Qatar Leadership Academy Greenhouse Project
Many of us hear about the importance of 21st-century skills. Educators consistently tell us that we need to move away from passively learning facts that require drill or recitation and focus more on an inquiry based method of learning. While fundamental skills such as reading, math, writing continue to be key components to a successful education, denying the importance of other skills including teamwork, social responsibility, communication, critical thinking and cross cultural understanding etc., hinder the success of our students.
This year Qatar Leadership Academy, the member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development has started our school wide project, a QLA Greenhouse. We hope that our QLA Greenhouse will become a community garden. We believe that our students should be able to experience real life scenarios to connect classroom experience to real life making the learning more authentic. As a teaching faculty, QLA works on two PBL projects per subject every year. Often teachers struggle with the actual hands on aspect due to lack of resources, time, ideas or finding relevant connections with the curriculum. Once the actual greenhouse is built, we will start getting students involved in the planting of vegetables and fruits. Our final goal is to get every department to link their curriculum. Our QLA Greenhouse will give teachers the opportunity to focus only on specific aspects of the project that are connected to any of their unit questions. They do not have to force the project into their units but use the project as the hands on aspect of the learning for any unit they have already planned into their curriculum.
Most of our teachers can naturally link the QLA Greenhouse project to the social or personal responsibilities topics that many of them use in their units. The overall purpose of the QLA Greenhouse project is interaction. Some reasons why this project is important to QLA is:
$1· The importance of being part of a creativity process
$1· Personal and social responsibility
$1· Creating connections with the natural world
In a world dominated by technology, we want our students to grow appreciation and connection to the natural world. Community gardening has many benefits; the thing that would greatly benefit our students includes being patient and having responsibility for the consequences of good or poor care! We are optimistic that our students will be able to grow an abundance of fruits and vegetables. Thus, our final goal is to have a community meal. Our meal is a reminder and a reflection of the difficulty it takes to be able to provide food. We hope our students will understand what is being grateful for what they possess and how easy they are able to get it. It will also allow them to be more careful when it comes to eating and using food and being less wasteful as they know the difficulty and troubles it takes to grow them. We are optimistic that as a school we will give our students many learning opportunities through this process despite how much success they have in growing plants.