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EL Education (fka Expeditionary Learning) - What is EL Education?

EL Education is a proven model for comprehensive school reform for elementary, middle and high schools that challenges students to meet rigorous academic and character standards.  It extends the experience of Outward Bound, an adventure and service-based education program founded by educator, Kurt Hahn, into public schools.  In our schools students learn to take responsibility to achieve their personal best.
  
At the heart of EL Education is the learning expedition.  Learning expeditions are purposeful, extensive studies of a single topic.  They revolve around challenging projects, fieldwork, adventure and service, and culminate in exhibits, performances, or publications.  Teachers design their own learning expeditions that align with district and state standards.  Harnessing the power of adventure and discovery, expeditions lead students to become motivated in their academic work and develop perseverance and self-discipline.  These investigations inspire and compel students to learn reading, writing, mathematics, and other skills and content they need to produce high quality, original work. They help students excel on the standardized tests by which student and school performance are regularly measured. 

At Grass Valley Charter School adults guide students in their learning adventures with care, compassion, and respect for their diverse learning styles, backgrounds and needs. The Design Principles listed below express the philosophy of education and core values of EL EducationClick here for a glossary of EL Education terms.

1.THE PRIMACY OF SELF-DISCOVERY
Learning happens best with emotion, challenge and the requisite support. People discover their abilities, values, passions, and responsibilities in situations that offer adventure and the unexpected. In EL Education schools, students undertake tasks that require perseverance, fitness,craftsmanship, imagination, self-discipline, and significant achievement. A teacher’s primary task is to help students overcome their fears and discover they can do more than they think they can.

2. THE HAVING OF WONDERFUL IDEAS
Teaching in EL Education schools fosters curiosity about the world by creating learning situations that provide something important to think about, time to experiment, and time to make sense of what is observed.

3. THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR LEARNING
Learning is both a personal process of discovery and a social activity. Everyone learns both individually and as part of a group. Every aspect of an EL Education school encourages both children and adults to become increasingly responsible for directing their own personal and collective learning.

4. EMPATHY AND CARING
Learning is fostered best in communities where students’ and teachers’ ideas are respected and where there is mutual trust. Learning groups are small in EL Education schools, with a caring adult looking after the progress and acting as an advocate for each child. Older students mentor younger ones, and students feel physically and emotionally safe.

5. SUCCESS AND FAILURE
All students need to be successful if they are to build the confidence and capacity to take risks and meet
increasinglydifficult challenges. But it is also important for students to learn from their failures, to persevere when things are hard,and to learn to turn disabilities into opportunities.

6. COLLABORATION AND COMPETITION
Individual development and group development are integratedso that the value of friendship, trust, and group action is clear. Students are encouraged to compete, not against each other, but with their own personal best and with rigorous standards of excellence.

7. DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
Both diversity and inclusion increase the richness of ideas, creative power, problem-solving ability, and respect for others. In EL Education schools, students investigate and value their different histories and talents as well as those of other communities and cultures. Schools and learning groups are heterogeneous.

8. THE NATURAL WORLD
A direct and respectful relationship with the natural world refreshes the human spirit and teaches the important ideas of recurring cycles and cause and effect. Students learn to become stewards of the earth and of future generations.

9. SOLITUDE AND REFLECTION
Students and teachers need time alone to explore their own thoughts, make their own connections, and create their own ideas. They also need to exchange their reflections with other students and with adults.

10. SERVICE AND COMPASSION
We are crew, not passengers. Students and teachers are strengthened by acts of consequential service to others, and one of an EL Education school’s primary functions is to prepare students with the attitudes and skills to learn from and be of service.