So how do you inspire Eagles take control of their own learning? Not an easy question.
Here’s a start. Today’s launch featured three stories:
1. 18-year-old Stacey Ferreira saw a tweet from entrepreneur Richard Branson about a charity event he was sponsoring , flew halfway across the country to meet him and left with $400,000 in funding for her new website.
2. Harvard Education professor Richard Elmore, who has observed over 2,000 classrooms, writes a blog post blasting traditional schools as “custodial institutions, designed to hold adolescents out of the labor force and to socialize them to adult control” adding that the “only other public institution in our society that works this way…is the prison system.”
3. A group of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs announces a new school where “every child is a genius,” giving credit for its inspiration to Acton Academy.
Stacey Ferreira is a hero who shows what our Eagles can accomplish. Professor Elmore paints a dismal picture of the educational alternatives. The Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are proof that what our Eagles’ efforts matter in the world.
During the day, progress continues in Core Skills, including an early glimpse of math in spring, where Eagles will choose independent paths in either Geometry, Algebra or Trigonometry. We also debate a change in self-governance designed to simplify SMART goals.
One Eagle pays off the loan she took out to start the school store:
In the afternoon, Eagles work hard on their Game Quest, some creating board games, others making electronic games, all knowing that next week’s public demonstration is fast approaching:
Story lines and critical thinking are stressed below.
Near the end of the afternoon, two Eagles demonstrate their game prototypes and receive formal critiques.
The end of the day discussion asks what advice our Eagles would offer to the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. Is “hard work” or “fun” more important for creating the right learning environment? Which should be stressed first? Should the approach in the elementary school be different than the middle school?
No two students can agree. And that’s exactly the point.