- Self Direction
- Critical Reflection
- Learning Community
- Resource Visits
- Nature as Educator
- Leading and Learning
- Learning Journals
- Feedback & Assessment
- Mentor Advisors
- Service Learning
Self direction – EEI believes that education works best when students are invested in what they are learning. Students take ownership of their learning when they are empowered to make decisions about what and how they learn. Within the framework of the EEI curriculum, students are able to choose topics that follow from their educational goals and interests and are able to plan, with the help of their faculty advisor, how best to learn these topics. Click on image below to learn more!
Critical Reflection — Critical reflection is a central tenet and process by which EEI students and faculty explore and identify the assumptions governing their own actions and those of others. We seek to understand the contexts out of which thoughts and actions arise, and to challenge the dominant social, cultural, and political paradigms that underpin modern society. This happens on the bus through large and small group discussions, crafting questions to explore when preparing to meet with resource people, through active engagement with readings, through journaling, and incidental conversations within and outside the learning community. Students begin to take ownership of their education – both content and process – thus becoming critically reflective learners. Click on the image below to see an example of how this manifests on the bus!
Learning community – The learning community is the heart of an expedition. By pooling our interests, enthusiasms, and knowledge, we learn more and we have more fun doing it. In a community, each student is supported and challenged and is able to make more of their education. Click on images below to learn more!
Resource experiences – We learn best from experience when we approach it with intention. On an expedition we visit with people and organizations with various perspectives, from those who are in industry to those who are leading the change to a sustainable and life-affirming culture. As a community we prepare for, participate in, and reflect on these experiences in ways that lead to learning that can transform students so that they too become change leaders. Click on image below to learn more!
Nature as educator – Humans have honored and learned from the natural world for millennia. It is only recently that humans could live divorced from contact with nature. By spending most of their time in nature, students begin to see, appreciate, and understand its crucial importance to our physical and spiritual wellbeing as individuals and as a society. Click on images below to learn more!
Leading and Learning – Developing leadership capacity is increasingly identified as one of the most challenging and significant goals for higher education today. EEI’s approach neatly parallels the Social Change Model (SCM) where the “approach to leadership development is embedded in collaboration and concerned with fostering positive social change…”
It is said that the best way to learn something is to teach it to others. Students on an expedition, individually and in small groups, lead many of the educational activities, such as seminars, discussions, and workshops. In taking on leadership roles students learn about themselves, gain experience in clear communication, and ultimately come to see leadership as a collaborative and ongoing process, not an individual one.
Learning journals – Students keep learning journals to support their learning and promote self reflection. Self reflection provides an opportunity for a student to contemplate how they learn best, to identify their own assumptions and biases, and to look at their values and goals. Journals can be places to explore ideas, creativity, responses to readings, discussions, something happening in the world or in the community, natural history of the region, and much more.
Feedback and self assessment – To become accomplished life-long learners, students need to be able to accurately assess both their level of knowledge and skills, as well as the quality of their work and ability to act. On an expedition there are many and varied opportunities to do so, both for oneself and one’s peers. The best feedback acknowledges strengths, illuminates areas of challenge, and offers ideas and support for growth and change – encouraging the recipient to continue their development towards personal goals and excellence. Click on image below to learn more.
Students work closely with an advisor – On a typical expedition the faculty-student ratio will be 1:6. Since faculty and students are living together full-time throughout the semester, there is plenty of opportunity for intensive ongoing interactions between them. In particular, each student is assigned a faculty advisor who gets to know the student well and is experienced in helping students grow as learners and in helping them identify and work toward their dreams.
Service learning – On EEI bus programs we stress the importance of giving back to the communities we visit and feel the potency of direct experience both for learning skills and for making the concepts, controversies, and issues we study immediate and tangible. Each expedition participates in a variety of service learning projects. Click on image below to learn more!
"Human school" experiencing the "blessed unrest"
More than anything, it was “human school”- it reminded us how to live as though everything we are and everything we do matters. In finding our way around the country via networks of activists, scientists, loggers, artists, and ranchers, we discovered that we were not lone voices in the wilderness, but part of a thriving community in “blessed unrest.”
–Julie Aitcheson ’04