New York, NY – Lu Chihlan teaches a Mandarin Chinese Language and Culture course at Manhattan High School for Girls and in an afterschool class for kindergarten through fifth grade students at PS 3, is a Culture Workshop Instructor for elementary students at the China Institute, and a tutor for the Chinese Flagship Program at Hunter College. In addition, she is actively involved in the campaign to develop a community middle school within her home district.
Chihlan explained her desire to bring The Art of Learning principles to all of her students because of the powerful impact the book had on her when she first read it. “After my son’s teacher showed me this book, lots of puzzle pieces came together for me in understanding the power of inter-disciplinary studies and the process from knowledge input to internalization, through interconnection to creative output and performance.”
In her high school course, Chihlan uses the Resilience module, with a specific focus on Beginner’s Mind and Using Adversity, to support her students in exploring their interests in Asian culture and preparing them to be global citizens. She incorporates principles such as Investment in Loss and Value Process Before Results through in-class review and reflection on drafts of project assignments.
With her younger students, Chihlan weaves Beginner’s Mind into their Chinese language instruction. “I take them to a garden nearby and take advantage of the environment where they are relaxed and comfortable while teaching concepts like colors and flowers and nature in Chinese, turning the language challenge into excitement and inspiration. Our project-based curriculum also allows us to practice Using Adversity in the process.”
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – Chad Gangwer, a fourth grade teacher at this school serving 400 fourth and fifth grade students, has developed a faculty book discussion group with a small group of colleagues. Currently, the group is reading the book in segments, responding to a series of discussion questions, and talking about learning theory, the type of feedback teachers give students, and the best ways to introduce activities and interest students. Through an on-line discussion board, Gangwer hopes to continue to expand the book discussion group to eventually include all of the school faculty and potentially develop a school wide thematic program.
Pasadena, CA – Jackson Elementary School recently received a magnet grant to become a STEM and Spanish/English Dual Language Immersion school. Fourth grade teacher, Eduardo Chenu, is interested in working on social/emotional skills with his students, many of whom are from high-poverty backgrounds, in order to increase resilience. “My dream is to first explore the possibility of implementing Art of Learning activities in the coming years in both the Dual Language portion of our school and the Regular Education portion that place an emphasis on viewing mistakes as opportunities for growth and figuring out ways to articulate performing on an optimal ‘flow’ level, and then finding new ways to expand on that” Chenu explains. He will incorporate the learning principles from the Resilience module into his lesson plans “in a way that is less stressful, more organic, and in line with the partnerships and themes that may arise naturally at our school.”
FORT WORTH, TX – Trinity Valley School is a K-12 independent and innovative college preparatory school committed to providing their students with a broad liberal education in the arts and sciences. Luke Jacob, Dean of Learning and Curriculum, is working with teachers in the 2nd, 7th, and 9th grades to develop multi-disciplinary models of The Art of Learning, with an aim to continue to grow each year until the entire school is working with the learning principles.
In each grade, a small team of teachers applies a particular learning principle at the same time, using similar language and lesson structures in their different classrooms. That way, a given student (and his or her parents) encounters three or four iterations of the learning principle. Jacob explains, “This allows for both the consistency and flexibility of the curriculum model, and in a way that would help everyone to see just how similarly the processes of learning function across different fields of study”.
A wonderful example of this process is with the second grade team consisting of Leslie Garcia (classroom teacher), Karen Arrington (technology), and Melissa Black (visual arts). They have developed a unit of study around the principle of Making Smaller Circles. The students explore the concept within the framework of each discipline and then combine their new-found knowledge to create a class e-book. For a more detailed description of the second grade unit, please visit Karen Arrington’s blog or watch this video.
You can also see wonderful examples of the teachers’ lessons, unit outlines, assignments and more in the elementary (Leslie Garcia) and middle school (Tina Harper) sections of our Educators and Coaches resource page.
UPPER DARBY, PA – Carole Peterson, the reading specialist at Stonehurst Hills Elementary School, is organizing a book discussion group with 45 of her fellow teachers. The teachers will meet over the course of several weeks to discuss the principles of The Art of Learning and present ideas in a collaborative setting on how to implement the principles into a variety of curriculum structures and teaching practices. Their hope is to develop more ways to help students and teachers gain insight into their own lives, so they can realize their potential and meet the challenges their school community faces in a shared manner. The principal at Stonehurst Hills Elementary School wrote a case description of their work with The Art of Learning, please see following link for this nice write-up.
ANN ARBOR, MI Emerson School is an elementary and middle school for the gifted and talented. Their main focus is to use a whole-child, multiple approach method to encourage creativity, problem solving, and development of basic skills in a nurturing environment. The school’s librarian and media specialist, Linda Lakshminarayanan, will be introducing The Art of Learning to the teaching staff during summer reading sessions for professional development purposes. Her goal is to stimulate discussion of the book’s principles and explore the possibility of implementing the approaches it presents at Emerson.