"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the
shoulders of giants."
- Isaac Newton
• a system based on inquiry, discovery, application, and reflection where wonder and curiosity are encouraged and validated as a means for deeper learning
• valuing process in addition to product
• project-based learning, offering students a range of choices to demonstrate learning, interdisciplinary content and hands-on experiences to increase retention
• a preference for open-ended questions/problems/ projects/ performances/ presentations instead of short-answer and multiple-choice tests
• a belief that collaboration is conducive to learning and the classroom is a teacher-guided, democratic learning community
• creating classes where students become comfortable “making mistakes,” a low-risk environment, as they share their ideas/hypotheses and explore and discover within the safety of the learning community
John Dewey, Progressive Education (1916)
• Understanding education as growth
The educative process is a continuous process of growth, having as its aim at every stage an added capacity for growth.
• Belief that the success of a school will never be measurable in wholly quantitative terms, and that the higher aim of education is in developing habits of mind that spark a love of learning and the capacity to learn
The criterion of the value of school education is the extent in which it creates a desire for continued growth and supplies the means for making the desire effective in fact.
• Understanding that education is a social experience that serves a social purpose
Schools require for their full efficiency more opportunity for conjoint activities in which those instructed take part, so that they may acquire a social sense of their own powers and of the materials and appliances used.
It is the business of education to discover aptitudes and progressively to train them for social use.
• Belief that educating students for eventual participation in a democracy means freeing “individual capacity in a progressive growth directed to social aims”
An educational aim must be founded upon the intrinsic activities and needs (including original instincts and acquired habits) of the given individual to be educated.
Until the democratic criterion of the intrinsic significance of every growing experience is recognized, we shall be intellectually confused by the demand for adaptation to external aims.
• Belief that education is an essential factor in social mobility and a commitment to helping students expand their range of options in life through high-quality education
It is the office of the school environment to balance the various elements in the social environment, and to see to it that each individual gets an opportunity to escape from the limitations of the social group into which he was born, and to come into contact with a broader environment.
• Recognition that education is a means for deliberate and conscious cultural transmission
What nutrition and reproduction are to physiological life, education is to social life.
Whether we permit chance environments to do the work, or whether we design environments for the purpose [of cultural transmission] makes a great difference. And any environment is a chance environment... unless it has been deliberately regulated with reference to its educative effect.
• Preference for a learn by doing, hands-on approach that makes learning relevant for students
Education is not preparation for life, it is life itself.
As societies become more complex in structure and resources, the need of formal or intentional teaching and learning increases. As formal teaching and training grow in extent, there is the danger of creating an undesirable split between the experience gained in more direct associations and what is acquired in school. This danger was never greater than at the present time, on account of the rapid growth in the last few centuries of knowledge and technical skill.
• a curriculum and instructional philosophy that balances the concrete, sensorial experiences with abstract reasoning
• a safe, orderly learning environment where individual students are allowed time in the day to explore and discover through the materials themselves, the flexibility for self-direction and self-development
• “individual learning contracts” to guide students’ individual projects and track progress toward mastery of content, as well as the use of Montessori learning materials in the classroom
Maria Montessori’s famous axiom, "Teach by teaching, not by correcting." We intend to listen to explanation first when we observe something that appears incorrect. Knowing that gifted learners are often creative thinkers, we do not want to quickly mark something “incorrect” and thereby discourage innovation or risk-taking. We seek to understand before we redirect students.
• positive input to spur student growth and preserve students’ enthusiasm while inspiring internal motivation for improvement and correctness
Waldorf Model (Steiner)
• room for the child’s imagination and creativity at school
• individual variations in the pacing of curriculum
• teacher looping
• attention to the developing emotional life of the child, and artistic expression in performing and visual arts
• valuing cooperation over competition
• working together to create our own books and classroom reference materials as we question, discover, process, and construct knowledge
• a belief that schooling should not be about simply banking information in the learners’ minds but about fostering learning habits and joy in learning
• a desire to educate the whole human being—the heart and the hands, as well as the head
• striving to transform education into an art
Classical Approach (Adler)
• thematic units with a strong base in the humanities, the rich stories of history and literature, and the chance to engage philosophical questions
• use of the Socratic seminar method: whole class round table discussion
• instruction in the scientific method, logic, rhetoric, and argument that is paced according to age, gradually increasing in complexity and subtlety as the student grows and learns
• use of teacher-directed instruction when appropriate for students and content objectives
• belief that by equipping students with strong thinking, reading, and writing skills, we empower students to join the “Great Conversation” — the ongoing conversation of great minds through the ages, and have a legitimate say at any table of discussion