Learning (EL) is an acclaimed national model for school reform that
emphasizes high achievement through learning that is active,
challenging, meaningful, public and collaborative. The EL Network
has over 160 schools, including Presumpscot Elementary and King
Middle School. Please visit elschools.org for more information. In
Portland became the nation's first city with a K-12 Expeditionary
Learning option for its children. Since 2011, Casco Bay has been one
of Expeditionary Learning's twenty “Mentor Schools.”
Learning’s Mentor Schools stand shoulder to shoulder with some of
the highest performing schools in the nation because of their
students’ academic achievement, college readiness skills, and deep
engagement in learning.”
Hartl, President and CEO of Expeditionary Learning
Learning Design Principles
Learning harnesses the natural passion to learn and is a powerful
method for developing the curiosity, skills, knowledge and courage
needed both to imagine a better world and to work toward realizing
it. Expeditionary Learning is built on ten design principles that
reflect the educational values and beliefs of Kurt Hahn, the founder
of Outward Bound:
The Primacy of
Learning happens best with emotion, challenge and the requisite
support. In EL schools, students undertake tasks that require
perseverance, fitness, craftsmanship, imagination, self-discipline,
and significant achievement. A teacher's primary task is to help
students discover they can do more than they think they can.
The Having of
Teaching in Expeditionary Learning schools fosters curiosity about
the world by creating learning situations that provide something
important to think about, time to experiment, and time to make sense
of what is observed.
The Responsibility for Learning:
Everyone learns both individually and as part of a group. Every
aspect of an Expeditionary Learning school encourages both children
and adults to become increasingly responsible for directing their own
personal and collective learning.
Empathy and Caring:
Learning is fostered best in communities where students' and
teachers' ideas are respected and where there is mutual trust.
Learning groups are small in EL schools, with a caring adult looking
after the progress and acting as an advocate for each child. Older
students mentor younger ones, and students feel physically and
students need to be successful if they are to build the confidence
and capacity to take risks and meet increasingly difficult
challenges. But it is also important for students to learn from their
failures, to persevere when things are hard, and to learn to turn
disabilities into opportunities.
Individual development and group development are integrated so that
the value of friendship, trust, and group action is clear. Students
are encouraged to compete not against each other, but with personal
bests and with standards of excellence.
diversity and inclusion increase the richness of ideas, creative
power, problem-solving ability, and respect for others. In
Expeditionary Learning schools, students investigate and value their
different histories and talents as well as those of other communities
and cultures. Schools and learning groups are heterogeneous.
The Natural World:
A direct and respectful relationship with the natural world refreshes
the human spirit and teaches the important ideas of recurring cycles
and cause and effect. Students learn to become stewards of the earth
and of future generations.
Students and teachers need time alone to explore their own thoughts,
make their own connections and create their own ideas. They also need
time to exchange their reflections with other students and with
Service and Compassion:
We are crew, not passengers. Students and teachers are strengthened
by acts of consequential service to others, and one of an EL school's
primary functions is to prepare students with the attitudes and
skills to learn from and be of service.