- Elm City College Prep, one of the three Greenfield schools in the Achievement First charter network, incorporates learning “expeditions” into its curriculum as a way to inspire curiosity and allow students to assume different identifies as they find their educational passions, according to the Hechinger Report.
- Expeditions are intensive two-week intensive courses taught by professionals that extend beyond traditional subjects and involve hands-on experiences in areas such as journalism, orchestra, theater, dance and medicine.
- School leaders feel that allowing students to choose three expeditions a year will also help develop perseverance and better prepare them to complete college.
The Greenfield School model uses learning expeditions, which it describes on its website as
“extended field trips that allow students to go deeper in an area of interest and experience hands-on learning in more authentic and engaging ways.” It is easy to see how such a model could engage students in learning in a meaningful way while tapping into their natural imagination and curiosity. While it seems on the surface that such expeditions would take time away from the test-driven academics, helping students find the “why" behind learning motivates them to pay more attention.
Schools need to find ways to engage students more fully in the learning process, and such hands-on interactions are a great way to do it. Though many schools may not have the resources to hold three such sessions a year, they can enlist parents and community members in helping to set up shorter sessions that allow for such exploration. These events could also be an opportunity for cross-curricular learning as students experiment, research and report about their experiences.