When we launched our Strategic Vision for the Future last spring in the annual Window magazine, we discussed three essential questions that drove the plan for that Vision:
- What makes Presbyterian School exceptional?
- What will Presbyterian School need to do in the coming years to make absolutely sure that our youngest students entering today will be well-prepared to learn and lead upon their graduation in more than a decade?
- How can Presbyterian School continue to thrive in the midst of constant and disruptive change that seems to characterize our culture and particularly the educational milieu?
We continually refer back to these questions in order to evaluate our program and to ensure that it is not only compelling and relevant in today’s dynamic educational marketplace, but also of the highest caliber for each of our students. We feel strongly that our model of education must be responsive to the changing landscape of our world and that it must make sense to a new generation of learners.
With these goals and outcomes in mind, we will expand an existing and integrated program that develops and extends each student’s ability to identify and solve problems using critical and creative thinking skills. This program literally revolves around three key ideas, challenging students to:
- Think deeply about problems, ideas, projects, and research;
- Make real-world objects and applications that flow out of their thinking; and then . . .
- Talk to members of our community about what they’ve made and how to make it even better.
This Think-Make-Talk paradigm, represented by the circular graphic to the left, is our authentic and research-based approach to the “design thinking,” “makerspace,” and “STEAM” movements sweeping through schools across the country. We are already engaged in this paradigm of learning in many of our grade levels with projects like the fourth grade Texas museum and the eighth grade Physics Festival serving as two stellar examples.
In the final analysis, we need to provide our students with more opportunities to grapple with the sorts of situations that the real world is going to throw at them. With fingertip access to resources that were unimaginable even a decade ago, our teachers and students are in the early years of a new age of learning that must promote the following skills in each student:
- Comfort with self-direction and initiative;
- Awareness of personal connectedness—that our experiences have value not only for ourselves but also for others;
- Awareness of curricular connectedness—that we must confidently link disciplines and tools such as Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics;
- Understanding of the meaning and power of collaboration;
- Ability to navigate and utilize the readily available abundance of information and intellectual resources;
- Engagement in making things that are uniquely and creatively crafted;
- Discernment—the intelligent and intentional combination of analysis and synthesis.
We are eager to see what our Think-Make-Talk approach yields from our community as we continue to promote Confidence in every Child.
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