We are all different. Yet most K-12 schools teach and assess our abilities like we are all the same.  Could math learning be more powerful than one quarter worth of repetitive long division problems? Could chemistry be more enlightening than memorizing and computing formulas presented in equations disconnected from our everyday living? Can fiction and non-fiction writing be more than just writing drafts and editing grammar, punctuation, and spelling?

“You have to go to school.” Did the everyday school experiences feel more like a social opportunity to meet with friends and complying with what our parents expect of their children?

Have you ever wondered whether your abilities are less important in the world because your interests and passions were not at all part of your formal education?

Are you the student that never quite fit into the mold of K-12 achievers of high-test scores and high grades?

In 1983, Howard Gardner published the “Theory of Multiple Intelligences.” He explains how our prevailing view about intelligence, which is primarily defined by I.Q. testing, is very limited. Defining intelligence in this way does not take into account abilities that drive unique strengths in ways that are not reflected in everyday learning in K-12 schools. Gardner’s list of multiple intelligences includes:

  • Linguistic intelligence ("word smart")
  • Logical-mathematical intelligence ("number/reasoning smart")
  • Spatial intelligence ("picture smart")
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence ("body smart")
  • Musical intelligence ("music smart")
  • Interpersonal intelligence ("people smart")
  • Intrapersonal intelligence ("self smart")
  • Naturalist intelligence ("nature smart")

The theory of multiple intelligences opens pathways that acknowledge unique and distinct abilities reflecting numerous careers that make our world grow and prosper. Unfortunately, most of our K-12 school experiences have been about learning in the abstract and without context.

Mainstream K-12 education is more about getting the correct answer rather than considering multiple and connected ways to engage students, and tapping into their unique intelligences, as a way to grow abilities. In many cases, teachers teach like they were taught, pervading a cycle of irrelevance resulting in much misbehavior and frustration in today’s classrooms.

The affirmation of one’s passions and the opportunity to grow one’s strengths is key to future success. In Young Outliers, campers learn in numerous, connected, and dynamics ways. Our summer studios are designed to tap into and nurture each camper’s abilities by offering multiple pathways to learning.

By using a “design framework,” campers learn through experiences that are empowering and inventive. For example, the interconnection of math, design, and product making to solve real-world problems exposes learners to the multi-faceted nature of challenges. Using creative approaches and engaging diverse abilities result in numerous solutions and opportunities. Learning in this case becomes inspiration for learners to grow their strengths and contribute to make this a better world.  

In contrast to mainstream education paradigm, the Young Outliers summer studios are anchored to the very nature of a diverse population of learners; operating on unique strengths and passions as wellspring of inventive mixes of possibilities. Adding the creative spin makes for dynamic, inspiring, and transformative summer learning experiences.

Gigi Carunungan, Young Outliers, Chief Learning Architect