Igniting Passion and Purpose

7th-9th Grades

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214-509-8449

office@ inspiredlearningacademy.org

340 Country Club Rd

Fairview, Tx 75069

8:45am - 3:30pm

Monday - Friday

Our Education Model

We’re taking the successful organic, holistic, heart-centered education model from the Living Ethics School (preK-6th) and extending that to the unique needs of young teens. In our research, we were greatly inspired by the book The Self-Directed Learning Handbook: Challenging Adolescent Students to Excel by Maurice Gibbons. One particular school, Jefferson County Open, outside of Denver, CO, has been using this model with great success for nearly 40 years.

We have drawn upon these and other resources and combined them with our own experiences in life coaching and child education to create a unique program that provides the tools and skills for young teens to succeed in all their endeavors.

Learn more about self-directed learning

We’re also using the Agile Learning Center (ALC) model which employs Agile management tools (popular in the business world, especially in software development) to support self-directed education and to intentionally create a culture of self-challenge, self-reflection and productivity.

In the ALC culture, students feel they are heard, they belong and that they make a difference. As social creatures, adolescents thrive in this kind of vibrant community which builds confidence, improves communication skills, and brings out the best in them.

Learn more about Agile Learning Centers

Self-Directed Learning

Self-directed learning can be defined as “the ability to use one’s innate sense of curiosity and personal experiences to discover how to learn and to internalize what is learned.”

Note that we use self-directed education which is not the same as independent learning. It is not learning that takes place in a vacuum, but rather it is interdependent and relies on a supportive, interconnected community.

In this model, the teacher’s role expands to include training, coaching, guiding and counseling. We become more mentors, facilitators and advocates than just knowledge-imparting instructors. In this 21st century world where information is ubiquitous and often overwhelming, we need teachers who coach students to find meaning in the sea of information, to focus their efforts and to collaborate with others toward productive, purposeful work.  As such, we call our teachers advisors/learning facilitators.

Teacher-Directed vs. Student-Directed Learning

In teacher-directed learning, the teacher:

  • Decides the course goals and the content to be studied
  • Presents course content to students in lessons
  • Sets exercises and assignments for study
  • Monitors completion and assesses accuracy of student work
  • Tests and grades student performance

In student-directed learning, the teacher:

  • Teaches students to set their own goals and eventually choose what they will study
  • Teaches students the skills and processes involved in setting goals, making plans, and initiating action
  • Negotiates student proposals for learning and acting
  • Guides students through self-directed challenge activities
  • Reviews students’ assessment of their work
*Referenced from The Self-Directed Learning Handbook by Maurice Gibbons.

Ten Characteristics of an Effective Self-Directed Learner

There are ten characteristics of an effective self-directed learner that serve as goals for each student, supported by their advisor/learning facilitators:

  1. Has a vision and goals for learning
  2. Is able to develop a strategic plan for education
  3. Is willing to take calculated risks
  4. Is determined and persistent
  5. Is organized (time, effort, resources)
  6. Is able to develop a solid support network
  7. Is self-motivated and self-disciplined
  8. Takes initiative and is action oriented
  9. Is self-assessing (able to evaluate self clearly and honestly)
  10. Has positive self-esteem, confidence, and self-efficacy
*Referenced from Lives of Passion, School of Hope by Rick 
Posner and the "Community Owner's Manual" for the Jefferson 
County Open School.

Agile Learning Centers

“Agile Learning Centers are an expanding network of micro-schools leveraging agile tools to support self-directed education.”

We incorporate the ideas that are central to ALCs.  Note that some elements of ALCs are flexible and vary in different communities.  For example, some ALCs are democratic, free schools and some, like Inspired, incorporate more structure and accountability as we’re doing with the Self-Directed Learning model as defined by Maurice Gibbons.

The ALC website is a wealth of information, so we refer you there with the exception of the FAQ section, which answers questions from a more democratic, free school perspective.

See the Agile Learning Center Education Model for an excellent description of the model, including the metaphor of a tree, which, incidentally, inspired our logo selection.

Our advisor/learning facilitators have attended the Agile Learning Facilitator Training Program.

To Learn More...

These are the main books/websites that inspired our philosophy and methodology:

  1. HeartWings: An Account of Children Learning through Heart-Centered Education by Vicki Johnston, founder of the Living Ethics School
  2. The Self-Directed Learning Handbook: Challenging Adolescent Students to Excel by Maurice Gibbons
  3. Agile Learning Centers – agilelearningcenters.org
  4. Jefferson County Open School (public charter school outside of Denver, CO that has been successfully implementing the self-directed learning model influenced by Maurice Gibbons for almost 40 years) – jeffcoopen.org
  5. The Art of Self-Directed Learning by Blake Boles
  6. A Heritage of Great Thoughts: Advocates for Children Learning Naturally & Joyfully by Vicki Johnston
  7. Lives of Passion, School of Hope by Rick Posner (former principal of Jefferson County Open School who interviewed and collected data from graduates from the past 30+ years)