The questions that drive our work at Global Learning Models are quite simple: how can we influence student and teacher learning so that every day is inspiring, interactive, skill-building, and unique to each individual? How can we strategically, effectively, and positively transform the experience of learning for more and more students, educators, and City2ClassroomTM communities? How can every child find her place in herself, with others, and in the world? And how do we strategically equip her with the requisite skills, tools, and confidence?
The process of pursuing these questions continually reaffirms our belief in and practice of inquiry and project-based learning: First we teach educators how to (re)learn this way, then to instruct the model, and as the outcomes testify, to reveal the beauty of students flourishing.
This is our leading question in our first professional development sessions with teachers new to the model. This starting point invites reflection, discussion, and appreciation of both purpose and process. It sets a high bar for our performance as educators; we must model and facilitate inquiry, experimentation, collaboration, and demonstrations of excellence. We must re-learn how to learn and devote ourselves to the craft of teaching students who experience the world differently than we do.
Why begin with a question? Why take action? What does growth-oriented feedback look and sound like? How do teachers earn credibility and trust from students? These are but a few questions that guide our professional development programs; we challenge educators to walk the walk, to practice what they preach, to lead by example, to know their content, and most importantly, to observe and know their students so that they may help make the subject matter and context real, while inspiring the development of skills and personality.
Students enjoy learning. This is a fact, not an opinion. Learning feels good—when it fits. We are humbled to report that the cohort of educators this summer devoted themselves to ensuring fit. Teachers humorously, empathetically, and insightfully engaged students. The students swiftly discovered a safe place to ask questions, reflect, laugh, experiment, imagine and plan their futures, develop STEAM skills, read, write, think, interview community members, experience social justice, present publicly, and gather momentum for the upcoming school year.
Pragmatically, Guggenheim supported UrbanX Learning in partnership with Global Learning Models to deliver professional development and high school curriculum for more than 20 educators and 180 students. Programs took place in Chicago (Michele Clark Academic Prep Magnet School and Horizons for Youth) and in Lansing, Michigan, at all three high schools: Eastern, Everett, and J.W. Sexton. All courses provided academic and life preparation and the range of courses included Humanities, STEAM, and Electives: Journalism, Who Am I?, and M.A.G.I.C.
The 2016 Summer Program built upon the 2015 pilot by increasing numbers of educators trained and students enrolled. The quality of programs, as evident in educator feedback and student work, demonstrates greater skill development, personal connection, and the potential for long-term impact.
We intend to continue our work with partner schools throughout the 2016-17 school year. Several educators are already utilizing Global Learning Models curriculum in their classroom and all are implementing elements of the model. In 2017, we intend to dramatically increase the number of schools, educators, and students served in Chicago. Participating organizations are planning to increase student enrollment, implement school-year curriculum, and several additional Chicagoland schools have already requested the opportunity to participate.
With gratitude to our signature program sponsors
and program partner