Carl Rogers was one of the first to develop the theory of experiential learning. This theory suggests that learning happens during “reflection on doing,” otherwise known as learning through experience. Each year, students at every grade level participate in four postsecondary exposure trips to apply this concept of learning and exploration first-hand. These experiences have proven to be a great way to teach and to learn, which is exactly what Clemente sophomores did this week. Groups of students went to the either University of Chicago, Northwestern University, or participated in team building activities at the Windy City Fieldhouse to put this theory into practice. At Clemente, we believe it is important to provide learning experiences outside the classroom and school itself to prepare students for what is to come once they exit these doors after graduation. When exploring post-secondary options, we believe that real-world, in-person exploration will help students relate to college and other post-secondary tracks in a meaningful way. Along with stepping outside the classroom, these field trips facilitate learning for students with a variety of learning styles.
At Clemente, we believe it is important to provide learning experiences outside the classroom and school itself to prepare students for what is to come once they exit these doors after graduation. When exploring post-secondary options, we believe that real-world, in-person exploration will help students relate to c ollege and other post-secondary tracks in a meaningful way. Along with stepping outside the classroom, these field trips facilitate learning for students with a variety of learning styles.
At the Windy City Fieldhouse, students were divided into teams and competed on their teams completing a variety of tasks that tested their wits, logic, fine motor skills, physical abilities, and their ability to work as a team. Physical Education teacher Mr. Tolene talks about the experience: “Knowing how to be an effective communicator is a critical skill for our kids. The team building we did at the Windy City Fieldhouse was a great exercise on speaking, listening, and collaborating to reach an objective. I am glad we went there and I am looking forward to going back next year. The kids really enjoyed themselves and the activities the staff had planned for them.” The trip to Windy City Fieldhouse was designed to teach students to use interpersonal and other soft skills and to also demonstrate that proper application of these skills is just as important in the college-going process as an academic and extracurricular achievement.
With post-secondary planning and success being such a large focus here at Clemente, it is important that students not only learn how to effectively communicate and work with others but also, to have opportunities to visualize themselves in post-secondary institutions. The other half of the sophomore class traveled to Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. It was on those campuses that students were able to see the competitive nature of the application processes. By exposing them to the freedoms and opportunities that lay before them when they get to a college of their choosing, we are hoping to help them see first hand just how much work and persistence it will require.
For some of our students, they will be the first in their families to go to a university to pursue a degree. The faculty genuinely works hard to ensure all students get the proper post-secondary exposure to make informed decisions and comprehensive plans for their futures. In conjunction with this exposure, we implement learning and training in the classroom that will help prepare students for every aspect of post-secondary planning. For instance, students practiced vigorously for months to prepare for the PSAT test this Spring. Students’ academic achievements and test scores largely influence the opportunities and choices that are available to them as they approach the senior year and will be applying to college.
As tenth grade comes to an end, it is important that our sophomores are recognizing the weight that their academic accomplishments have on their future. With only one year left before applying to college, it is pertinent that our sophomores are buckling down and finishing this year strong to achieve their post-secondary goals.