With this blog, we launch a new chapter as we share our varied perspectives on great teaching and the many aspects of learning–both in the traditional classroom and in our new virtual learning environment, for little boys and girls of all ages.– Ann V. Klotz, Head of Laurel School
In school, parents often see the finished product–a nicely revised composition posted on the bulletin board, an award-winning robotics solution, a winning championship game, a report card at the end of the marking period, a daughter celebrating moving up into a new division or crossing the stage at Severance Hall to receive her diploma. Of course, parents also may have witnessed their daughter working diligently on her homework or her college applications or her internship, but the fact is great schools like Laurel continuously pivot between process and product. We celebrate final products with grades, awards and transitions; those end-points mark the conclusion of one chapter and the beginning of the next. This year, of course, those threshold moments may look very different than they have in the past.
With this blog, launching in the midst of an unprecedented chapter in our world’s history, we are thinking hard about how to communicate what it is that we do each day. We invite you to look under the hood, to pull back the curtain and see our thoughts about teaching and learning at Laurel.
Learning, as I have often shared, is messy, and not every girl learns in the same way or at the same rate as others. For some girls, motivation is extrinsic: grades, privileges, aspirations. Other girls are intrinsically motivated by a passion for a topic or a desire to make a difference in the world. We know from the work of Laurel’s Center for Research on Girls that most girls perform better when they believe a teacher has her back–relationship is a cornerstone of all learning! And, one we hope to sustain in our Laurel School@Home framework.
The process of school–the ways in which we build smart and brave and resilient girls and very small boys at Laurel School–is the daily work of our extraordinary faculty and staff. These days, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a different process, but no less extraordinary, as we continue to get used to Laurel School@Home.
No matter how we teach, the process is not unlike a waterwheel; teachers fill buckets with inspiration and skills and content; the wheel turns, and we deliver lessons and guidelines and values and expectations. As buckets empty, we refill them. Each day, teachers invest in the progress and success of their students. Each day, the mission and the values of our school guide our decision making and serve as touchstones as we innovate and persevere. Each day, children learn and take risks and make mistakes and reach toward new goals.
While we all maintain social distance, we can stay connected through our shared care for our students. With this blog, we launch a new chapter as we share our varied perspectives on great teaching and the many aspects of learning–both in the traditional classroom and in our new virtual learning environment, for little boys and girls of all ages. We hope to showcase voices that you may not hear as often as you hear mine. And, as is often the case, these days, in particular, we look forward to learning with you. Feel free to email us at SchoolofThought@LaurelSchool.org if there is a topic you would like to see included. We look forward to your feedback as we continue to share thought leadership, insights and new ways of learning via School of Thought.