On Thursday, April 5th, students headed out in three different directions, to three different expeditions, with one goal in mind: what makes a good facilitator? Whether a student was learning basic horseback riding techniques, shooting a bow and arrow for the first time, or navigating new mountain bike trails, every student came away with some of the dos and don'ts of teaching new skills.
I think that our instructor tried to put all of us out of our comfort zones in a safe way.
-Lainey on Horseback riding with FlySpur Ranch.
Our instructor encouraged us to try again.
-Lely on Mountain Biking at Juniper Trailhead
Our instructor gave examples, checked in with the individual people and then stepped back and let us do it on our own.
-Maisie on Archery at Top Pin
This trimester, learning the ins and outs of facilitation will be the central focus of our Leadership and Expedition course. While students have begun to dive into different aspects of facilitation, they have yet to dive into the meat of our course where students will be leading their peers in a variety of activities. In order to effectively facilitate these lessons, students will be learning about leadership styles and identifying their own strengths and weaknesses as a leader among their peers. Offering and receiving effective feedback will also be a central focus of the term, as well as understanding and applying the experiential cycle that Cascades Academy uses when teaching through experiential education. The variety of skills that students will be practicing will not only aid them in this course, but their ability to facilitate, offer feedback and identify their abilities to lead with others, will be transferable to all aspects of their lives in and outside of the classroom.
Students will begin their facilitation practice when working in small groups to lead their peers on short expeditions, teaching topics of choice in a variety of locations. When the US heads down to Tumalo State Park in June, they will encounter their toughest audience yet, Cascades Academy's Pre-K through 5th graders. We are so excited that the Upper School students will be culminating their trimester in Leadership and Expedition by teaching at the Lower School Outdoor School. This opportunity allows the Upper School to play a larger role in the program, and most importantly, gives students a chance to apply their skills to a very authentic audience.
To stay up to date on the progress of our course throughout the year, make sure to check the weekly Cascades Academy News and the Upper School Illumination blog!
-Hattie Tehan, US Faculty