“The focus on Acton is on skill-building, not meeting academic standards.” -Jeff Sandefer
The first year or two for a learner at The Village School involve a Hero learning how to learn. This starts with learning how to do something as simple as staying focused for 10 minutes on a task, or setting smart goals consistently, or learning how to navigate the systems in an Acton studio. If they learn these skills, then they can learn anything they set their mind to.
As a community in our second year, I can say this is where most of our learners still fall- they are still learning how to learn. It’s important not to miss this part. This is the foundation that will allow them to thrive in the new world we now live in.
These are the things our heroes are learning in their first two years:
- Developing a growth mindset/ Hero Mindset (vs Victim mindset)
- Learning how to respond to failure/mistakes
- Learning to take responsibility for their choices
- Learning to give and receive feedback from peers
- Learning how to hold their peers accountable
- Learning how to participating in discussions productively
- Learning to work well with peers on group learning activities
- Learning to regulate emotions
- Learning to advocate for themselves and others
- Learning to set goals for a day, then a week, then a session
- Learning to organize their belongings and their work
- Learning to track their work accurately
- Learning which systems to use when
- Learning to operate a laptop
- Learning to navigate their learning without direct instruction from a teacher
These are the skills of a life-long learner. They don’t develop overnight- nothing important really does.