Launching Your Students’ Learning: Who are we learning for? (MS HS)

“Why are we learning this?” How many times have you heard this question from students? What was your response? Mine was, “Well, you never know when you will need it,” or, “Well just think, you are now more knowledgeable and less likely to be fooled by someone.” But our students are right to ask: why are we learning this content? Why do we have to wait until some point in the future to apply this information?

Using the Launch Cycle by John Spencer and A.J. Juliani this session will inspire the application of content and skills through a focus on the client to show the purpose of students’ learning now/today(?). This design thinking framework will show the value of bringing clients into the classroom so students can see the relevance of all those learning objectives. Imagine if, Art students applied their knowledge of ceramics to design lamps for teachers to enhance the environment of their classrooms? Imagine if, AP English Language students were told to come up with a “New Thing” that would make the world a better place? And imagine if, Science students engineered models for Elementary students to show them the relationships between the Sun, Earth, and Moon? Imagine if this was possible? It is.

Anyone can design and build a model or put together a project or written assignment, but if that model, project or assignment does not have a user or an authentic audience, it will end up in storage. By applying their learning to a client, students’ mindsets begin to shift from the grade to the user, and before they know it, their creativity starts flowing and their confidence in their ability starts increasing because they see the purpose for and impact of their learning.

About Lisa Fung-Kee-Fung

Hi! Nǐ hǎo! I am the “Funky” Science Teacher from Shanghai American School (SAS). I am also a “Trini” from Trinidad & Tobago in the Caribbean, where I grew up on the beach and tennis court. I am in my 11th year of teaching and my 6th year at SAS, where I am living my dream as an international educator. I am passionate about giving back, making connections, and living an adventurous life! I am also passionate about wellness from our mind to our body to our clothes to our work. I strive to live my passions by helping my students find their “light” so they may shine brightly and lead their own way.

I have been professionally inspired by the work done by John Spencer and A.J. Juliani and transformed by The Green Educator Course at The Green School in Bali. Both these professional developments, as well as experiences at Shanghai American School, have taught me that students learn best when they engage their body, mind, heart, and spirit. Today, we tend to focus on solely the body and mind and forget about the heart and spirit. I believe that in order for students to own their learning, we need to re-engage their hearts and spirits by showing them the impact their learning can have today.

Share This