Real World Learning at Eagle Rock: Nurturing Passions and Shaping Futures
The philosophy behind Real World Learning is simple yet profound: the world outside the classroom is an extension of the learning environment. It is a space for students to explore, apply, and integrate their knowledge. This approach encourages students to make more meaningful connections between their extracurricular pursuits and their classroom learning, allowing them to bridge theory with practice in the “real world”.
Eagle Rock's unique trimester structure sets the stage for Real World Learning's integration. During the summer trimester, five weeks on campus are followed by five weeks off campus, fully dedicated to immersive real-world experiences. This approach not only bolsters the academic journey but also ensures that Real World Learning is a fully credit-bearing component of the curriculum. Students are not only encouraged but expected, to engage with the program seamlessly woven into the fabric of their education.
A Truly Personal Experience
The program's flexibility shines through its diverse offerings. From internships to workshops, from travel experiences to community service, students are given the agency to shape their learning journey. The goal is that every student's experience is tailored to their individual competencies, interests, and aspirations. This personalized approach is intended to support students in identifying sparks of interest that can then be nurtured into lifelong passions. This also empowers students to develop leadership skills rooted in justice and equity.
Some examples of Real World Learning opportunities students have engaged with recently:
College and Career Exploration
Attending workshops based on students' interests
Studying abroad to learn in a new environment
Participating in a Birthright trip
Working or volunteering in their local communities
Outdoor wilderness trips and training
Horseback and backpacking expeditions
The list of what wouldn’t qualify as a Real World Learning opportunity is far shorter than what could count, and students at Eagle Rock are able to explore and find a path that best fits their interests and goals.
Of course, no transformative endeavor comes without its challenges. A significant hurdle lies in redefining the notion of "break" during the summer months. Real World Learning asks students, staff, parents and guardians to make a paradigm shift. The program creates an opportunity for everyone involved to imagine what is possible when learning isn't confined to traditional settings but is woven into life's fabric. This entails reframing all of our perceptions and encouraging us to see the educational value in the students' summer activities.
At the core of this endeavor is the belief in students as experts of their own interests. By shining a light on their expertise and amplifying their voices, Eagle Rock aims to not only attract new students but also showcase the evolving face of the institution to its alumni. The program's success lies in the hands of the students themselves, who act as ambassadors of their own transformative journeys.
As the Eagle Rock community embraces the evolution of Real World Learning, they are carving a path that honors each student's unique journey. By blurring the lines between classroom and reality, education and experience, they are shaping a generation of learners who are not just prepared for the real world but are actively shaping it.