Guest blogger – Gev. Jirovetz – The power of student-owned learning

I can’t stop thinking about the teaching and learning that is happening at MJDS.  Our kids are amazing! We are trying something new in Exploring the Core (ETC) this year (a 5th-8th grade STEAM course).  The seventh and eighth graders have been challenged to develop a business for an Entrepreneur Fair.  Their business can offer a product or a service and will be sold at the fair in June. All proceeds will be donated to a charity chosen by the students.  

Several weeks ago the seventh and eighth graders met with local business owners and experts to discuss business development.  As I circulated the room, I was struck by the poise and maturity with which the students had these conversations. Students listened as business owners shared their experiences.  In turn, students articulately shared their initial ideas, intently listening to feedback and asking thoughtful questions, deepening their thinking about their own potential business endeavor. 

As I reflected upon this collaboration and the development of ETC, I realized how far we’ve come.  What started a few years ago as a teacher-directed exposure to a topic has evolved. ETC is now a student-owned, self-directed experience challenging students to develop and utilize skills in creativity and innovation, digital-age literacy, effective communication and critical thinking and problem solving.  Providing students with these opportunities and teaching in this way is messy and giving students control of their learning can be overwhelming.  However, the emotional, interpersonal and intellectual growth that I am seeing in our kids is powerful and clearly evident.  

The way we think and “do” teaching and learning at MJDS makes a profound difference in students long-term learning journey.  So often I find myself immersed in these learning moments that give me pause and makes me so proud to work at MJDS.  I’m proud of our willingness to have a growth mindset, to be innovative, to get messy and make mistakes, to take risks, to continue to work extremely hard to support our kids in the best ways possible so that they can be creators, innovators, thinkers, problem solvers and communicators in an ever-changing, complex world. Please make sure to join us in June for our Entrepreneur Fair to witness the hard work of these impressive young people.

3 thoughts on “Guest blogger – Gev. Jirovetz – The power of student-owned learning

  1. I loved reading this. I am just beyond grateful our kids get to experience this deep kind of learning. I pray this kind of learning becomes more widespread in Wisconsin and beyond.

  2. Thank you for this thought provoking blog! MJDS students have been provided the opportunity to bloom like a beautiful spring flower.

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