As our term recently came to a close in Japan, I was reminded of the very first days of this academic year, way back when in Botswana. 40-something individuals from all over the world, meeting each other for the first time, living in tents, surrounded by wild animals. Nothing could go wrong!
It did….. many a time. And we learned from it.
Then we traveled to India. Among the ceaseless throngs of tuk-tuks, cars, random street cows, and what seemed like a never-ending stream of people, we tried to find our own peace and strengthen our community even further, building upon and learning from our failures and successes in Botswana.
In Japan those efforts paid off, and I realized it’s because of those mistakes we made early on that we grew into the cohort of students and educators that we are today: a group that can rely on each other, a group that builds each other up, a group that calls each other out when that is needed, and a group that listens to and learns from feedback.
This term in Japan also proved that when given agency, students take on responsibility for their own learning. They take charge and devise their own paths to acquiring the skills and knowledge that they themselves are passionate about. They create projects, for example, that explore ethical and philosophical theories through Game of Thrones; they create claymation clips to learn about health and endocrine systems; they practice their drawing skills to learn about Japanese tattoo art; they create their own language curriculum and teach a new language to their peers; they take on the charge of the school newsletter to learn journalistic writing, editorial skills, and the English language itself.
As we prepare for the final term of our 2017-18 school year, I hope you enjoy these highlights from our time in Japan, including a look at our three main project-based learning modules: conscious consumerism in Japan, the Nuclear Debate, and the effects of marketing and advertising on Japan’s population.
Changemaker Cohort Principal