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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.

Jackson Elementary

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.”