Mead's 'Seven School Skills'
'THINK' - To Reason & Reflect With Intention
We ask children to think more deeply and with a level of consciousness that is unparalleled at other schools.
While many schools teach kids what to think, we teach them how to think. We teach children that every issue has many perspectives and we encourage them to practice taking sides and thinking critically about potential outcomes.
The process of learning to think challenges students to find many different ways to answer the same question or solve the same problem. They develop flexible thinking so they can see opportunity and options, rather than one "right answer."
'IMAGINE' - To Visualize The Possibilities
As Albert Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge for knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand while imagination embraces the entire world." We need imagination to create new ideas and solve complex problems.
At Mead, we continually ask students to push beyond conventional thinking by asking "what if?'. As others worry about declining creativity in America, we see creativity as the cornerstone of our curriculum. We encourage original thinking and nurture creativity in everything we do.
Our students' creative approaches to problem-solving sets them apart from others.
'RECEIVE' - To Perceive With Awareness, Attention & Openness
At Mead, we believe deep understanding begins when students are receptive to new ideas, fresh perspectives and people of different backgrounds. Students are receptive when they are ready to receive new information.
The richest learning happens when students receive new information through all the senses, rather than merely hearing and seeing. When students are receptive to new learning, barriers and judgments fall away. Once students learn to be receptive, they develop the skills to analyze, evaluate and hypothesize.
Students must care about what they are learning or they won't be receptive to the material. At Mead, we help children care about learning, not by using external motivators, but by creating lessons with personal meaning. The result is that students make personal connections with content and are able to achieve deep understanding of the material.
'ACT' - To Respond To Learning In Unique, Creative & Responsible Ways
When we talk about "act" we're talking about all the different ways students can respond in any situation in their lives, from the academic to the interpersonal.
We talk about students' choices, and help them identify different opportunities of acting in any situation. They can think, move, write, speak, sing, question—every possible action verb is included in to "act".
We want students to involve themselves in learning by making plans, moving forward — or sideways, backwards and then forward again — and working toward goals. When students put what they've learned into action, they are able to truly own and value their learning on a deeper level.
'EXPRESS' - To Communicate Clearly & Effectively
Mead believes in encouraging many different types of communication. Although it is critical to master both oral and written communication, we also stress the importance of the expressive arts— theater, music, art, dance and movement.
Students at Mead develop new ways of expression by using all of themselves. This sparks creativity in exciting and unexpected ways.
To encourage clarity of expression, we have an on-going dialog with students in which we continually challenge them by asking things like, "what did you mean by that?" and "is there a different way you could express that?" Their communication skills are honed and they become thoughtful and expressive in a range of different types of communication.
'RESPECT' - To Understand & Honor Oneself & The World
We encourage our students to care deeply about themselves, about learning and the greater communities of school, country, and world. Respect means to "look again," to go back and question to see if you've understood everything about a particular situation.
We want learners to respect others' points of view. This requires a personal and emotional connection with other people's stories. At Mead, we emphasize the concept of "walking in someone else's shoes" so even young learners can understand different perspectives.
We believe that as members of a community, everyone needs to feel respected so they feel safe. Only when a person feels safe can he or she grow to reach his or her highest potential.
'INTUIT' - To Understand On A Deep Level
Intuition is not guessing and it's not an emotional, blind response. Intuition is the fast, unconscious work of the brain as it accesses its deep and broad bank of knowledge, drawing upon elements of prior learning in ways that directed thought cannot.
We ask our students to recognize and tap into the power of personal intuition from the time they are very young. The more they tap into that power, the more it develops so they have faster access to greater knowledge and the opportunity to achieve new insights.
What Our Students Say
The Seven School skills are something we talk about a lot here. Our teachers are always linking the work we are doing back to them - now I am older I can really see how that has helped me to learn in a different way. I think we question things more here, rather than just accepting the way things are, or what we're told. I really like that! Grade 7 Student