Monday, February 13, 2012

@John Burroughs School...

I spent my first day of ISACS review at John Burroughs School in St. Louis, and found the school, teaching staff and the students to be wonderful, gracious, welcoming, engaged and all of those qualities one would expect from an ISACS accredited school. John Burroughs is unusual for a college prep academy in that it has kept some focus on what they call "practical arts". In fact, practical arts credits are required for graduation.

How do these "practical arts" serve the student population? Students told me that the classes offer some relief from the heavy focus on academics by offering a "different kind of learning". It offers a chance to reflect on things learned in other classes. Students often don't get enough of the practical arts in class time and schedule additional instruction time. One student told me that she liked focusing on small details knowing that even small details matter and that she liked seeing a project from very start to finish.

What are the "practical arts?" Industrial technology, which includes wood shop and robotics, and also household arts including cooking and sewing, and the kinds of computer arts that support academic learning throughout John Burroughs School.

Make, fix and create...


  1. Here is my question:
    How do the informal and formal work together?
    You wrote that the "arts that support academic learning throughout"
    How do they do this?
    This is my big questions - both in education and my research.


  2. Formal and informal present an interesting question. In the early days of progressive education, formal meant for some a thing different than today. "Formal" meant for some "formative" in that it applied to that which was considered instrumental in forming the life of the child, shaping or forming character and intellect.

    How do the arts support the academic learning throughout? That is a long subject that will take a bit of time to address.