Sunday, March 5, 2017

Get Outside of Your Comfort Zone

The purpose of Project Week is to provide all students and faculty time for an extended and vigorous investigation of an essential question through outstanding educational opportunities that are not possible in the standard classroom setting.  Students engage in self-directed learning with appropriate adult guidance, and they self-reflect about the process, experience, and outcomes of their project throughout the week.

Project Week also allows us to dynamically pursue the New Hampton School mission of cultivating lifelong learners who will serve as active global citizens using project-based and experiential learning methods.

Mr. Shackett works with students in the Greenhouse.  He allowed students to take ownership of their project while offering guidance when necessary.

As a project leader I have had the opportunity to work with over 60 students in a variety of settings.  I've been fortunate enough to lead a local service-learning project, travel abroad with an international service-learning project, work on our own Greenhouse, and investigate the Tiny House Movement.  The colleagues I have been lucky enough to work with hall all embraced the opportunty of having co-ownership with students.

Students at our school in Rio San Juan, Dominican Republic.

Allowing students to have ownership over their experience allows for life-changing events.  At times, we are even forced to rely solely on our students.  While in the Dominican Republic we had only one student on the project who was fluent in Spanish. She instantly became vital for our experience, and embraced her leadership role throughout the week. 

Remarkable experiences happen when we get outside of our comfort zones.  So many of our students and faculty are doing exactly that this week.  We have built a culture of trying new things, allowing each other to take risks, possibly fail, and grow from our experiences.  Perhaps Joe '19 said it best in school meeting on Friday when explaining why he chose to be in the project The Show Must Go On.   He said he wanted to do this project because he had never done anything like it before.  It will be a new, exciting, and somewhat terrifying experience.  But Joe, and so many other students, will have rich, fulfilling experiences because of their willingness to try new things.

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