Learning By Doing

Last week I had the privilege of presenting at TEDxPhilly (see the links in previous blogs). I created an after school program at West Philadelphia High School that has received national attention. I’ve been invited to a few of these events because people want to know how an inner-city after-school program can build bad-ass hybrid cars that beat teams like MIT and big money start-up companies.

While I have learned a good deal about how to build cool hybrid vehicles over the years, pill what I think is most impressive is what we’ve learned about education. It comes down to a pretty basic concept – we learn by doing. Unfortunately, there is less and less room for “doing” in schools. Azeem, one of my students, recently put it like this:

“We wonder why so many high school students are disengaged- bored and not interested in school. We’ve created an environment that doesn’t tap into our natural creativity. Most schools condition students just to regurgitate answers. They just prepare us to be better test takes – not creative thinkers.”