Learning is all about making meaning; seeking and making meaning are what human beings do. Schools have the opportunity to enhance, enrich and accelerate that process, or merely get in the way of it with meaningless busy work, endless testing and relationships that go sour.
All the target-setting and achievement measures and all the fancy technology will achieve little if the connection with that meaning-making is broken.
It’s easy to talk about critical and creative thinking but if students are to develop as thinkers and innovators we need to establish classrooms and schools as places of inquiry, experimentation and challenge.
PDS is always bursting with learning ventures, projects and creative work in academics, the arts and community service. As a school PDS prizes collaborative work, independent effort and projects that present new ways of experiencing the world of information, share new knowledge and contribute to a better world for all of us. Here are just two of many recent examples from the upper school:
- Rebekah Judson’s essay Ukraine Identity is in the current issue of The Concord Review – a highly selective quarterly journal and the only one in the world to publish the academic research papers of secondary students. The Review was founded in 1987 to “recognize and publish exemplary history essays by high school students in the English-speaking world.”
- Students raised almost $10,000 for AIDS work with participation in the sponsored walk and a carwash. Here’s is one of Olivia’s pics of students at work.