Neuroscience research suggests that a good chuckle activates long-term memory and stimulates students’ sense of wonder. Physics teacher Auriana Johnson recently tested that theory with her students during an activity designed to assess their understanding of circular motion, net force, acceleration, and speed.
The Hun School is at the forefront of an educational movement. Educational leaders understand that rote memorization and content acquisition will no longer serve our students and the world they stand to inherit. Content is ubiquitous and roughly 70% of our students are destined for jobs that don’t yet exist. Yet, few schools have managed to pivot and evolve as deftly as Hun has.
At The Hun School, our courses are taught differently. We have changed what and how we teach. Our teachers focus more intently on skill development and student engagement, than they do conferring information. They do this by mapping skill development throughout the curriculum and across grade levels, prioritizing experiential, interdisciplinary learning, and wherever possible giving student agency over their own learning. Therefore, whether a high school student is taking Arabic, Bioethics, Engineering Design, or Multivariable Calculus, they will examine the principles of that course while developing these seven skills: creativity, cultural competency, collaborative problem solving, critical thinking, ethical decision making, effective communication, and leadership skills.
A Creative and Collaborative Process
In Computer Science and Engineering Department Chair Amy Wright's Programming 1 class, students play a game of musical chairs. Given a task to solve, they write a few lines of code, and then get up and move two chairs to the left. Then they write two more lines of code on that person's screen, then move two more chairs to the left and repeat the process. "The kids learn a lot by seeing how different the code they write is, and how differently each of them approaches a problem," Mrs. Wright said. "Sometimes they say, 'That's a really cool solution! I would have never thought of that.' Computer science is a creative and collaborative process.