Academics » Experiental Learning

Experiental Learning

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING AT BEACON
 
Beacon students engage, learn by doing, and reflect on their experiences both in the classroom and in the community. Many of Beacon Academy’s core values such as civic engagement, post-secondary and career exploration, cultural awareness, leadership, and interdisciplinary learning are realized through experiential learning. This meaningful work helps students develop their intellectual curiosity and problem solving skills, practicing Maria Montessori’s principle: preparing not just for school, but for life.
COURSES/PROGRAMS
 
Experiential Studies is offered to 11th and 12th grade students seeking a hands-on, project-based learning environment that continues development of research and writing skills. This course provides students the opportunity to identify their individual and collective purpose and participate in an internship and service project in an area of interest. These opportunities provide direct experience to answer an individualized research-based question and further develop their problem solving skills. Additionally students will practice public speaking, networking, and professional engagement skills while studying social and cultural issues present in society and workplaces today.
 
The two-year Experiential Program will kick off during the 2022-23 school year. Year 1 will focus on identifying the students’ purpose and interests through exposure to a wide variety of experiences. Year 2 will provide the students the opportunity to dive deeply into their identified area of interest in a longer term internship, research project, and service project. Social Science work and related Literature will be woven into this interdisciplinary program. By utilizing analysis and reflection, student assessments will further develop the students’ writing and research skills.
 
 
INTERNSHIPS
 
Since its inception, Beacon Academy has encouraged students to participate in internship opportunities as they learn to navigate the complex world around them. During the 2020-21 school year, despite pandemic conditions, 18 Beacon students participated in internship programs in various fields such as non-profit organizations, retail businesses, political campaigns, and skills-based opportunities. 
 
Student Reflections:
 
  • The biggest skill I learned was understanding the value of diversity when tackling problems.
  • This will be incredibly helpful in the future as I want to go into business which is all about solving problems.  
  • I learned how to balance positive and constructive feedback, which I think will be really helpful in the future when I am working on group projects, giving feedback to a peer, or giving feedback to another organization. I also learned how to use Microsoft Teams, which could be helpful with another organization in the future.
  • I will be able to use all of these skills going forward because I am interested in plants and also when I eventually start to work, the business skills I learned will be helpful. 
  • I learned that I am better at creating concise and polite notes and suggestions than I give myself credit for. Their feedback also helped me realize that I need to give myself more credit for my skills.
  • I developed skills with speaking to strangers and people much older than me. I was lacking this before the internship. I learned great communication skills that I will carry with me in all parts of my life. 
  • I’ve learned that I really do enjoy almost everything about politics and see a possible future in the field. 
 
EXPERIENTIAL AND IB
 
IB Diploma students are required to engage in Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) as part of the IB Core. In this work, students complete three experiences and an independent project in which service is a mandatory component. Through their CAS work, students engage with the greater community, develop communication, problem solving, and professional skills that will support their contributions to the community beyond Beacon Academy. Goal setting and reflection are major components in developing CAS Portfolios.
 
EXPERIENTIAL IN THE CLASSROOM
 
All Beacon faculty are trained in experiential learning and weave experiential learning opportunities into their curriculum. Whether experts from the field come to Beacon Academy to share their experiences and knowledge or Beacon students explore the world beyond Beacon’s walls during a day trip or week away, learning first hand about the world around them is woven into the curricula with intentionality.