What does learning look like? - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

What does learning look like?

Posted on August 13, 2016

by Dr. Edna Hussey on August 13, 2016


Our preschoolers have the right idea -- a nap after a long, engaging day of learning! From the time all preschool and elementary students step onto campus, they are interacting with one another in small and large groups, trying to figure out their roles in the classroom and with peers, and navigating their way from one experience to another. The essence of the teaching approach -- inquiry/project work -- underpins teachers' decision-making throughout the day, regardless of the subject area. Itʻs a powerful philosophy rooted in the work of educational theorists, psychologists, and teacher-researchers that recognizes the knowledge students bring to the act of learning. Moreover, it is the belief that students construct knowledge together. Knowledge generation occurs daily when skilled teachers set up classroom conditions for engagement, inquiry, and community building.


And thatʻs what happened day one when your children entered the classroom. Let's not underestimate the time we provide for understanding the rich backgrounds (family, experience, memories) each student brings to the classroom community. This foundation is critical to individual and group learning. Collaboration naturally develops when students feel they can trust and respect one another. We also know from experience that sustaining this sense of community is hard work, so teachers create many opportunities within the learning to make sure these conditions are in place.

I invite you to read two or three other classroom teachers' blogs, and youʻll better understand the cohesiveness of our approach to learning. While we think "learning" should only look like reading, writing, following a teacher's directions, or solving pages of math computations, some of the most powerful learning happens when a child makes mistakes, observes other children, plays at recess, or tries to come out of a "learning knot."

Enjoy images from around the school in our first week. All 1585 students and about 200 faculty and staff gathered in the gym for the opening convocation. The Class of 2031 and Class of 2017 hung their classroom banners (thanks to the Hanagami family and former elementary student K. Haas). At our preschool/elementary Thursday assembly, teachers and staff each shared an artifact that represented something special about them. Thereʻs Mrs. Schultz holding up a wooden cat (she loves cats). And more images from within the clasroom. What do you learn about our school via these images? What title would you give each image?

Finally, do yourself a favor and read CE teacher Lori Abeʻs blog here:


E Kūlia Kākou! Letʻs strive and aspire together!

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey, Ed.D.


Heads up for all parents of students in grades 3-5 regarding the iPad parent meeting this Tues, Aug 16: your child may attend the meeting in the dining room, 5:00-6:00pm. We are not offering childcare.