Teaching & Learning
Students are hungry for relevant learning that will best position them for success in the future; however, recent trends in adolescent behavior make clear that close attention to the physical and emotional health and well-being of children is of paramount importance in schools. This means we must prioritize educating students in how to care for themselves, and provide support systems that facilitate their growth in these areas.
As MFS leans into our twin pillars of academic excellence and spiritual/ethical growth, we want to continue to nurture the whole child and encourage students to maintain a sense of balance. We also know that the most meaningful and academically rich learning happens when it is authentically connected to the real world. Children should experience learning in a hands-on way, pursuing questions of inquiry that give them a sense of purpose and connection to their communities. Teachers play an important role in effectively providing deep, experiential learning that emphasizes student voice. Through each of the four strategic priority areas, MFS will examine its approaches to teaching and learning and explore ways to provide immersive learning experiences that allow students to demonstrate their growth, personal development, and mastery in practical and visible ways.
- How might we reconsider time and schedule in service of deep student learning and community well-being?
- How might we prioritize faculty collaboration time in a way that elevates immersive, interdisciplinary teaching and learning?
- How can academic rigor and student well-being be seen as mutually beneficial and equally important?
Students will explore their passions in a way that allows them to apply content and skills to real-world contexts and communities. Student learning, both in and out of the classroom, will prioritize deep inquiry, without compromising foundational aspects of health and well-being that are the foundation for continued growth and peak performance throughout one’s life.
Honor health and well-being as central to our definition of student success.
- Review and strengthen academic and social-emotional supports for students
- Build a daily schedule that balances educational program and student well-being
- Host guest speakers and experts on wellness and social-emotional learning
Broadly integrate approaches to curriculum, instruction, and assessment that best promote student growth and learning.
- Invest in professional development for teachers on strategic initiatives and authentic, inquiry-based approaches to teaching
- Implement a new professional growth and evaluation program for teachers
Teaching & Learning Snapshot
The Grades 2-4 Spring Concert – Fourth Graders Take Ownership of an Entire Performance
The Lower School Grades 2-4 Spring Concert last May provided an example of new thinking surrounding a keystone arts event that encouraged some fourth graders to take leadership positions beyond the stage. Lower School Music Teacher Tiffany Jones was struck with the idea to have students perform many of the important support roles for the concert that in the past were filled by teachers, staff, or volunteer parents. This exemplifies experiential hands-on learning that aligns with the Strategic Plan goal for more real-world experiences for students.
“We had students in support roles for the concert working as technicians for sound and lighting, production assistants, and stage crew. The students blossomed in these roles.” – Lower School Music Teacher Tiffany Jones
Inaya Chhipa ’30 was the sound technician. “My responsibility at the Spring Concert was basically a music coordinator,” she said. “It was tricky to play the music at the right time and Ms. Jones was really helpful. There are a lot of things that go on behind the scenes and it all came together to make a great concert!”
Tiffany was eager for the students to take ownership of their show while also gaining a great deal of practical knowledge. “I hoped to provide students with a real-life sexperience,” she said. “I work on stages in Philadelphia and I see these roles and they are careers. I wanted the students to understand that it’s not always about the people on stage. It takes everyone to make a successful show.”
Trevor Lindner ’30 served in the role of lighting technician, and he was perched high atop the performance and rehearsals in the lighting/sound booth.
“I was responsible for lighting the stage, making sure the lights aren’t too bright or not bright enough,” he said. “What I liked most about being the lighting coordinator was being able to shine my light on people… and I also had a very good view.”
Concluded Tiffany: “I was so proud of the performers, the stage managers…each person took ownership of their roles and made the show a success. I could not be happier!”