Demonstrations of Learning
As each semester comes to a close, we take time to reflect upon our growth. Last week, students contemplated their personal growth over the semester by writing a Demonstration of Learning (or DOL) essay as their English final. Students then presented their essay in front of their peers, teachers, and staff. This culminating academic event is, for some, the highlight of the semester and offers validation to the power of an Alzar School experience.
Although very much personalized, many DOLs strike similar themes. Some focus on character growth like Grady’s entitled How to be an Adult. Others highlight increased confidence. Emma reflects, “Being LOD [leader of the day] and LOW [leader of the week] forced me to communicate with others and speak in front of the group. As the community encouraged me to do so, I became more comfortable and confident. I felt more willing to contribute to group discussions, both in and outside of class.” For others simply stepping out of their comfort zone catalyzed the most growth. Sam reveals, “Alzar has made me patient and comfortable out of my comfort zone, which has helped me become a strategic, resilient, and goal-oriented person.” Community is also a common theme as Katherine mentions, “learning how to interact with people is far more complicated than definitions on the back of a flash card.” Other students, like Duncan, find the most growth in their appreciation of the outdoors. Duncan states, “while I don’t expect myself to spend a hundred nights a year under a tarp, I do expect to spend a few.”
Demonstrations of Learning essays offer evidence to the undeniable growth students undergo at the Alzar School. These personal and powerful pieces often capture the intention behind the outdoor expeditions, rigorous academics and cultural experiences that define the Alzar School. As we look back on the experiences of the semester, we are so proud of each student, the goals they accomplished and the tremendous growth they demonstrated along the way.