The aim of our first tour is to visit schools that exemplify one or more of our values and have succeeded at a delivering an education that genuinely goes beyond the four walls of the classroom, that stretches and challenges our notion of powerful partnerships and demonstrates how genuine self-directed learning can be realised.
Big Picture Learning - The Met SchoolOur first stop is Providence, Rhode Island to visit the founding Big Picture School, Dennis Littky's Met School. The Big Picture schools describe there mission as:
"Big Picture Learning’s mission is to lead vital changes in education, both in the United States and internationally, by generating and sustaining innovative, personalized schools that work in tandem with the real world of the greater community. We believe that in order to sustain successful schools where authentic and relevant learning takes place, we must continually innovate techniques and test learning tools to make our schools better and more rigorous. Lastly, we believe that in order to create and influence the schools of the future, we must use the lessons learned through our practice and research to give us added leverage to impact changes in public policy"
Much of what WE hope to achieve can be heard here in Dennis Littky's TEDxNYED talk:
CCSDL - Canadian Coalition of Self-Directed LearningThe second group of schools we are visiting are all part of the Canadian Coalition of Self-Directed Schools, including Westmount, Mary Ward (Toronto), Bishop Carroll School (Calgary) and Thomas Haney (Vancouver).
The objectives of the CCSDL are outlined as:
"The purpose of the organization is to promote within, and externally, an understanding of each member school’s program and culture, and foster a knowledge of self-directed learning. Using the strength of our varied geographic locations, our educational experiences, and the uniqueness of our member schools program’s we will disseminate information and promote self-directed learning.
Through a collaborative approach to professional development, member schools are encouraged to undertake joint projects, which will allow us to learn from each other. This supportive approach will assist members to address common concerns and seek solutions which will be of benefit.
Members of the organization will enhance self-directed learning through periodic review of the founding principles, research, current and best practices and utilize the skills of the membership to enhance the model.
Member schools will serve as a resource to those groups who are interested in learning about self-directed instruction and will, where applicable, assist schools wishing to undertake self-paced, self-directed learning."
The video below introduces Bishop Carroll High School and introduces how they, whilst not being a typical Modern Learning Environment, use self-directed learning and learning advisors to engage students and support their learning.
Over the course of our travels (7-21 April) I will be posting up regular reflections and posts about each school, sharing what we have seen and learned as well as attempting to process how this may support and/or challenge what we have planned for Hobsonville Point Secondary School.