Inner Voices #5: Emergence

microphone-and-red-curtainAfter a bit of hiatus, I’m bringing back ‘Inner Voices’ to you. This is my chance to share with you what my current and former students reflect on when they think of their time in a project-based classroom where more ownership and authority is given to them. Many of my students are busy this time of year, so I’m just thankful I have one to share now. Today’s student, we’ll call her Tina, is senior this year and entered the Studio program as a sophomore rather than a freshman. Read on to see her story…

“In two years, I went from making a simple internet timeline to a sleek SMARTboard application to an interactive glass table. Students do not get THAT kind of opportunity in the regular classroom”

Every year, average high school students spend over one thousand hours in school either listening to monotonous lectures, staring at lifeless presentations, sleeping during insipid lessons, and/or glaring at the clock, hoping that with enough will and determination, their Darth Vader powers will suddenly work and turn the delicate hands of the clock. Meanwhile, parents, teachers, and other educational staff members repeat themselves like a broken record; they go on and on about providing the best possible education for the students. Luckily for me, I had the privilege of being introduced into Studio, a project-based learning experience.

I am currently a senior in high school and a proud alumni of Studio, the project-based learning program at my school. From the two years I have partaken in this life-changing program, I have not only learned the required AKS (standards) every student is expected to know, but I have been exposed to students with different talents, adults with different experiences, and communities of different viewpoints and perspectives; I have explored different aspects of writing, history, and technology that has allowed me to propel beyond the constraints of the school structure. In two years, I went from making a simple internet timeline to a sleek SMARTboard application to an interactive glass table. Students do not get THAT kind of opportunity in the regular classroom.

To be completely honest, I never thought I could have been able to make an impact on my school, my community, my world. I always wondered how I was ever going to stand out among the millions and millions of people outside my classroom. As I was writing my personal essays for my college applications, I came to the conclusion that I would not be the strong, confident person I am today if it weren’t for Studio. Students who engage in the project-based learning setting are offered the opportunities of the world on a silver platter. All students have to do is be able to dream it up and the project-based learning environment will grant them any reasonable wish requested. It is truly a life-changing experience. Thanks to the Studio experience, I was able to use my skills for college interviews important for my future goals. Thanks to the Studio experience, I am a changed person from the little freshman I was four years ago.

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