Publication Date: August 18, 2014
In this new and practical contribution to the importance of imagination in learning, Kieran Egan and his colleagues demonstrate how individual contributions to a coherent large-scale project can produce enormous results of great educational value. Helping all participants to feel pride for more than just their own individual work, such Whole School Projects (WSPs) encourage appreciation for the abilities of others and enable everyone involved to recognize that all kinds of learning styles, intelligences, and ability levels play an important part in constructing the whole. Most important, WSPs invigorate student engagement and build community within a school.
The authors describe a program for engaging a whole school in a particular project over a 3-year period and outline the educational principles and benefits. Providing examples of schools successfully using WSPs, they examine the detailed practices needed to get such a project up and running in a typical school. While the Whole School Project is distinct from the regular curriculum, it can help achieve many of the year’s curriculum objectives in mathematics, literacy, science and technology, social studies, art, and history. Finally, teachers can choose to incorporate their curriculum aims into the project study, even when those aims include meeting externally mandated achievement standards.
Kieran Egan is a professor of education at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia. He is a recipient of the Grawemeyer Award in Education and an Upton Sinclair Award .
“Egan’s inspiring yet practical strategy will enable you to engage your students, ignite your colleagues, and deepen learning throughout the school.”
—Andy Hargreaves, Lynch School of Education, Boston College
“I have used Egan’s imaginative tools extensively in the classroom and facilitated learners from kindergarten to grade 8 with their Learning in Depth projects.”
—Shannon Shields, middle school vice principal
"Kieran Egan is one of the thinkers on 21st-century learning who is not content to simply wave his hands in the air and invoke the magic of technology. He offers concrete proposals for student-centered learning that are workable in our current school environment."
—Mark Classen, principal, Harrison Hot Springs Elementary School