convergence of underperforming schools,
persistent achievement gapsalong lines of race/ethnicity and income,
a culture that does not rewardacademic success, and lack of access to the latest science and technologyideas and tools.
Conventional approaches to STEM learning in schools is notworking well for our youth of color.Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn grew out of our belief that, while we supportthe slow and steady efforts of Boston Public Schools to address these issues,it is unconscionable to stand by and do nothing while our youth suffer in themeantime. Research findings suggest a correlation between frequentattendance in OST activities and positive outcomes, including an increase inacademic achievement”
and that attending high quality science,technology, engineering and math (STEM) afterschool programs benefitsyouth through “improved attitudes toward STEM fields and careers;increased STEM knowledge and skills; and higher likelihood of graduationand pursuing a STEM career.”
There is an imminent shortage of professionals with skills in science,technology and engineering in the United States. Our youth of color havebeen historically underrepresented in these fields and represent an untappedpotential for rejuvenating them. By developing a network of near peermentors of color, as well as exposing youth to both “technologies of earth”and “technologies of the heart,” we can make steps towards closing andfilling the gaps in schools and in the STEM field.
Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn’s pedagogy combines thelearning theory of constructionism with longstanding and successfulcommunity and youth development practices. Constructionism is a learningapproach developed by Dr. Seymour Papert that focuses on thereconstruction of knowledge, especially by building things, rather thansimply the transmission of knowledge devoid of a compelling context. Dr.David Cavallo, co-founder of Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn, worked with Dr.Papert to adapt constructionism for K-12 STEM learning. The theory claimsthat youth learn best as they design and build things that are “publicentitities.” “Public,” because for the greatest learning to happen, the youthmust both share their design process and what they make with others.
Based on a September 2008 Massachusetts Department of Elementary andSecondary education report, 100 out of 143 Boston Public schools wereunderperforming, failing to meet achievement standards established by the stateunder No Child Left Behind.
Boston Indicators Project, Boston Foundationhttp://www.bostonindicators.org/Indicators2008/Education/AtAGlance.aspx?id=10872
Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn Final Youth Teacher EvaluationSurveys 2007-2011.
American Youth Policy Forum (2006. January).
Helping youth succeed through Out of School Time Programs
. Washington, DC: American Youth Policy Forum.
Afterschool Alliance (2011, September). STEM Learning in Afterschool: An analysisof Impact and Outcomes. Washington, DC: Afterschool Alliance.