#8- What’s The Story Experience

What’s the Story is a program that enriches your learning much deeper than would happen in a regular learning environment. You start out by choosing a topic and driving question. For example, my topic is the opportunity gap and my question is: How does income inequality affect education? With What’s the Story, I work with a group of people to further our understanding of the opportunity gap. What’s the Story allows me to contact people who I would not normally talk to and have experiences that I have never had before. For example, I have contacted a man named Robert Roper, the president of the Ethan Allen Institute. In school, we normally talk to almost no one, but in What’s the Story I am able to have a discussion about income inequality with someone whose voice is respected. What’s the Story has allowed me to work more in-depth with some learning standards. For example, after 3-4 months of work, I have a better grasp of what some learning targets mean and how to improve what I do at school.

What’s the Story also allows me to meet people who I would not meet otherwise. I have met people from schools in Middlebury, Stowe, and Lamoille. These people have helped challenge my thinking and have asked me difficult questions to broaden my understanding. With What’s the Story, I get feedback from an audience that helps me narrow down my thinking. What’s the Story has also helped me with collaboration, instead of trying to do a lot by myself, I trust my teammates to complete their work. I then compare our ideas and go in a different direction than before. What’s the Story has helped me improve my listening skills too. Normally in school, I have a hard time stopping myself from talking too much, but in What’s the Story I have learned to listen to my peers’ feedback and improve my own work.

The most important thing that What’s the Story is teaching me is time management. When a deadline is set, it is inflexible and this makes it so that I have to finish everything that I do on time. When I forget to do work, I have to rush to finish it before the deadline and this makes me plan out my time so that I can finish everything. I always try and have a finished product so that I can share and improve my past learning and work. My time management is important to my groupmates because they need to know that I am accountable for my work and they also need to know what I have accomplished. Although our group had trouble finishing everything on time, I was finished due to my time management skills and was able to show what I had learned. Learning-time management has helped me manage my learning both in and out of school. During What’s the Story I have done well in a blended-learning environment, I have used tools and resources like Slack and Google Docs to look at and meet upcoming deadlines. I ask my mentor for support when I reach a stuck point and am struggling. Overall, What’s the Story is helping me improve my understanding of the opportunity gap, meet new people, take feedback, compare and contrast, and learn time management.

Gabe Nelson

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