Redefining Learning for the Future

Emotion Scientists

The title, “Why it’s Imperative We All Learn to Become ‘Emotion Scientists’” caught my attention this weekend and has such strong connections to the work we do every day and the work of the Vision of a Graduate. “When we consult with corporations, they tell us they’re searching for employees who persevere with a task, who take personal responsibility for their work, who can get along with others and function as members of a team. Not technical abilities or specialized knowledge— they’re looking first for emotional attributes. A colleague from the RAND Corporation told me that technology advances so rapidly today that companies don’t hire workers for their current skills— firms are looking for people who are flexible, who can present new ideas, inspire cooperation in groups, manage and lead teams, and so on. We may acquire some of those skills by osmosis—by watching and emulating others who possess them. But for the most part they must be taught. And they are best learned in communities. Emotion skills are both personal and mutual. They can be used privately, but their best application is throughout a community, so that a network emerges to reinforce its own influence. I have seen this happen— these skills are being deployed in thousands of schools all over the world, with dramatic results.”

Redefining Learning for the Future

Scheduling an Interdisciplinary Project

As we all continue in our quest to move the Vision of a Graduate forward with faculty projects throughout the year, the following article caught my attention on Interdisciplinary projects. It is a quick read discussing both creative projects and creative scheduling. “This year we are taking on the challenge to push the envelope again. At our core, projects are the driver of our work, so we decided to walk the talk and ask the driving question, “What does it look like when our students solve projects that matter that integrate all subject areas?” Our 9th grade team is now integrating seven subjects into one project.” Scheduling an Interdisciplinary Project

Redefining Learning for the Future

Concrete Ways to Help Students Self-Regulate and Prioritize Work

As I was looking through a few articles over the weekend, I came across “Concrete Ways to Help Students Self-Regulate and Prioritize Work.” Although the two short videos highlight elementary and middle school students, the work still pertains to high school students. Many of the discussions from Friday focused on teaching life skills that will outlive students’ four years at HHS. How are we explicitly teaching these skills? How are these skills being worked into lesson plans across all subjects? One quote from the article/video jumped out at me: “Mark Twain said if you wake up every morning and eat a frog, everything else will taste great,” said eighth grade teacher Catherine Paul. “So, I taught them to take their frog from the list, which is the thing they want to do the least, and get it out of the way, because everything else will seem easy.” How are we helping students navigate and prioritize their days in ways that are meaningful and manageable?

Redefining Learning for the Future

Learner Agency

As we continue to promote learner agency, student’s empowerment and ownership over their learning, I am reminded of the importance of asking questions in order to help students find the meaning in what they are doing. 

From Katie Martin’s Article on 6 Questions to Promote Learner AgencyWhen we focus on learners, connect to their interests, needs, and goals, we can create experiences that ignite curiosity, develop passion, and unleash genius. One of my favorite lines from Google’s video, Rubik’s Cube: A question, waiting to be answered (If you haven’t seen it, take a minute and watch it), “…when the right person finds the right question, it can set them on a journey to change the world.” The images of kids conducting experiments, building robots, playing in the mud and even blowing things up always make me smile at the thought of what is possible when learners are inspired and have the support to explore their ideas, questions, and passions in and out of school.

Redefining Learning for the Future

What does “smart” mean?

As we continue to refine and adjust our Vision of a Graduate, the focus remains on the skills, characteristics and attributes needed to succeed in an ever changing world. “What is needed is a new definition of being smart, one that promotes higher levels of human thinking and emotional engagement. The new smart will be determined not by what or how you know but by the quality of your thinking, listening, relating, collaborating, and learning. Quantity is replaced by quality. And that shift will enable us to focus on the hard work of taking our cognitive and emotional skills to a much higher level.” This quote comes from an interesting (and fairly short) article titled, In the AI Age, “Being Smart” Will Mean Something Completely Different. How will our current and future students define “smart” for themselves and others?

Redefining Learning for the Future

Emotional Safety – Necessary Skills for Success – Google

Over the weekend I was reading an article about Google and their Project Aristotle, a study conducted to assess the skills necessary to reach success at Google based on significant data regarding hiring, firing and promotions in the company. “Project Aristotle shows that the best teams at Google exhibit a range of soft skills: equality, generosity, curiosity toward the ideas of your teammates, empathy, and emotional intelligence. And topping the list: emotional safety. No bullying. To succeed, each and every team member must feel confident speaking up and making mistakes. They must know they are being heard.” The question to ponder is how do we help to foster this environment for our students and faculty so that everyone feels the emotional safety to take risks, step out of comfort zones, and feel heard? How do we ensure that every student feels safe to explore, create and innovate at HHS?

Redefining Learning for the Future

Better By Design

Advocacy and fostering student voice is such a critical part of the school and the students felt heard and supported by the faculty and their peers. Attached to this email is an article titled “Better By Design. Students blend empathy and experimentation to impact environment through design thinking.” The article is a fairly quick read discussing design thinking and its connection to student voice. The article is also a nice fit with the redesign we are engaged in for Vision of a Graduate.