Teaching at the Ecotones

In ecology, ecotones are often more diverse and species rich than the individual habitats viewed separately. This makes some intuitive sense. Whether it's biological habitats, music, or food, things get interesting when elements clash, combine, and intermingle. It made me think that the same might be said for teaching. There are at least 3 of ways we might, in education, teach more at the ecotones.

One simple tool every teacher should have in their toolbox

Recently while giving a teacher development workshop I was surprised to learn how many in the audience were unfamiliar with the old standby "think-pair-share." If there is one simple, effective, and easy to implement technique that applies to virtually any educational context, the think-pair-share (TPS) is it. Every teacher should have this in their toolbox. … Continue reading One simple tool every teacher should have in their toolbox

The Experiential Continuum

In my workshops and conversations with teachers and faculty from across the educational spectrum (K-16), I often find a tendency to falsely divide teaching into "experiential" and "traditional" methodology. Often, proponents of experiential education disparage traditional education as ineffective and outdated. On the other side, teachers who are less familiar with experiential methods sometimes pigeon-hole … Continue reading The Experiential Continuum

Saving the World Through Project-Based Learning

What would you say if I told you that a team of four students from a small liberal arts college in Richmond, Indiana came up with an idea (“Magic Bus Ticketing”) that could improve the lives of 10 million people living in poverty all around the world? What if I told you the same group … Continue reading Saving the World Through Project-Based Learning

The Future of Experiential Learning

Last week, I took part in a discussion with an amazing group of practitioners and change agents in the experiential learning world facilitated by Gensler Architects in San Francisco. The group included folks from the Stanford d.school, the Alt School, Singularity University, The Story Center, and the California College for the Arts. We talked about … Continue reading The Future of Experiential Learning

Topophilia and Education for Placefulness

Geographer Alastair Bonnet's recent work Off The Map: Feral places and what they tell us about the world introduced me to a new term: "topophilia." I am familiar with E.O. Wilson's notion of "biophilia"-- that there is an innate relationship between human beings and the "more-than-human-world" but I had not considered the related idea of … Continue reading Topophilia and Education for Placefulness

Living and Learning Adventurously: A Message to Incoming First Years

Every year, I present a message to the incoming first year students at Earlham College who elect to come to college early to participate in August Wilderness-- an outdoor pre-orientation program of three weeks that takes place in Utah (backpacking) and Canada (canoeing). What follows is my message from this year (2015). "On behalf of … Continue reading Living and Learning Adventurously: A Message to Incoming First Years

Experiential Education in the College Context

My new book, Experiential Education in the College Context: What it is, how it works, and why it matters, is currently in press with Routledge and due to come out sometime late this summer. You can check out the marketing copy and table of contents below. EXPERIENTIAL EDUCATION IN THE COLLEGE CONTEXT Experiential Education in … Continue reading Experiential Education in the College Context

I Have Found A New “High Stakes” Test

As the controversy over the increase in standardized testing appears to hit its zenith with parents "opting out", governors pledging to reduce testing time in Minnesota, Florida, and Connecticut , and even noted conservative educational pundit Diane Ravitch piling on, it is worth noting that there is, in fact, a good "high stakes" educational approach out there-- … Continue reading I Have Found A New “High Stakes” Test

Principles of Deep Experiential Education: Interaction (Part 2 of 5)

In the last post, we discussed the importance of Framing in experiential education. For this blog, we'll explore another key principle that often makes the difference between shallow and deep experiential education: Interaction. In Experience and Education, John Dewey spoke of the principle of interaction this way: "The word 'interaction,' ... assigns equal rights to both … Continue reading Principles of Deep Experiential Education: Interaction (Part 2 of 5)