Navigating curriculums, managing student engagement, and investing time to develop new facilitation skills for your classroom. Your time is valuable, and you care about your students' social and academic growth. That’s why the team at the Outward Bound Professional Learning Lab designed The Thriving Classroom.
The Thriving Classroom is a professional development series built specifically for educators. Connect with your colleagues in a supportive learning environment and discover new skills for engaging your students in learning. Walk away with the ability to translate these skills into tangible plans that support your classrooms’ social and emotional needs.
Current offerings include 10 sessions that can be delivered in groups of 6, 3, or 2 progressive sessions. See upcoming programs below, or contact us about collaborating with your team to design something that fits your needs.
This session introduces participants to foundational content for their journey through several sessions.
This session explores what it means to belong and provides techniques and activities for creating safe space and facilitating connections within a group. Participants will experience the concepts firsthand as they participate in an intentional progression of Outward Bound activities that promote belonging.
This follow-up to Facilitating Belonging: Exploring the Power of Connection prompts participants to look more deeply at how they can help their students develop a sense of belonging. Drawing from participant’s personal experiences, research, and Outward Bound methodology, this session prepares educators to take a comprehensive approach to belonging in their classrooms.
When Outward Bound takes students into a new environment, whether it’s a ropes course or a remote forest, we utilize structure to help students feel safe and open to learning. With brain science as a guide, participants will discover how Outward Bound’s approach to structure can help them create supportive learning environments in their classrooms.
This session moves from theory to practice, giving participants the opportunity to examine their beliefs about structure and tangible practices to use in their classrooms. Participants will leave with a plan for creating an optimal learning environment by using structure to help students feel safe and connected.
This session prepares teachers to promote student engagement and teach social-emotional development skills using games and activities. Expert Outward Bound facilitators will model activities participants can use in their educational environments and share tips and techniques for designing and facilitating effective learning experiences.
At Outward Bound, social-emotional skills are taught explicitly, and they are also woven into the fabric of the program. As students go about daily tasks, travel, play, and explore, our instructors implement practices that support their social and emotional growth. This session defines eight key practices and gives educators a path to supporting social-emotional skill development in their own classroom.
It’s been said that instructing Outward Bound is the art of asking questions. Questions are what make an experience, brief or long, into more than merely a happening. Not all questions are created equal. This session helps to identify reasons for inquiry, patterns in questioning, and methods for devising questions. Participants will develop questions that engage, challenge and lead to deeper learning and awareness.
Good learning is sticky! Sticky is not about answers, and it is neither fast nor efficient. It is about productive struggle and meaning making, most often connecting in conversation with other people. Promoting Discussion helps us to create a culture of back and forth dialogue. It provides methods for facilitation and practice to help with both planned and improvised discussion. Discussion promotes and can even become its own social-emotional skill.
In this final session, participants reflect on the variety of approaches to social-emotional development they have explored in The Thriving Classroom and make tangible plans for implementing practices to engage and support the learners in their classrooms and support students’ social and emotional needs in their classrooms.
Participants will receive a Certificate for Contact Hours for the individual module hours listed below, or a total of 21 hours upon completion of all three. Sign up for one track or combine them for greater impact!
Colleagues who team teach or share student cohorts are encouraged to participate together.
This 3-part series guides participants through the foundations of social-emotional learning (SEL). The series begins with why SEL is important and builds towards using in-class tools such as games to grow SEL skills and incorporate SEL-building practices into classroom routines. (9 contact hours)
Introducing the Thriving Classroom:
Launching Your Journey
The Social-Emotional Toolkit:
Games and activities for a thriving classroom of connection
All Learning is Social and Emotional:
Practices for the classroom
Belonging is foundational to a safe and effective learning environment. This 2-part series explores the theory and practice of how educators can be intentional about incorporating strategies to build belonging into their classrooms all year. (6 contact hours)
Exploring the power of connection
Relationships that promote social, emotional, and academic growth
This 2-part series takes our most common classroom strategies—questioning and discussing—and propels them to the next level! Are conversations falling flat? Are you asking leading questions? This mini-series will freshen up your toolkit to increase learning and engagement for you and your students. (6 contact hours)
Questioning Strategies for Engagement and Learning
Promoting Discussion for a Thriving Classroom
To express interest in The Thriving Classroom, register for one of our upcoming sessions or contact Andrew Spofford, director of educational partnerships, to learn how we can customize a program to meet your needs.
The Outward Bound Professional Learning Lab (“The Learning Lab”) is a collaborative effort of the Outward Bound USA system and is directed by Outward Bound USA. The purpose of The Learning Lab is to continuously improve the student experience by evaluating program delivery and student outcomes and enhancing professional learning opportunities.