I hated being that student. The one who could not sit still and always got in trouble for talking. Over time I learned to be quiet longer and do a better job sitting still. However, I can not help but wonder if there was another way to learn as a child. A way that would have encouraged and utilized my natural curiosity to aid in my education.
Have you ever wondered if we are educating people correctly? Are we teaching life-skills and educational information in a way that benefits them most? The EL model or Expeditionary Learning model helps schools and teachers to ensure that they are reaching students on all levels.
From the moment you walk through the doors of a school that uses EL, you will notice the difference. “EL classrooms are alive with discovery, inquiry, critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration.” This means that students are speaking up more and thinking independently more often. 1
Diane Woodworth, superintendent of Goshen schools, says
“Chamberlain Elementary is experiencing many, many positive dynamics from their involvement with EL Education. It is most surely transforming the culture and learning experiences of the school.”
EL is not merely about the way a teacher communicates to his or her students. It is an all-inclusive approach to changing the culture of schools. Education begins with the teachers and leaders so the EL approach seeks to support these leaders. The learning itself also receives a boost through this method, with curriculum being improved by using real-world experiences and case studies. Hands on projects, service learning and communication from community experts also helps to enhance learning through EL. Students are encouraged to be active and engaged learners who use critical thinking and creative ways to solve the problems at hand. With the opportunity to co-create in the classroom the chance for learner retention rises. 2
Expeditionary Learning is just one way that Experiential Education can be used for educational improvements. To read more about this approach check out the EL website at http://eleducation.org.