC) that expects students to participate throughout the day. The leadership experience begins at a very small level by first learning to follow and then progressing to roles that place students in responsible positions.
Students at a military school do more than just learn about teamwork, they practice it every day. They live together as a unit and must work as a team to achieve unit goals. These goals vary from keeping their quarters clean to having the best academic performance at the school. Everyone has a role to play and through this experience each begin to develop communication, planning, and cooperation skills.
All students have the opportunity for increased leadership responsibility. This is much different from public schools whose teamwork and leadership opportunities are limited to elected student government, club presidents or team captains. Those same opportunities exist at military schools but they are eclipsed by the responsibilities that the military school environment demands of each student.
4. Structured Environment
A structured environment provides a high level of organization and predictability. Each day’s activities are planned and rules are consistently followed, expectations are clearly communicated and consequences are understood. Schedules and rules are very important to military school students. They wake-up, eat, attend class, participate in sports, study and sleep on a strict schedule.
The qualities of a structured military environment include:
- Supervision with a clear hierarchy of authority
- Firm boundaries
- Daily routines
- Limited choices
- Consequences for misbehavior
- Follow through
- Rules and procedures
Structure is important for multiple reasons:
- A consistent schedule and positive reinforcement produces good habits including study, eating, exercise and personal hygiene.
- Focus is maintained because distractions are minimized. Life becomes manageable because attention is given to only one activity at a time. For teens with ADHD, a structured environment helps to eliminate distractions and provides external controls to counter their own underdeveloped internal controls.
- Time is organized to maximize efficiency.
- Clear expectations and consequences help to develop self-discipline.
Before you choose a military school be sure to do your research to be certain that the one you pick meets your needs.
Authors: Bill Hinkle is the Director of Computer Services and Adrian Arranaga is an Admission Counselor at Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, TX. MMA is an all boys private college preparatory Military boarding school. For more information about MMA visit our website: http://www.mma-tx.org