The Dawning of UnSchool Day

Later this week, the SLS Upper School will have the privilege of participating in the “UnSchool Day”, a time when students and faculty alike will be able to teach others about subjects that are not always discussed in the classroom. The administration has, in part, taken this idea for a new type of school day from the “UnConference”: “a day where [according to the FAQ Mr. Foley, Director of the Center for Leadership, circulated earlier this week] the content of the sessions are created and managed by the participants, rather than by one or more organizers ahead of time.”

According to the same document, SLS students are encouraged to bring forward some of their own personal knowledge, ideas, projects, and experiences to help the progression of the day. The UnSchool Day GoogleDocs circulated by the CFL and Mr. Bailey give a list of possible session-types to consider: My Big (or Little) Question, Show and Tell, Learn how to __________, as well as the option to make a short, conversation-sparking presentation or a longer, more formal talk.

Perhaps the most exciting idea behind the UnSchool Day is the lack of confinement to one specific session or location. Any student can probably remember a situation where he or she wished that it were another period, whether it was due to boredom or little enthusiasm for said class. However, the UnSchool Day’s “Law of Mobility” not only encourages but obligates student and faculty members to move from sessions that they don’t feel they are contributing to or learning from.

The four guidelines for the day are revolutionary in terms of progressive pedagogy, mostly because the UnSchool Day concept revolves around the lack of a time constraint, the integration of various grade levels, and the uncertain direction of the session. Ultimately, the UnSchool Day depends on full involvement of the participants who should jump into the day with an open mind. Remember, if students are not taking the day seriously —  perhaps in an instance where “everyone [is] trying to hang out in the cafeteria” — then SLS should “expect a reset” where normal school will start back up again.

A large board is in the making that will serve as a rough organizer for some of the available sessions of the day. A Twitter backchannel is also in the works (#slsunschool). Students and faculty should check the “UnSchool FAQ” and “UnConference Guidelines” Google Docs, provided below, to find out more. Also, check out the CFL blog for more information on UnSchool Day, and Center for Leadership events in general.

— Tommy Champion, Staff Writer

UnConference Guidelines  

UnSchool Day FAQ


Posted by on May 8, 2012. Filed under School News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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