The Power of Experiential Learning

Brooke Newsletter

The Power of Experiential Learning

Happy summer! We hope you are enjoying the time off and making good use of the great weather to learn through new, engaging experiences. Along those lines, our scholars wound down the final weeks of the 2018-2019 school year with some exceptional experiential learning opportunities we want to share with you.

Unveiling the Mysteries of Cuba

Members of the Brooke High AP Spanish course took a once in a lifetime trip to Cuba! For many, it was their first time leaving the country. Applying their language skills in this amazing context, they honed their Spanish by haggling over prices in marketplaces, admiring local art, and discussing socialized medicine at a health clinic visit.

It made me think about how I could take initiative and action in my community.

Immersion in a new culture reinforced their gratitude for many things they take for granted at home and pushed them to think about what it means to take initiative as a community leader. This lesson was particularly profound in one artist community they visited, in which members transformed a neighborhood previously nickname “trash” into a thriving artists community. Reflecting on the artist community, Sherly (Class of 2020) noted:

Even though they didn’t have government support or funding, they have community support. They did everything on their own, and it made me think about how I could take initiative and action in my community. I don’t want to wait for someone to make it happen for me.

They will draw on these experiences in the coming year as they take their language skills to the next level live into what it means be a community leader.

A Visit to the Capitol

After spending the year learning about America’s interactions with the world, Brooke Eighth Grade Academy boarded a plane (another first for some!) to visit Washington, D.C. With a self-designed itinerary, scholars navigated a new, more diverse city on their way to must-see spots like the Holocaust Museum, The National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Obama’s portraits in the National Portrait Gallery.

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley addresses Brooke Eighth Grade Academy scholars in Washington, D.C.

As they criss-crossed the city, scholars talked about how seeing the nation’s history all around them impacted how they wanted to create a place in the world.

In one of the most powerful moments of the trip, scholars sat on the steps of the U.S. Capitol as their representative Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley spoke directly to them. Listening to the first African American Congresswoman from MA, a woman who lives in their community and spoke about representing them, gave our scholars a greater sense of belonging and agency in our democracy.