Imagine Scholar’s progressive curriculum is built around 3 key courses: Think Tank, O.M.M.M Lab, and the Learning Zone. Hear more about how our creative classroom encourages deep learning from one of our students, Yale Young Global Scholar alumni and African Leadership Academy student, Samkelisiwe.
George Bernard Shaw once said, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” At the end of last year we started planning for how we could change the structure of our classes for the new year in order to be more productive in our work. Moreover, these changes allow for a flow between the material learned in what we call the Think Tank, O.M.M.M Lab and Learning Zone.
Think Tank classes are meant to help students develop confidence in their ideas, acquire leadership skills and understand how thinking occurs. From grade 9-11, each grade has a different essential question, which our student body forms as a group to explore for the rest of the year. These essential questions are meant to serve as a guide for students’ growth. When asked about the aim of think tank, Megan (Imagine Scholar facilitator) responded,
“Think tank allows students to find a sense of belonging while also teaching them how to lead by generating ideas and asking questions.”
O.M.M.M. Lab, which stands for Open Minded Meaning Makers, takes the ideas learned in Think Tank and dives deeper using different mediums. In these sessions, students are empowered to take their ideas from abstract to concrete, with the goal of making an impact.
“O.M.M.M. Lab gives students a voice to share their ideas and be able to take charge of the sessions instead of facilitators being the ones who run the classes.”
Says Megan O’Neil, the facilitator for the Communications class that formed the bedrock of O.M.M.M. Lab. The lab helps foster verbal leadership skills and builds students’ confidence in their ability to communicate with their peers or even in front of strangers.
The Learning Zone has gone through many iterations as the Scholars’ learning styles have evolved. The main focus of Learning zone is to for students to learn how to learn, and more importantly to be independent in their learning.
During the week the students focus on Mathematics and Life Sciences with John, a resident academics facilitator, and on the weekends they work on Physical Sciences. In these sessions, the students do braindumps, whereby they write down what they learned during the previous class as a process of retrieval. Then they learn about strategies on how to learn. The last part of class is spent asking questions on a topic that they did not understand and/or working one-on-one with John for extra assistance.
Learning zone uses traditional school curriculum as a pace-setter so that students do not fall behind with their work. Students are also encouraged to gather in small pods to discuss any struggles or goals that they are working towards achieving with their peers. Overall, Learning zone provides academic support according to each individual student’s needs.
Author: Samkelisiwe Chissano