Today marked the first day of the 4th Pioneer Lab Training—our largest training to date. As the guest list for this training grew, we reflected on the myriad ways all five elements can be cultivated within each learning environment. We also noticed three lessons many pioneers are discovering regardless of their learner-centered model.
The first is about their starting point. Time and again, we hear how it all must begin with each individual learner’s interests and passions. This means standardized curriculums are no longer the driving force behind what learners experience on a daily basis. Rather, pathways are designed with the learner’s interests as the starting point and the standards are mapped to the project on the backend. This completely flips the traditional framework and truly puts learning in the hands of the learner.
This new way of thinking about the starting point leads directly to the next lesson: everyone does not need to learn the same thing. Preparing learners in a one-size-fits-all system will never translate to our no-size-fits-all world. Naturally, there are commonalities seen across individual learning experiences, but these characteristics sit at a much higher level than something as specific as learning the quadratic function or the difference between mitosis and meiosis. What remains constant are the core competencies we want all kids to graduate with.
Lastly, we’ve seen that enabling learners to identify meaningful goals and to develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to pursue those goals is more important than ensuring every content standard is met.
With so many fields of study sitting outside the standard subjects found in traditional schooling, allowing the learner to dive deep into their interests and passions will not only allow for unexpected growth opportunities in the learner but will also allow educators and the community at-large to grow in the process.
With these reflections in mind as we go about Pioneer Lab Training this week, we’re excited to continue amplifying pioneer voices in another issue of Pioneering. Be sure to explore Henry County Schools, a young learner’s story from McComb School District, and much more.