A few days ago, Bob Neiman from the Harvard Business School Club came to interview Total Learning teachers, paraprofessionals, family workers, students and administrators – those involved with Total Learning every day. Even though Bob has been helping us on the administrative side for 7 years, he said he learned a lot! Among the revelations:
- Kindergarten and first grade kids are hard to interview! It was a challenge to keep them focused. Now he can see why K and 1st grade teachers should probably be paid more!
- The students and teachers were able to articulate why they valued Total Learning in very specific ways. Among the surprises was that several older students said that they had been painfully shy, and that through Total Learning they had learned to have a voice. Nice.
- The breadth and depth of Total Learning takes time to understand. One component that Bob had not fully realized was that the students write in their journals each day to synthesize their ideas and reflect on their learning. This begins early, and there are prompts in every studio, at each tier. The teachers and students valued this process, and Bob felt that this was really an essential component to solidify learning.
- The paraprofessionals, now with Total Learning for 5-7 years, add value in unique and concrete ways, and have learned to be facilitators and guides through Total Learning professional development opportunities.
- ‘Learning’ and ‘fun’ were often mentioned in the same sentence. It isn’t an either-or proposition – in fact, the fun may facilitate the learning!
We look forward to hearing what Bob does with the information he collected, and really appreciate his help in the past and going forward!