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Jump to: Learning how to think, now what to think | This is way better

Learning how to think, now what to think

Alana Jensen says she’s seen a big change in her 10-year-old son since enrolling him in an alternative school in Calgary, Alberta nearly three years ago. “When we decided to transfer our son Kaden to the Green Learning Academy, he was feeling dejected and unmotivated,” Jensen says. Today, Kaden “has improved confidence and is moving toward a position of leadership within the school.”

Green Learning Academy uses a student-directed teaching method, which focuses on each student’s individual learning style. In the classroom, students are able to choose how they want to complete each learning objective and are free to work at their own pace.

“We teach children how to think, instead of teaching them what to think,” says principal Jodie Gateman. “If they don’t know how to spell ‘dinosaur,’ for example, then we give them access to all the resources they need to figure it out.”

For Kaden, this has led to an increased level of self-awareness and engagement. “He has friends in all different grades and can communicate well with adults and children,” Jensen says. “He takes ownership for his work and knows what he needs to do to succeed.”

— Hailey Eisen


This is way better

When the lights went out in Robert Teuwen’s science class at Alan Howard Waldorf School, in Toronto, the learning began.

“We did this experiment where we went into a room that was totally dark. We sat there for a long time and felt what it was like when Mr. Teuwen introduced light to the room again,” says Elena, 12. It’s the kind of activity that makes attending the school—which stresses active learning—that much more interesting.

“At my old school we definitely had a lot more sitting around. We had less art, and less theatre and less time outdoors. And in most classes we would use a textbook instead of making our own and doing experiments. We had projects and we would have to do experiments at home but we never did anything in the classroom. This is way better.”

Jacob, 11, agrees. “I like the teachers a lot. I don’t know how to explain it, but they’re not as uptight as some other teachers. It’s a lot easier to talk to them.”

— Heather Greenwood Davis

 
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