As many parents know all too well, “why?” is a question near and dear to young boys’ hearts. It’s a good question, and a valuable one that, when nurtured, keeps boys excited about learning from kindergarten through adulthood.
At Boys’ Latin School of Maryland, a hands-on approach to education helps boys from kindergarten through 12th grade explore subjects, remaining engaged with their educations, finding the “why” in the most powerful way possible – on their own.
Educational and brain research suggests that hands-on learning results in increased engagement – which has numerous benefits for young boys. “Boys’ Latin understands that boys respond best to experiential, hands-on learning that appeals to the different senses, involving action and movement,” says Headmaster Christopher J. Post. “Our teachers understand that boys need to know why something is important and what significance it has for them. We implement boy-focused learning strategies and resources, including ‘real world’ projects, use of technology resources and ‘brain break’ movement exercises to layer kinesthetic learning with traditional learning. We need both hands-on and book learning to get a deep understanding of details with overall concepts.”
The hands-on approach takes many forms throughout the school, from technology-driven investigative projects in the upper school, where students have developed options to redesign the school’s old cafeteria space, to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) middle school projects involving everything from stop motion video to car engines. In the lower school, students get a glimpse at what it means to be an engineer or scientist through FutureMakers, a project-based science and engineering program.
From the construction of Rube Goldberg Machines and hands-on lessons on the construction and history around World War II gliders, to a slam poetry contest and improv lessons, every day at Boys’ Latin offers new, enlightening experiences.
“Children learn through all the senses and boys like to touch and experience things,” says Abigail Norfleet James, PhD, an educational learning specialist and author of Teaching the Male Brain: How Boys Think, Feel, and Learn in School. “We know that multiple areas of the brain are activated when we combine movement, talking and listening. Research also shows that the more parts of your brain you use, the more likely you are to retain information.”
Boys’ Latin’s approach has resulted in increased retention, experience with problem solving and an environment in which teachers are seen as coaches, not lecturers, says Sarah Woods, Director of Strategic Communication for the school. Plus, students have a blast while they learn.
The success of recent Boys’ Latin grads proves that the school’s approach works. Former Lakers are exploring their passions, becoming leaders in a variety of fields. They include a music student at famed Berklee College of Music, a law student at Harvard, a future engineer at Kenyon College and a Fulbright Scholar studying medical research. Rhodes Scholars and Pulitzer Prize winners share alumni status with firefighters, philanthropists and cartoonists.
Founded over 170 years ago, Boys’ Latin is Maryland’s oldest independent, nonsectarian college prep school for boys. Its 41-acre Roland Park campus includes state of the art classrooms, three libraries, visual and performing arts centers and top of the line athletic facilities.
To learn more about Boys’ Latin’s approach to education, visit the school on December 5th from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. for “Innovation in Action” Visiting Day and visit their website at boyslatinmd.com.
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