Lillian Hsu, Founding Principal of Latitude High School speaks the benefits of a teacher designed or student designed project and the value of a project that integrates elements of both.
[MUSIC PLAYING] Whether projects should be more teacher design and scaffolded or should be more kind of based on student interests and passions, right? I think that’s something I wrestle with. Our current school is in many ways inspired and informed both by High Tech High and by big picture learning and we’re in the very first year of our school.
And so that’s something we grapple with in earnest. We’re living that tension right now. And I think that I see the power and beauty of projects that mobilize students around a shared sense of purpose and where students cultivate a sense of community and also calibrate along kind of different markers of quality, right?
And that’s the power of projects that are more teacher designed and scaffolded with a lot of access points for students but I also see the power projects that are really driven purely by student interest as well. And I think that’s coupled with also opportunities for students just like explore their own paths, right?
And I want both of those things for our kids. I want them to thrive and feel a sense of belonging within a community. And I want them to be able to explore their own passions and to get deep into that work. And I think there’s a limited time in a day and there’s limited sort of bandwidth for your team in terms of what to really give depth and attention to and I think that’s attention tension that I think about.
I think there are a lot of different starting points. I think one is just creating a lot of opportunities for students to bring their own stories into the work that you’re doing, right? And I think that can take so many forms. It can be as ambitious and big as like a really long extended writing project or multimedia project.
But can also be as small as like daily journaling, right? So I think just in terms of what the teacher chooses to spend their time on, if there’s like regular time built in to honor student expression, I think that’s just like one small step that any teacher can take on.