Welcome to the Headmaster's Blog where you'll find updates, thoughts, and events regarding Saint David's School, the education of boys, and other items of interest. This is by no means meant to be a complete account of all that happens at Saint David's. Please refer to the school's website for more complete details -- it's more a Headmaster's musings.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Inquiry Based Learning

On Lake Tana, Ethiopia, with three former student council presidents.

Inquiry-based learning abounds at Saint David’s. An active approach to education, it emphasizes investigation, collaborative and individual work, hypothesis generation and testing, and experiential-based problem solving, research, and analysis. This aspect of true learning has always been at the heart of a program rooted in rigorous academic pursuit and it is one very much encapsulated in this past year’s school-wide theme, Critical Analysis.

Examples of inquiry-based learning can be found in all disciplines at Saint David’s: in our new Fifth Grade DNA unit, taught in partnership with the DNALC of Cold Spring Harbor, and in the Sixth Grade’s research and exploration of primary source documents through our partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History; in the Seventh Grade Spanish immersion with the University of Salamanca in Spain; in the new “Critters” STEAM project that seventh graders participate in while on Cape Cod; in our multisensory approach to reading in the Lower School; and in the role-playing of fourth graders as they “travel” the Silk Road.

Throughout our program, Saint David’s boys learn in ways that are engaging and captivating; ways that require them to analyze the world around them critically, and to apply their findings thoughtfully in their lives.

On so many fronts, Saint David’s is deliberately reaching out and connecting with cultural, educational, and research institutions through formal, strategic partnerships that expand the boundary lines of a Saint David’s education.

It is rarely possible to solve problems or overcome challenges without the help and expertise of others—effective critical analysis requires an open mind, collaboration, and a multi-perspective view. The opening of the Saint David’s Kalina School in Ethiopia is a perfect example. It was the result of a critical reflection on the school’s mission, the identification of an important issue, the development of a strategic partnership and then, through dedicated hard work and perseverance, the achievement of the goal.

That’s teaching by example.

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