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TAMPA, FL. Elizabeth Arizu, a guidance counselor at Robinson High School shared The Art of Learning with 25 of her fellow counselors, teachers, and administrators. As a result, English teacher Kenneth Hawkins worked with The Art of Learning in his IB Inquiry Skills class. Their intention is to launch a school-wide program. Says Kenneth:  “In this book, which uses a first-person voice, my students have someone to whom they can relate, someone who experiences travails and gains a specific understanding of how to triumph over them. The Art of Learning shows them how to access and really use their intelligence.  Now, two months later, we still talk about Mr. Waitzkin’s book.”

For 14- and 15-year-old students, the book was helpful because it offered them an approach for facing struggles in life. This is particularly important for teenagers who are starting off fresh in high school and really fresh in life.”

Here’s what some of the students had to say to Josh after working with the book…

“I like Chapter 11, Making Smaller Circles. I like this chapter the most because what I learned from it can help me in my work at school. I can divide my homework in to small parts and do them carefully to get the best results. My class had a great conversation over this topic, and we enjoyed talking about it. I think a lot of people had the same thought as me about it.”

“Your success with these methods was encouraging and proved to others that they did in fact work. Also, your thoughts about how the human brain works when you were talking about “searching for the zone” in Chapter 16 is very interesting. I totally agree with you that we should try and find this zone. It could come in handy one day when it is needed to complete work.”

“Your book, The Art of Learning, has made me see life from a different perspective. I found your story extremely fascinating, especially the little things that your parents did to keep you going during chess tournaments when you were young.”

“I had been struggling to get in the flow and was super stressed about my grades and sports.  I felt like I couldn’t manage my time correctly, but your book helped me to slow down and relax.  We had a four day weekend, and I spent the whole time relaxing and making plans to follow for the next week.  At school I kept reminding myself to stop and think instead of allowing everything to become overwhelming again.”

Northport High School-International Baccalaureate Organization

EAST NORTHPORT, NY – Through comprehensive and balanced curricula coupled with challenging assessments, the International Baccalaureate Organization aims to assist schools in their endeavors to develop the individual talents of young people and teach them to relate the experience of the classroom to the realities of the world outside. At Northport High School, IB Program Coordinator David Storch is using The Art of Learning to further stimulate thought and creativity among his students as well as enhance their perspective. He and three faculty members are creating a curriculum for a two-three-week unit of study devoted to the book and integrating it into the Theory of Knowledge program. His objective is that the students, 17-18-year-old juniors and seniors, develop a strong commitment to learning, both in terms of content mastery and skill development.

Mendham High School IB Program

MENDHAM, NJ. Dr. Kathy Kremins merged The Art of Learning with Mendham High’s International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge course.

Seventy students participated in this pilot program. Many passionately discussed The Art of Learning in an online forum and wrote inspiring essays about the material. At the end of the program, the JW Foundation had the honor of meeting with the class. Josh spoke to the students and then held a more intimate discussion with a smaller group. This collaboration touched on everything from what it means to be a learner in life to a vision for the future of education.

Currently, we are continuing our work with the senior Theory of Knowledge class. In addition, both the Mendham boys’ soccer team and girls’ basketball team are using The Art of Learning thanks to the inspiring work of Dr. Kathy Kremins and Tim Rymer.

The success of the Mendham High program combined with our participation in the International Baccalaureate Conference resulted in the integration of The Art of Learning into IB Theory of Knowledge classes in a number of other schools. There is vast potential for the spread of the principles set forth in the book as they are a perfect match for the mission of the IB program, which is held in 2,732 schools in 138 countries.

Dr. Kremins is taking steps to launch a four-way international program for teaching The Art of Learning—participants include Mendham High and high schools in Newark, N.J., Mexico, and China that will share a wikispace and work with a unit plan she is developing based on the IB Middle Years Program. Dr. Kremins will be creating a blog for The Art of Learning Project website that will document her and the students’ ongoing experiences working with the principles and share ideas about how others can institute effective teaching strategies, domestically and abroad. Wiki-based programs have the potential to be adopted by inner city schools.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

NEW YORK, NY. On July 10th, 2009, Dr. Kathy Kremins, Tim Rymer and Mackey Pendergast presented the Mendham High School pilot program (described in the Schools section of Programs) at the 2009 IB Conference of the Americas in Quebec. Joanne Singer from The JW Foundation attended the conference, set up a booth, and donated copies of The Art of Learning to interested attendees. Many enthusiastic applications for the book have been received as a result of the presentation and schools nationwide are instituting faculty book study programs geared to introducing The Art of Learning into classroom curricula and transforming teaching strategies to maximize student insight into the learning process. These IB educators are perceiving the overlap between the IB mission and that of The JW Foundation and using the information it has provided to optimize the desire and ability of students to absorb knowledge and perform consistently.

Flagler Palm Coast High School IB Program

PALM COAST, FL. Diane Tomko added another International Baccalaureate program to our list of collaborations at the Flagler Palm Coast High School. She shared the book with her 36 senior Theory of Knowledge students; offered a book study program for parents, held a literary lunch with freshman students in her Inquiry Skills class, during which they discussed sections of The Art of Learning; and used the book in a Socratic Seminar with her multi-age Gifted Studies class.

Says Diane: “Sharing and collaborating within the educational field directly affects student learning. I want to try harder to make my students thirst! Anything is possible in the classroom. To help someone cross the bridge from a haze of confusion into the clear light of knowing—seeing that in the faces of students—is breathtaking. Educators have an incredible challenge and an equally daunting ability to encourage dreams. We touch the future. We know that not all our students will come willingly on this educational journey. Therefore, we must be vigilant agents of change. We must develop a classroom environment in which all students are motivated to invest in the learning opportunities encountered; where they feel safe and secure in sharing voices; where acceptance and tolerance are advocated. We know that it is not enough to teach the content; we need to teach students how to interact with us and with each other….We know that our classroom will evolve, will change, as we collaborate with our students on this journey of discovery.”

Agoura High School IB Program

AGOURA HILLS, CA. Andrew Staiano is using The Art of Learning as a teaching tool in his Theory of Knowledge class and sharing it with the Agoura High School soccer team. Andrew says: “I would like to use these books with my soccer players in order to help explain the art of the endgame, the concepts of numbers to leave numbers, and entering the soft zone to help them not only become better players but also to make that ‘journey back to childhood’ where the love of the game is first and foremost.”