Thursday, June 30, 2016

Promoting adventure

We have worked in the past with an amazing educator, Ron Berger, and his ideas permeate our school.  He was a teacher for many years in Massachusetts and is now chief education director at Expeditionary Learning (EL Education).  He taught us about the process of critique, of beautiful display of children's work, and of linking classroom learning to real problems and solutions outside of school - the purposeful action we talk about in our mission statement.

The roots of EL Education come from Outward Bound and one of the tenets is "Promoting Adventure" -  the kind that encompasses physical activities in the outdoors, and also the intellectual kind that can involve risk, challenge, and discovery.

EL promotes the kind of adventures that create opportunities for leadership and collaboration as groups of students and teachers face challenges together.  Together, students and adults discover they can do more that they thought was possible, and find aspects of themselves that they didn't know were there.       ~ EL Education Core Practice 30

I love the idea that Adventure is a school goal.  Here is a  Parker example: our STEM Week, where students must work as teams of engineers in a Space Tourism company, to research, design, and build rockets, while making promotional videos for their companies.  Students function like scientists and engineers do, and also entrepreneurs.  They have group goals and individual goals.  They tackle something that is relevant to their lives and is actually happening in the world outside of school.  They reflect on their work afterwards.

Their learning is an adventure.  It elicits students' enthusiasm, excitement, and motivation.  All the goals we have for learning: cooperation, research, critical thinking, creative thinking, and so many others are embodied in activities like this.

Adventure is what keeps kids craving more and is probably why Parker children love to come to school.  Here is a photo of some kind of summer adventure - a kind that can be categorized simply as "fun"!

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