Raise your hand if this thought has ever crossed your mind, “A school where students change the world would be great, but is it really possible?”
The answer to that question is a resounding, echo from the mountainsides, “YES!”
Today we’re taking a look at Experiential Learning Schools (or as insiders say EL Schools). What is EL? As a colleague recently told me, it is not just an add-on to your current school model (e.g. every other Friday students take a field trip); it’s a comprehensive way of doing school.
EL’s goal is to “ inspire the motivation to learn, engage teachers, and students in new levels of focus and effort, and transform schools into places where students and adults become leaders of their own learning.”
What does that look like in action? Check out this video about middle schoolers in Maine. It ends with this beautiful quote from a student: “Schools shouldn’t just be learning about problems; they should be about solving them.”
What about student achievement you say? A recent report by Mathematica found that middle school students at five Expeditionary Learning schools performed significantly better in reading and math than similar students in other public schools. Students at EL schools accumulated about an extra seven months of learning growth in reading and 10 months of extra learning growth in math after three years.
Real learning leads to real achievement. School can be a place where students learn how to and actually do the work of improving their world.