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Blog: Thursday, January 30th, 2020

Celebrating Student Learning

By Linda Pollastretti

At Rick Hansen Secondary we are proud to showcase the rich and vibrant learning of our students throughout the year.  As a school we have moved through the implementation of a redesigned educational curriculum by embracing an innovative inquiry mindset while asking our staff and students to teach through a pedagogy of project based learning with deep driving essential questions and demonstrations of learning.  Students have become experts in their field of knowledge by answering broad questions, finding resources, and information, and thinking critically and creatively to problem-solve a question. Within each classroom students are encourage to explore topics and themes based on their interests and passions while overlaying teachable moments of content.   The implementation of project-based learning with an interdisciplinary lens and emphasis on collaboration, and real-world relevant learning means Rick Hansen students are leading the way in educational endeavors.  It also means that learning at our school looks and feels different than other schools.  

We now longer encourage students to cram information into their brains and then dump what they know into tests and exams rather we ask students to apply their learning to new scenarios, to active problems, to experiential situations or to creative solutions.  For example, we have partnered with the City of Abbotsford and CityHub to encourage our students to work on real questions posed by the city (for example, eat local or transportation).  Our students then apply their learning from marketing, English, science to big questions while encourage students to go in multiple directions to provide solutions  Those solutions are then presented to City of Abbotsford staff.   Rather than a right answer on a test, students are asked to come up with multiple right answers and in some cases wrong answers which we also encouraged because failure or mistakes are an important part of the learning.  Without failure, we would not have a light bulb.  

Learning looks and feels different at Rick Hansen.  Students are actively engaged in their learning journey and teachers are mentors and guides that support, question, provide feedback, and encourage the heart.  Students are comfortable standing up and presenting to their peers, teachers, and most importantly, adults like community partners, community businesses and outside agencies because it is a regular part of what we do at Hansen. 

On Tuesday, January 28, 2020, Rick Hansen Secondary was proud to celebration the learning journey of our students in our annual Celebration of Learning  Students were asked to stay afterschool (when have you heard students asking for more time at school?) to showcase and most importantly, celebrate their learning - the answers to those deep, rich, big questions.   Throughout the night, parents, community members, trustees, education management, businesses and more came in to see what our student have been up to, to ask questions about what they worked on, and to see the  questions, provocations, and solutions students came up with.   Each student or student group spoke like an expert with passion and interest on their question and their journey towards their response or solution.  Community members engaged in thoughtful questions of process, of impact and of student take-aways.   Learning was clearly evident and students demonstrated a rigorous and rich understanding of a competency (skill) based curriculum. 

Many thanks to the parents, community members, educational professionals, business owners, internship sponsors and more who came out on Tuesday to support our students, to ask questions, and to see what learning truly looks like.  I am proud to say at Rick Hansen, learning looks and feels different.  Learning isn't about a test, or the "right" answer; learning is a process and a journey towards applying what we know. 

Check out our Instagram page @rickhansenss for over 100 images of the night.