Thursday, December 13, 2007

Walking in an Inspired School Wonderland

What might school look like if walking down the halls were more like "walking in a winter wonderland?"

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening,
in the lane, snow is glistening
A beautiful sight,
we're happy tonight,
walking in a winter wonderland.

In an Inspired School, students experience learning through all of their senses. They hear things, see things, feel things, smell things, taste things. This is important because everyone learns and displays his or her knowledge in different ways. When schools only teach to verbal/linguistic or visual learners they risk losing students who learn better in a different format.

Gone away is the bluebird,
here to stay is a new bird
He sings a love song,
as we go along,
walking in a winter wonderland.

In an Inspired School students learn to connect what they are learning to the world around them. They know how math concepts can be applied in their community, how science can teach them about the local flora and fauna of the area, or how music can be a form both of personal and cultural expression. If students are taught concepts only in a textbook context, they are less likely to keep interested or see the relevance of the material in their own lives – and often won’t retain this knowledge for future use.

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown
He'll say: Are you married?
we'll say: No man,
But you can do the job
when you're in town.

In an Inspired School students are encouraged and expected to use their imaginations. Schools should be places that foster creative thought and prepare our young people to be the innovative thinkers of tomorrow. Imaginative play is where those skills are born.

Later on, we'll conspire,
as we dream by the fire
To face unafraid,
the plans that we've made,
walking in a winter wonderland.

In an Inspired School students are trusted to make decisions and to take some ownership over their learning experience. Our world is not going to get less complicated as time goes on and we are likely to face many problems that can only be solved by creative and independent thought. If we do not foster the skills of higher-level thinking and decision-making in our young people, we risk bringing up future generations who won’t have the ability to think outside the box when it comes to tackling major challenges.

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