Experiential learning opportunities lack in the curriculum

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Photo by Emily Goldstein ’23

At the Island School students were able to study biodiversity in a hands-on approach by scuba diving with various animals.

I sit in the class with my eyes glued to the minute hand of the clock, waiting anxiously for the bell to ring and end class. I look around the room and the rest of my classmates are nodding off sleep desperately trying to stay engaged. It’s not that I’m bored or not enjoying what I’m learning, but I can only stay interested sitting down in a classroom environment for so long. According to a study done by Live Science, about 30% of high schoolers indicate that they are bored due to a lack of interaction with the material and their teachers. If Staples were to offer experiential learning opportunities for students it would allow for more meaningful education and life skills. 

Over the summer, I was fortunate enough to be admitted to study abroad for 6 weeks through a program called The Island School. I studied environmental science with hands-on learning while also meeting students who shared the same passions as me without the distraction of technology. The Island School also offers 100 day semester long opportunities for high schoolers to study marine biology as well as continue with the traditional classes in a completely life changing environment. On a larger scale, there are many other outdoor semester schools as well as study abroad opportunities available to high schoolers. 

Getting kids out of the classroom is not only beneficial for mental health but allows for them to actually remain interested in what they are studying. ”

— Emily Goldstein '23

Many public schools however, including Staples, do not allow for the transferring of credits making this option extremely difficult. If Staples was more lenient with transferring grades, students would gain skills of independence and leadership that just aren’t there in a traditional classroom setting. According to a study by The Institute for International Education of Students (IES), 95% of students who went abroad during high school reported their experience served as a catalyst for increased maturity, 96% reported increased self confidence and 95% said it had a lasting impact on their worldview. 

 

Semester students at the Island School also learned how to live well in a place by studying the aquaponics system of food. This system was an extremely more sustainable farming technique for lettuce and other vegetables. (Photo by Emily Goldstein ’23)

In addition to leniency toward study abroad opportunities, internships for specific classes could be another beneficial addition to increase field study. Various classes could partner with local businesses or organizations in order to increase engagement with the material. Getting kids out of the classroom is not only beneficial for mental health but allows for them to actually remain interested in what they are studying. 

If Staples were to add both study abroad opportunities and more internships students would gain more experience before they are sent off to college and the real world.