I came across a student of the Traveling School on holiday this summer. I had been initially struck by how much she enthused about her education, and was fascinated to hear about this project.
In their own words:
The Traveling School started in the Spring of 2000 with a revolutionary concept generated by a group of high school girls and their teacher, Gennifre Hartman.
“What if,” one asked. “What if there was a school that traveled around the world while we still kept up-to-date with our classes?”
“What if,” asked another. “What if it was all-girls so that we could just hang out and be ourselves?”
“What if,” asked a third. “What if it was for a single-semester so we could go back to school and still be able to go to prom and participate in a regular high school?”
As a teacher, Hartman thought, “What if all of the classes were about the areas where we are traveling to expose the girls to inspiring, authentic learning in a genuine setting?”
They described a school with an educational format that gives students an alternative to traditional education for a single semester during their high school careers. This group of confident, intelligent, inquisitive young women described a program for girls, a program with overseas exploration, a program with strong academics, a program with an emphasis on outdoor skills development, and a program that would offer scholarships.
It chimes nicely with some of the work we’re doing on students talking about – and shaping – their own education. I ran an evening workshop last year for 11-14 year olds, and the suggestions were staggeringly creative: pupils to be assessed on how many questions they asked etc.
More evidence for the case that students respond better to work that is led by their own curiosity and therefore, above all, feels relevant.