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Lafayette Moraga Youth Association – Volleyball

LAFAYETTE, CA – LMYA is a non-profit organization providing year-round athletic programming for school age children. In addition to the traditional athletic experience, the girls’ volleyball program offers a unique combination of sports, staff management skill training, and technology training to their high school aged participants. The full program consists of over 500 athletes playing club recreational volleyball, 80 volunteer parent coaches, 60 fourteen to eighteen year old volleyball club girls who partner with the coaches as paid trainers, and 10 girls who are paid to run the business portion of the organization. The goal of this unique program is to provide teenage girls with an opportunity to learn to be assertive in the workforce, and to develop real life management and technology experience in order to be better prepared for fields in which women are often underrepresented.
Eric Standring, the LMYA volleyball Commissioner, believes that programs such as this one take steps toward addressing the gender inequities so prevalent in the technology industry, as well as provide the participants with an opportunity to make a return on their monetary investment in club volleyball, and deepen the family connections between trainers, players, and their parents who volunteer with the program.
In the early phase of the program, Standring is focusing on building resilience in the young trainers and office staff, as well as in the volunteer parent coaches. As a first step, they will practice Valuing Process Before Results through collaborative goal setting and the development of benchmarks on the path to those goals. Both trainers and coaches will work on cultivating a Soft Zone approach to meeting their goals with an understanding that they may need to change their focus as they progress.
“I’m blessed to have two things come together in my life right now: TAOL and Strata Data Conference Chairman, Roger Magoulas. The chance to hear how ideas on learning resonate between these two camps, is inspiring. Particular to TAOL, having the foundational learning principle off which to dialog provides stability but at the same time, direction.” Standring says.
Ultimately, Standring hopes that incorporating the learning principles into the work of the Trainers and Coaches will deepen their relationships, encourage greater engagement for all participants, and improve the overall experience of everyone involved.

Coral Academy Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS, NV – Coral Academy of Science, Las Vegas is a k-12 public charter school with a focus on STEM education.  Alex Carlone, an 8th and 10th grade English teacher, began the school year with an exploration of The Art of Learning in a prerequisite unit focused on the craft of learning, metacognition, inquiry, and mental schema.
“My goal for employing TAOL ideas in the classroom is to level the playing field for students who have not developed sound learning strategies organically through positive family culture or early formative experiences. I find that there is a considerable gap between our “regular” and “honors” students, a gap I can only explain through the idea of “non-cognitive competencies” and differences in emotional intelligence. In my mind, Waitzkin’s ideas pair well with the initiatives led by the likes of Paul Tough and Alain de Botton, which help students develop performance psychology and humanistic intelligence.”

Carlone’s 10th grade students began the unit by reading The Art of Learning and participating in discussions at the end of each chapter.  They explored concepts such as the Soft Zone, the Downward Spiral, and entity versus incremental learning theories.  Their initial discussions helped Carlone deepen his own understanding of the students’ strengths and needs as well as their personal approaches to learning. He is developing a follow up unit devoted to the motivation and strategy behind personal transformation, in which he will connect The Art of Learning to Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist and tie in ideas related to positive psychology.

Blaine High School – Center for Engineering, Mathematics, and Science

BLAINE, MN – Jon Loo, an English teacher at Blaine High School and varsity hockey and lacrosse coach, developed a grade-wide study of The Art of Learning for the 10th grade English students. With a strong focus on engineering, math, and science, the educators at this school are devoted to developing and implementing a curriculum in grades 9-12 that will challenge students in all curricular areas.

The 10th grade English students read The Art of Learning during their non-fiction literature study following a fiction study of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

“We think that The Art of Learning is an ideal follow up to continue reinforcing the distinctions between classical and romantic, or integral and entity based paradigms,” explained Loo. “The thought processes and learning processes that Josh outlines as his secret to success are in concert with the path to the best engineering, mathematical and scientific accomplishments. The students will love Josh’s real-life story, appreciate his perseverance, and learn from his method.“

After reading the first two chapters of the book, the students began to discuss its relevance to the study of English. “When Josh discusses the ability to learn in multiple disciplines by immersing in one task, I think he’s tapping into the power of metaphor, which of course is the gateway to the study of language. Making connections between disciplines, benefiting on an unconscious level for a deeply singular conscious activity, studying the numbers to leave the numbers, these are the realizations that we discussed hoping to achieve,” Loo explained.

The culminating project in this unit of study was for the students to write and produce video documentaries of fictitious inventors who succeed because they work incrementally in the process of engineering something useful. “The creation of the documentary will give the students some video story telling skills while reinforcing the values and principles great scientists and engineers follow to achieve excellence in their fields.”

You can view the student films “Lighting the Way” and “The Cure for Brain Cancer” here or on our Educator Resources page.

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.”