From the Head of Upper School: Immersive Learning

During Upper School Immersion, I had the pleasure of assisting with the Filmmaking and Photography course. Fourteen students worked together to document Immersion. When we first met, we brainstormed questions to guide our work:

  • *What are the benefits to learning outside the classroom?
  • *In what ways can these activities or learnings or experiences further help our community?
  • *How does passion influence learning?
  • *What can we take from this week back into our classes?
  • *What’s motivating teachers? How is this different from their normal classroom teaching and learning?
  • *One member of our course, Jake M. ‘23, wrote a personal reflection on some of these questions and the benefits of a week of experiential learning. As Jake noted:

“From what I have observed during my time this week, the only motivation many students need is the enjoyment they get from constructing something or helping someone. The satisfaction of finishing a project that you put hours into is enough motivation for many.”

Intrinsic motivation is just one benefit of this week. I am also reveling in the joy, curiosity and initiative I saw awakened in many students. Read Jake’s full reflection on his experience, or see this photo essay curated by Lauren M. ‘24, Ella R. ‘24, and Abby M. ‘24 to get a better sense of what happened during the week.

I particularly loved seeing the performances and reports shared in Thursday’s concluding assembly. (See a glimpse.) There was incredible talent and evidence of lots of good work completed. What most moved me, though, was seeing students stretch out of their comfort zones and usual personas.  Students performed on stage whom I’ve never seen performing or even speaking in front of the upper school. They took their work, not themselves, seriously. What a gift to themselves, their peers, and their teachers – the whole upper school community.

I am grateful to all those who supported this week of learning and growth for the upper school community and am proud of all the students who fully “immersed” themselves and grew as a result.

All the best,
Laura Twichell

(Rock Climbing photo by Ben B. ’23)