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Beth Glenn’s Learning Story

My transformative learning experience took place in an accelerated high school where juniors and seniors were exposed to college-level work and scheduling in a boarding school environment. There were no class rankings, so my 250 classmates and I were free to explore our interests in challenging courses we might otherwise have avoided. And we were freed from competition with one another. Since the stakes were low, we could aim as high as we liked. There were tutorial sessions four nights per week, with professors and classmates available to help. The work was so challenging that seeking tutoring was seen as the expected norm, rather than stigmatized. We were also socialized to believe we should help one another in formal and informal settings. We were each paired with an adviser who helped us manage our schedules, course requirements and after-school goals. And we were given time away from formal classwork to pursue an interdisciplinary project designed on our personal interests. Seniors exhibited their work in a week when classes were suspended. We were also expected to engage in service as a graduation requirement and to balance our studies with social engagements. The residential staff helped us balance our various commitments and develop

Scott Thompson’s Learning Story

When I was a senior in high school, I experienced an intellectual awakening that prepared me for college and lifelong learning as nothing else had. During my junior year I applied and was accepted into a project-based learning program that was available to seniors. There were various projects and courses within this program, but one in particular revolutionized my mind. Part of what made this experience unique was a combination of scope and intensity. We were given a daunting assignment over the December holiday: to read The Ascent of Man by Jacob Bronowski and Civilization by Kenneth Clark. When school resumed after the holiday break, I had the richest learning experience of my life. Bronowski’s book charts the development of humanity from prehistoric times into the 20th century. He views the developments through various scientific and anthropologic lenses. Clark’s book explores the question, “What is civilization?” and he uses the lenses of art and culture to help the reader see more deeply into this territory. Each book contains 13 chapters, and a BBC video series was produced for each book, with a one-hour episode for each chapter. In less than two weeks, my classmates and I viewed all 26 hours

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