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Leaving to Learn: How Out-of-School Learning Increases Student Engagement and Reduces Dropout Rates

Leaving to Learn: How Out-of-School Learning Increases Student Engagement and Reduces Dropout Rates


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"We have a bold strategy for revitalizing schools and for graduating and preparing young people for success in their future learning and work. This "leaving to learn" strategy is driven by our image of that future. Our goal is not merely to graduate every student but to prepare graduates who are uncommonly ready for success in their workplaces and their communities."
-Elliot Washor and Charles Mojkowski

It's an alarming fact: in the U.S., one student drops out of school every 12 seconds. Elliot Washor and Charles Mojkowski, both of Big Picture Learning, have a proven, innovative solution for stemming the flow of drop-outs and breaking the cycle of disengagement that leads up to it. It's called leaving to learn. Leaving to Learn helps us deeply understand the real reasons kids drop out and the essential conditions for productive learning that today's adolescents require. The authors then make a compelling argument: in order to retain students through to graduation, schools must offer experiences where students do some of their learning outside of school.

With common sense "rules of the road," the authors offer nuts and bolts guidelines for implementing a high-quality Leaving to Learn program, including:

  • examples of the many forms of out-of-school learning: internships, travel, community service, independent projects, and more
  • seamlessly integrating students' outside learning with in-school curriculum
  • assigning academic credit for out-of-school accomplishments.

Isn't it time to try more innovative ways to address the challenges of our nation's dropout rate? We can keep kids in school and prepare them for life after graduation by delivering authentic learning experiences that matter to them. The first step is taking down the barriers between school and the outside world. The first step is letting them leave, to learn.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780325046044
Publisher: Heinemann
Publication date: 03/07/2013
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 184
Sales rank: 1,196,885
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Elliot Washor co-founded and co-directs Big Picture Learning. Involved in school reform for more than 35 years as a teacher, principal, writer and speaker, Elliot has worked all over the world designing and developing innovative schools that provide engaging learning environments. Elliot's interests lie in how schools connect with communities to credit learning that occurs both in and outside of school. The George Lucas Foundation has selected Elliot as one of The Daring Dozen - The Twelve Most Daring Educators.

Charles Mojkowski has worked as a consultant to education and business organizations for over 30 years. He works primarily in the areas of school, program, and curriculum design; leadership and organizational development; and innovative applications of technology in these areas. He has authored numerous articles on unconventional designs for schools and schooling. Charles is a former English teacher, elementary school assistant principal, and administrator in the Rhode Island Department of Education. He was also an Associate Professor in the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership at Johnson & Wales University.

Table of Contents

Foreword Sir Ken Robinson xi

Preface xv

Acknowledgments xxi

Introduction xxiii

Understanding Disengagement 1

1 Why Young People Disengage from School: It's Deeper Than You Think 3

The Big Four 5

The Deeper Four 11

2 High Hopes: Students' Expectations 22

Relationships 24

Relevance 25

Authenticity 27

Application 29

Choice 30

Challenge 31

Play 32

Practice 34

Time 35

Timing 36

Reasonable Questions All 37

3 Leaning Toward Leaving: How Young People Disengage from Their Schools 39

"You've Changed" 41

Where Did the Love Go? 43

Ifs Time to Say Goodbye" 46

Rethinking the Relationship 48

Engaging Students in Productive Learning 51

4 What Constitutes Success? 53

5 What Is Important to Learn to Achieve Success? 57

An Uncommon Core 57

No Head for Creativity 59

All and Nothing 61

Handmade Standards 63

Approaching Standards 65

6 How Should Schools Help Students Learn Productively? 70

Learning in the Funnel 71

Productive Projects 75

How Do We Know What's Been Learned? 79

New Wine in New Bottles 81

Leaving to Learn 85

7 Ways to Leave for Learning 87

Leaving-to-Learn Opportunities 89

Come-Back Programs 105

8 Supporting Leaving to Learn 108

The Basic Tools 108

Beyond the Basic Tools 110

Creating Alternative Learning Environments 114

Students' Expectations: The New Imperatives 117

9 What Have We Learned? 119

So What? 123

Who Can Help? 126

10 What in the World Are We Coming To? 128

Act on "The Deeper Four" by Addressing Students' Expectations 128

Focus on Productive Learning 129

Adopt New Imperatives 129

Conduct Research and Development 131

Take on New Challenges 131

Establish New Relationships 133

Find New Ways of Innovating 134

Works Cited 139

About the Authors 151

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