WHO WE ARE
For over 20 years, Big Picture Learning has worked to put students at the center of their own learning. Today, hundreds of BPL network schools in the United States and around the world work together and in their communities to reimagine and reshape education. It is our vision that all students live happy and successful lives of their own design — in their education, careers and civic experiences — supported by learner-centered communities, caring mentors, strong inter-personal relationships and equitable opportunities to achieve their greatest potential.
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED ABOUT TEACHING AND LEARNING?
For us — and for our network schools — there are three key ingredients to effective teaching and learning in a deeper learning environment. Pay attention to the whole student. Relationships with learners are built on finding out about their interests, passions, experiences, challenges, community and family; not just their grade point average and college they wish to attend. We focus on students’ strengths, not their weaknesses. We build upon what they’re good at, what they love doing, in order to inform opportunities where there might be gaps in learning. Finally, we encourage students to “leave to learn”, by embracing the opportunities to flourish that exist in their communities — beyond the school walls, often through internships and mentorships.
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED ABOUT STUDENTS SHARING THEIR LEARNING?
There is something inherently democratic about allowing students to demonstrate their learning in different ways. Whether it’s presentations of learning, exhibitions, student-led conferences, speeches, music-recitals, or the serving of a four course meal, we know that there are many ways beyond standardized assessments that allow students to illustrate what they’ve learned. In Big Picture network schools, public exhibitions are celebrations of learning. They are opportunities to invite the community in, just as the community itself has invited Big Picture Learning students “out”. In this way, we’re creating a continuous loop — the school is as important to the community as the community is to the school.
For more information, please contact Chris Jackson, Chief Communications Officer, Big Picture Learning, at firstname.lastname@example.org.