Like a farmer who will always be challenged by unpredictable conditions, the novelty of our life as educators lies in the ever-changing nature of the uncontrollable factors in our work -- the personalities, talents, and energy of our students.
The final weeks of each trimester provide visibility into the intermediate outcomes of the daily learning happening in our academic classes, performing arts program, and athletic teams. Through the culmination of the performance of Lost Girl, the Ocean Classroom Symposium, Proctor/Holderness Day, last evening’s Fall Term Art Show and Instrumental, Dance, and Vocal Performances, and the hard work of students during tonight’s Innovation Night, we witnessed our students showcasing the fruits of their labor before the whole community.
As students and faculty streamed from the Brown Dining Commons to the Wilkins Meeting House on Monday evening, so much energy filled the space. Metalwork, woodwork, paintings, textiles, ceramics, digital art, and metal sculptures covered the walls and tables throughout the building. Hundreds of students had work on display, each piece representing an individual learning journey, dozens, sometimes hundreds, of hours of experimentation, failure, and adjustments before a final product was put forth for community viewing.
A similar artistic learning process unfolded on the stage of the Norris Family Theater moments later as the vocal, instrumental, and dance groups performed. We talk often about the role risk-taking plays in the learning process for adolescents, and nowhere is that process more visible than in the performing arts. One culminating show for the term, hundreds of eyes watching the stage, no place to hide, and yet this is where we see the beauty of an authentic learning process with our students - both for those performing and those observing.
The same goal of publicly displaying growth and learning sits at the heart of our annual Innovation Night held to end the fall and spring trimesters. On Tuesday evening, students in Culture and Conflict, Engineering, and Social Entrepreneurship shared a window into the inquiry process by presenting culminating projects in the Farrell Field House. Faculty, staff, parents, and students circulated throughout the lobbies and classrooms as students shared their research, discussed the design thinking process required in their robot design, and presented business plans.
Through both the artistic and academic work on display, we were reminded that the process of learning relies on a shared understanding that every individual is very much a work in progress. We are all at different stages of development, all seeking to become better versions of ourselves, and when our peers rally around us to help us in our journey, we know real learning and real growth are possible. Our students hopefully felt this collective support over the past week.
Thank you to all of our students for allowing us to join alongside them in their learning journey, and to our faculty for helping pull out the best in each of our students.
- Performing Arts