The Buzz

Enjoy a window into the Proctor community provided through news stories, blog posts, video, assembly podcasts, and images of day-to-day life on and off-campus.

Academic Lens: Active Learning Wins!

A parent mentioned us (@proctoracademy) in a tweet last week: “Lesson From A Tuned-Out Classroom: Talking Isn’t Teaching | Cognoscenti . Active learning wins @proctoracademy!” This parent has witnessed first hand the power of a Proctor education with her son’s growth over the course of his freshman year.

Too often, we use the words teaching and learning synonymously. They are not. The article linked above by Alden S. Blodgett for the Cognoscenti blog by NPR provides a plea for schools to take to heart the fact that just because teachers are teaching, does not mean their students are actually learning.

Reflect on your own education. How were you taught? My high school teachers and nearly all of my college professors lectured. They talked. I was supposed to learn. I suppose I did ‘learn’ some, but now reflect not on how you were taught, but on what you learned? Was there one teacher in your life who stood out because of his or her commitment to your learning? My third grade teacher, Ms. Avery, was this person. I ‘learned’ more from my time with her than the rest of my grade school experience combined. It was not her job to simply ‘teach’ and my job to ‘learn’, but rather she understood her success as a teacher was solely contingent on my learning as a student. 

My role as an educator has become a reflection of Proctor’s commitment to building a clear bridge between learning and teaching. I have been indoctrinated (in a good way) by this institution’s deep commitment to student-centered learning. Prior to coming to Proctor, I did not fully appreciate diverse learning styles, nor did I understand the value of an experiential approach to education. I just thought school was school and assumed I would always teach my students as I had been taught. This has all changed.

Some of the most poignant thoughts shared by an alum about the impact of Proctor's educational model came from this blog post two years ago. Will, now a sophomore at Middlebury College, shared, “The best education is one that fosters both a hunger for knowledge about the world and an intuition about its workings. It is one that encourages critical thinking, creativity, and the ability to problem solve. It creates solution-oriented thinkers.”

Will continues, “So how to construct the environment where the the ideal balance between classroom and experience --and hence the best education -- can be attained? My answer would be this: Limited Structural Construction Necessary. The world about which any student is striving to learn is directly in front of them. Behind them. Around them. The goal, then, of any educational institution -- up to a certain point -- should be to facilitate a student’s interaction with the world and to provide a skeletal framework to guide their initial explorations.The role of teacher --especially at the high school level -- is more that of a facilitator and guide than it is master or instructor. A teacher exists to give context to experience. The focus should be on encouraging an overwhelming sense of curiosity and on unlocking a student’s sense of wonder about the world. Proctor gave me all of this.”

Read Will’s entire blog post here, and learn how you can join the learning community described by Will in the above paragraphs by inquiring with our Admission Office!
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Located in  Andover, NH,  Proctor Academy is a private coeducational day and boarding school for grades 912. Students benefit from a rigorous academic program, experiential off-campus programs, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.
204 Main Street  .  PO Box 500  .  Andover, NH 03216
p. (603) 735-6000   f. (603) 735-6300