- excellent pupil/teacher ratio enabling one-on-one interactions and discussions;
- self-directed learning;
- children follow their own interests;
- opportunities to be creative and make things; and
- children don't follow a set schedule, but can discuss and explore things until they are finished.
Sounds like a Playcentre.
That's actually a serious comment!
Another serious observation is what children wouldn't excel and be enthusiastic about learning if their school had those five attributes. I suspect that the successes and positive outlook of the children interviewed on the radio had very little to do with matching their curriculum to their intellectual abilities, but more with the quality of education they were receiving. My comment about the school sounding like a Playcentre doesn't at all mean that Playcentre children are any more or less gifted than anyone else - rather that many aspects of the Playcentre philosophy have a sound basis in educational theory and the provision of quality early education.
Another idea - we can be self-directed learners in mainstream education during early childhood, and at advanced tertiary education --- but for most in the middle, that idea gets lost.
So why don't all children have these opportunities? I guess it comes down to money. Think of the salary and buildings costs if every class was no more than, say, 12 pupils in size. When the school system was set up, I imagine it was a clear choice between excellent education for the few (at a high price), or an OK education for almost all (considerably cheaper).