Curiosity and the Habits of Life-Long Learning
(Year 5, Week 24)
“What would you learn if you were driven by curiosity?”
At Heroes Academy and Acton Academies across the globe, we make promises to families to create the environment in which each child that enters our doors will:
● Embark on a journey of adventure, challenge, and transformation — a Hero’s Journey
● Learn to be a curious, independent, lifelong learner
● Develop a deep respect for economic, political and religious freedoms
● Discover his or her most precious gifts and learn to use them to serve others
● Cherish the arts, wonders of the world, and the pursuit of truth
This session, after much discussion and feedback from the heroes, the heroes and guides have felt that an experiment that offers more meaningful work, driven by curiosity and measured by daily habits of life long learning, would help us be more more in harmony with our promises.
What this looks like is removing some of the extrinsic motivators that motivate progress in the studio (points, freedom levels and hero bucks), and instead, shifting to tracking the habits of life long learning. The simple habits tracked each day to start are:
- Setting and reaching goals
- Being intentional with time
- Documenting your work in a daily journal
This shift has unlocked the opportunity for learners to take far more control over what they are learning, while ensuring intentional progress on their journey. This means more opportunities to explore passions, more robust learning in core skills, and more hands on projects. Here’s a few images of work being done this week:
It’s been wonderful seeing what curiosity driven learning the heroes have explored. A few things that have been explored this week:
- Learning to code
- Floor plan designs
- Hands on math learning for basic operations
- Logic games and puzzles
- Lots of reading (including an encyclopedia!)
- Rubix Cube
- Jewelry making
- Microscope observations
- Lots of art
- Learning games, like Chess and Spot it!
- Stop Motion Films
- Take off (A geography game)
- Creative Stories
- Prodigy Math
Instead of having minimums points for reading, writing, and math, the learners are developing the daily and weekly habits to make meaningful progress on their own individual hero’s journey. Each of them have decided individually that math, reading, and writing are important skills, so the studio is working towards the goal setting systems that ensure learners are setting challenging goals in each area (and others), and reaching them (reaching them being a critical component of the new environment).
Resoundingly the heroes are excited about the changes, several emphasizing how much less “stress” they have over their learning, and how much more excitement they have around exploring areas of interest that have previously only been available in the highest of freedom levels.
This week also kicked off this session’s E-ship quest that culminates in the Children’s Business Fair.
This week the heroes were challenged to create Business names, logos, and prototypes for feedback on Friday.
Some of the business ideas include:
- Balloon making
- Dog treats
- Dog food
- Walking sticks and dream catchers
- Wood products
On Friday, the heroes circled up to share their business ideas and prototypes. Each business received warm and cool feedback from their peers.
This is a high energy quest beloved by the heroes. Some have shared they’ve been working on them since last year’s fair ended!
As part of this session’s experiment, the hero’s are documenting the learning they are doing each day. This is both an important record for them, but also a way to set and track goals, and keep their promise to “provide evidence of learning along the way” to parents.
An observer would note that the journals float around with the learners and learners can frequently be found updating their journals. Overall the heroes suggest they have really enjoyed the journal keeping this week.
This week, overall engagement went up, love of learning skyrocketed, and the learners have been set even more free to find a calling that will change the world. While the experiment is still relatively knew, it’s unquestionable that some, or all, of the changes are here to stay. Resoundingly, the heroes feel they are more trusted, learning significantly more, and doing more meaningful work. What we may have accidentally uncovered is the next chapter of learning that will truly inspire the next generation of heroes, on a mission to finding a calling that will change the world.