There was a time when teachers would teach the way they had learned, with little regard to the needs of the student. However, a quick Google search shows the diversity of educational approaches and how they are constantly evolving. It is not uncommon to have researchers, administrators, and educators all exploring, evaluating, and choosing different ways to approach learning environments. Each seeking solutions for the best ways to support youth throughout their academic journey.
Wasatch Academy understands the importance of integrating a diverse range of educational approaches to support the development of the whole child. To keep abreast of the latest research and advancements, Assistant Head of School for Academics, Dr. J Dianne Brederson, and Associate Director of College Counseling and Project-Based and Service Learning Coordinator, Renee Thibodeaux, attended the Expeditionary Learning (EL) Education 2019 National Conference held October 17-19 in Atlanta.
In 1991, EL Education was born from a partnership between Harvard Graduate School of Education and Outward Bound, USA. The two companies joined the character-infused philosophy of Outward Bound founder Kurt Hahn, which focuses on teamwork, courage, and compassion, with an active approach to learning crafted by leading Harvard scholars.
Now, they assist educators from around the world in supporting students’ growth with their Three Dimensions of Student Achievement model: Mastery of Knowledge and Skills, Character, and High-Quality Student Work. This model focuses on preparing students by giving them the tools both in character building and quality of work.
Dr. Brederson remarked, “It is imperative to actively keep informed of current research and best practices that have the greatest positive impact on student learning. Educational research has pointed out that adult (teacher) learning and professional development plays a key role in student learning.”
During the conference, Brederson and Thibodeaux joined 1,400 fellow educators, experts, and innovators striving to expand the definition of student achievement and ensure that every student has the opportunity to become a powerful contributor to a better world while at school. The community of teachers and leaders from across the country had the opportunity to participate in over 100 different master classes on topics ranging from restorative justice to social-emotional learning. “Events like this, sustain us as life-long learners, connect us with other leadership peers who are moving toward a similar vision, and we walk away with resources and inspiration,” stated Thibodeaux.
Thibodeaux continues, “I am excited that we are part of a world-wide movement in education. The vision that we have for our students and our teachers is aligned with the vision of hundreds of other caring, learning-loving institutions around the world. We are part of a greater community working toward a great cause.”