Student Voices on Video

Video • May 2010

Watch and listen to Education Evolving’s collection of videos (3-5 minutes long) documenting student-centered learning from the perspective of young people and teachers. Their perspectives help communicate: How do students learn in fundamentally new and different schools with unconventional learning programs? What unconventional learning is taking place in conventional settings? What motivates students to learn? Is student-centered learning and schooling legitimate?

Dominique, senior, W.E.B. Du Bois HS

Dominique presents “Night at the Video Store,” a movie he wrote, filmed, and edited for a multi-media and design course at his chartered school in Milwaukee, WI. He describes how he has learned to “put pieces together in a story and make it an art form” and credits his teacher, Karen Ambrosh, with guiding and challenging him as he hones his filming and editing skills. According to Dominique, knowing he is learning useful skills “helps [him] strive to go to college.” Karen describes how she has seen Dominique grow from a student who was just interested in film into a student who is willing to “think about [his] own work and defend [his] growth.”


More about W.E.B. Du Bois High School and Dominique’s project

Margarita, senior, ALAS High School

Margarita describes the use of a maintenance heritage language bilingual curriculum and how “it is very important because [she] can feel like [she] can express [her]self in [her] own language.” She also shares how allowing the use of Spanish in the classroom has helped her acquire academically sound English language use. Kevin Kuschel, who has heard all the reasons against using a bilingual curriculum, defends its use because students at ALAS are learning academic skills in their own language and then applying them as they learn English. Judging from this experience, students’ English language acquisition is then stronger, as their knowledge of it is beyond “conversational”.


More about Margarita, and ALAS High School

Sophia, 9th Grader, Avalon School

Sophia presents her project—a comic book on the American Revolution. She explains how even though she previously found American History boring, this project “made me realize that the people who changed our country were actually real people, with good ideas.” Pete, her advisor, comments on how the project-based format allowed him to push Sophia, an already excellent writer, to diversify her skills in that area.


More about Avalon and Sophia’s Project

Kane, Recent Graduate, HSRA

Kane, a current intern and October 2006 graduate of High School for the Recording Arts, talks about homelessness in the United States and the need for American citizens to “look inside their own country and realize what’s happening here.” Darryl, his advisor, lets us in on why this project took on such deep personal meaning for Kane. In addition, he explains how, for students who have struggled academically, project-based learning creates a much needed connection “between the work they’re doing [in school] and real life, their life.”


More about High School for the Recording Arts and Kane’s Project

Tally, Senior, Avalon School

Tally discusses her 350-hour senior project in which she planned and designed a no-kill animal shelter, including sustainable land use, balanced finances, and appropriate animal care. She details the diverse range of skill and subject area learning integrated into this truly interdisciplinary project. Geri, her advisor, observed that after finishing this project, “taking on a large project won’t be difficult for [Tally].”


More about Avalon and Tally’s Project

Fatimah, Sophomore, HSRA

Fatimah, a High School for Recording Arts sophomore, explains what she’s learned while working on her ongoing project documenting her family’s struggle with homelessness as well as why she thinks her project has the potential to help others and influence policy. HSRA has played a lead role in helping Fatimah achieve at higher levels than she ever thought possible and thus has kept her motivated to work hard. Keith’s comments reflect his understanding of the state standards that Fatimah must meet while using his position as her advisor to expose her to “the various types of legwork [she] has to do to get the project done and…various resources that are available to get things done.”


More about HSRA and Fatimah’s project

Lee, 9th Grader, Avalon School

Lee presents his project documenting and reflecting on his involvement in a play. He describes how the extensive and in-depth dialogue with Kevin, his advisor, led him to a clearer understanding of his true dramatic interests—the production process rather than the acting. Kevin then comments on how the project pushed Lee to levels of higher order thinking he had previously only observed in 12th grade AP classes.


More about Avalon and Lee’s project