High School

  • To Grade or Not To Grade

    Creating opportunities that spark intrinsic motivation. Leaders in the field of education have spent lots of time addressing the question of annual assessment in the form of standardized testing and fashioning report cards. At Voyagers’ Community School, in Monmouth County, New Jersey, we understand this is short-sighted. Instead, we dedicate time to discussing intrinsic motivation. What makes students want to do their very best? Can we teach intrinsic motivation? Are there ways in which we stifle this? Inevitably assessment, in the form of grades and rankings, weaves its way into the conversation. In schools across America, most often student work boils down to one thing, a grade, which represents everything about the child’s experience in a single class and, collectively, in a school year. Most people say, “So what, shouldn’t the best student be rewarded for being the best?” “How else are we going to know how a student is […]

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  • Model United Nations

    Model United Nations, or “Model UN”, is a cross between a Voyagers’ Essentials course and an extracurricular activity. Participation on our team is extremely difficult and demands much from the eight high school student-participants, who will travel to Philadelphia next month (Feb. 25-28), with the goal of resolving some of the world’s most pressing issues. Voyagers’ high school students will compete against their counterparts from across the region while representing Sweden, a small but vibrant nation that has contributed a great deal to science and technology, as well as to democratic governance and gender equality. The topic of this year’s conference concerns Asia, the world’s largest continent, with a particular focus on infrastructure development. Students will engage in extensive research, write an original position paper that relates to their assigned United Nations committee, and debate with peers in a professional manner. One Model UN student, Winnie, says: “Model UN mimics, […]

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  • Romeo and Juliet Come Alive Again

    The 9th grade literacy class has finished reading the original text of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. At first, the reactions from the students were a little less than enthusiastic. “My mom says that it is really hard. I don’t think I want to read it…” “Do we have to read it in the ‘Old English’?” “Can’t we watch the movie instead?” Some of the students proposed that we should just purchase the “cheat versions” and read it in place of the old “regular English version”. Their strong reactions gave me a moment of pause, but then I recalled, my own first encounter with Shakespeare felt similar. I assured them that we would go slowly and would stop often for discussion and comprehension. I also assured them that they would become accustomed to the language and rhythm of the iambic pentameter. They began with doubt, but, within about one […]

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