Design Lab: Open Study Update #4

Not so good news…

Katie and I haven’t heard anything directly from the administrators about our project, but Mr. Heidt told us yesterday (the 1st day back from break) that the Ghenglish classes for 11th and 12th grade were rejected by our school principal…

Ugh. I was feeling really hopeful after the meeting because of the good response we had from the teachers, and I was surprised that our idea had been vetoed so quickly and without a definitive reason. We emailed the school princi20170104_162532pal as to why the class had been rejected, but no word yet. I’m just sad about it because we worked so hard, and even though the project “failed” in a way, I’m still proud of us for getting this far.

So, what’s to come? We aren’t going to stop working on this project and this idea, because there are other options we can pursue with it. The meaning behind Gifted and the ideas behind the classes we wanted to create still have potential, and because of this we just need to change our end goal. We’re going to focus on incorporating Ghenglish ideas into the other English classes at the high school, specifically starting with the AP classes. I know AP is very similar to Ghenglish, and in a way I wasn’t shocked that our idea had been turned down because our school administrators don’t normally like supporting ideas that are too close to what we already have when they want to save money.

While there are similarities, Katie and I visited the 11th grade AP English class to interview students and observe the class. We noticed that the atmosphere of AP is close to that of Gifted, with the walls being colorful and vibrant and the kids working on collaborative projects all  over. But while interviewing the kids, they brought up some good concerns. They liked AP, w20170104_162539hether because of its challenge, structure, or feeling of being prepared for college, but it was lacking pace-wise and in depth. Some of the students we talked to had taken Ghenglish before AP, and some hadn’t, but either way a concern of a lack of discussion came up. In Gifted Honors English we always have discussions on movies we watch or texts we read, and we even do discussions every week as  a normal class activity. In AP however, they don’t discuss, and if they do, it isn’t done as freely as it is in Ghenglish.

Another concern was that in AP, students got a lot of homework on topics they focused on for weeks, such as syntax, and a Gifted student we talked to said it just got to be boring and repetitive after a while, and they felt unchallenged. All of these observations and points we found during our interviews can be supported by The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented in one of their monologues titled “Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Programs: A “Fit” for Gifted Learners?”. We have been looking at the research done in these works, which we used to support our argument for the meeting with the administrators, but the research also supports our next step in trying to incorporate Gifted ideas into AP, which is great.

Looking forward, here’s a timeline for the rest of the project as Design Lab is ending at the end of the semester 😦

  • 1/5/17-1/6/17 – Brainstorming and preparing our ideas for the meeting, which originally was going to happen on Thursday but I want to move it to next week.
  • 1/9/17-1/13/17 – Meeting with AP teachers hopefully, talk about ways to incorporate ideas and go from there.

I’m not sure exactly what will come after this, but I know the final product for this project will be a report on the work we’ve done, and possibly even a trial run of the discussions and other Gifted things we want to add to AP being implemented into one of the classes. I’ll be back to update what’s been going on once I actually know for sure!

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