Kaitlin thinks it is unacceptable that despite quality teaching students are falling through the cracks of traditional teaching. Unfortunately, at the start of the program 15% of students at Kaitlin’s school stated that they did not care about school anymore, 21% stated they believe school is not helping them become the person they want to be, and 38% stated that they are usually bored at school. Kaitlin believes in a school where everyone has the right to learn in a way that makes sense for them and sets them up for success in the future, and she set about to make this a reality.
The key to Kaitlin’s initiative was empowering students to follow their passions and ideas through projects of their choice.
Kaitlin, along with the other teachers in her teaching team, introduced an Empower Hour each week, where students could work on a project of their choice. Through a survey she determined what students were most interested in and from this established five groups: coding, cooking, science, sports skills, and researching topics of interest. For one hour each week students worked on their self-selected project, with teachers facilitating learning and highlighting connections between projects and everyday learning. Throughout the project students documented their learning, and when the project was completed they presented what they achieved and learnt, before starting all over again!
Alongside Empower Hour, teachers also built the ideas of empowering students into their everyday classes, increasing student choice.
So far all of the 90 students involved in Empower Hour were positively impacted by being more engaged in and more able to drive their learning.
“The boy I thought about while creating my solution has completely changed at school. Because of the choice he wants to learn. He’s seeing the reason for reading books to find out information. He’s writing pieces of writing that include topics he is interested in and contain more details than previously. He stays focussed for longer because he sees the point.”
Like the idea?
Kaitlin would love your support for Empower Hour, or for you to start a similar program in your school, and she’d love to hear about any ideas you have or lend a hand where she can. Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get in touch with Kaitlin and we can connect you. Feel free to cheer her on in the comments below as well.
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