education | September 03, 2013

Education: Speaker Juliette LaMontagne On Alternative Learning Models

The cooler air and shorter days of September can only mean one thing: It's time to go back to school. Lavin has a robust roster of education speakers that can help teachers, administrators, parents, and students alike navigate the shift from summer fun to fall learning. Speaker Juliette LaMontagne, for example, talks about expanding the boundaries of traditional classroom-based education in her talks. As the founder of Breaker, she hosts workshops that drive alternative learning and social innovation. Students are given hands-on experience solving some of today's most pressing problems. They are also provided the opportunity to pitch their solutions to accredited business professionals and other influential groups. This approach to deep learning helps students engage with what they are learning. And, it allows them to put their skills into practice in the real world.

LaMontagne's collaborative strategy can also be enacted in the traditional classroom setting. This summer, she hosted “The Future of Stuff” project: A two-week challenge for students that was simultaneously a “ride along” professional development session for teachers. While the students tinkered away at developing a prototype, the teachers observed the process. These design-thinking exercises were beneficial as an extra-curricular learning experience for the students as well as giving teachers new ideas for how to structure lesson plans. As the edSurge blog reports, several of the teachers who attended were inspired to implement elements of these sessions into their own curricula.

We need to do more than simply teach students about problems, LaMontagne says in her TED Talk. Instead, she explains that "they need to be part of designing the solutions." This is important in part because it makes their learning more relevant, she says, but also because the fresh insights these students have are valuable for achieving global change. Her takeaway is not that you should take the Breaker model and directly apply it at your school. Rather, she wants teachers and students to be exposed to new models of learning and take inspiration from them. "There is no one-size-fits-all solution," she stresses. "We've tried that, it's failed us." Breaker is but one model of alternative learning in what LaMontagne hopes will be many more.

In her talks, LaMontagne speaks to the revolutionary projects being developed by Breaker participants. She explores the value that exists in turning learning on its head—and challenges us to take a chance on young, creative minds, and embrace the potential that exists in collaborative, interdisciplinary learning. To book an education speaker like Juliette LaMontagne, and to explore innovative new approaches to learning, contact The Lavin Agency.

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education | September 02, 2013