Is Experiential Learning Good For Your Teen's Brain?

Posted by Templeton Academy

parents and education, experiential learning

 Families who are considering Templeton Academy as a choice for private school education are interested in our experiential learning program. We have a unique “city as our classroom” approach to encouraging students to explore the resources in the community. Washington DC is an ideal metro area for this because of its richness in cultural and historical resources. Our classes are seminar-based,and students have responsibility for actively participating in discussions, problem-solving, and team projects. 

Through our commitment to "learning by doing" the teens become independent learners who can make decisions about their future beyond high school.

Why is this important?

As educators, we need to understand how the social and emotional changes that occur in adolescents affect the learning experience. We know that neurological changes are directly related to how teens learn, and we see that they want much more autonomy over their learning. Developmental changes in cognitive functioning can make the learning process very challenging for teens. The transition from concrete to abstract thinking can be unnerving for an adolescent who is used to a world visible in black and white. Their newly developed reasoning skills lead adolescents to want to exert more control over decision-making. Parents can be frustrated when they have to deal with unreasonable decisions.

What is the experiential learning connection?

At Templeton Academy we have learned that experiential learning strategies provide the positive support and opportunities for teens to accomplish the tasks associated with cognitive changes. Learning by doing or through experience with guidance from a teacher gives adolescents the ability to make mistakes in a structured environment. The skill of impulse control is one that also must be honed and can be supported by both experiential learning and group assignments. Actively engaging in the learning process and working with peers promotes the ability to manage impulses and behave as a member of a team.

Does it work?

“Our history teacher picks a leader for the day, who takes us to the metro, then to the museum, where the student leader finds the exhibit. The teacher doesn’t step in to guide or take over unless we get really lost. We all have to take a turn with being a leader – it pushes us outside our comfort zones. Because of these trips I actually enjoy learning. We tie the past back to current events.” Templeton Academy History Student


Free Download:  The Learning Brain: How We Know What We Know

About Templeton Academy

Temp Keller
Templeton Academy is an experiential micro school with locations on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. and in Nashville, TN. It offers an academically rigorous curriculum designed to foster intellectual curiosity through active learning and community exploration. The small class sizes ensure that each student has a front row seat in classes with an average size of 10. Our model combines a warm, inviting atmosphere with great teaching that allows our students to flourish. Schedule a visit soon.

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