J-Term @ Lyndon Institute
Several years ago, I had the privilege of talking with a small number of staff at the Lyndon Institute to discuss how they could create an opportunity for teachers and students to be engaged in more real-world, project-based, and interdisciplinary learning. The idea is or teachers to offer what they want to offer, what they thought the students might find interesting, and to "stretch" their normal teaching practices to be more inclusive of real-world projects and hands-on, minds-on experiences.
Two months after this visit, Adam Norwood, then a doctoral student in our EdD program at Northeastern University, reached out to me let me know that they would not be engaging in this "experiment" for one week (which I recommended as a starting point), but THREE weeks! Seven years later, the tradition continues.
Listen to students' podcast about the start and impact of J-term at Lyndon Institute here!
Following the first January there was one story that really got me excited. One of the faculty was a fan of Prairie Home Companion (no longer running as a result of Garrison Keiler's retirement from radio). Inspired by his show, this faculty member (who happened to be Adam's wife – Susanne Norwood) decided to invite interested students to create a Lyndonville Companion radio show. Several students worked hard to develop the script and rehearsed their roles and eventually aired their radio show.
The students had a great time. Everyone had a great time. Many in the community loved the broadcast – which was done live from the stage of the auditorium in the school. What they didn't know is that someone would get a copy of their radio broadcast to Mr. Keiler and that two weeks before Thanksgiving he would call the students, tell them how much he enjoyed their production, and invite them to come on stage with him to his live broadcast from the stage of a theater in Hartford CT.
To me, that's the power of such endeavors, when students are given the opportunity to make something real and public. Who knows what will come of it?!
What would happen if you allowed your school to do the same?
Also see video interviews I did at the Lyndon Institute in 2019
Read my article about the start and impact of J-term in Getting Smart here! --> J-term at Lyndon Institute: Engaging in Interest- and Passion-driven Learning