Acton’s Exhibitions of Learning take place at the end four to seven-week sprints that make up a session. Much like an agile software sprint, sessions have a real-world deliverable at the end, often presented to a live studio audience made up of more than parents.
Exhibitions are performances, with stakes as high as possible. We want Heroes to feel more like Steve Jobs presenting the iPhone than a lame middle school science fair.
Although Exhibitions allow Heroes to showcase what they’ve “learned to do” in Quests, Civilization, Writing, Art, and other learning challenges, they should never resemble the pristine, tightly managed traditional school performances largely crafted by adults.
Therefore, exhibitions are 100% planned & ran by the heroes. Each session a committee is selected to plan the exhibition and we have seen the exhibitions very much take on the personalities of those heroes selected to the committee, meaning no two exhibitions are alike!
By the end of your time in your child's studio, you should have a grasp of their learning and progress over the past session. But please keep in mind at Acton, academics are not our primary focus. They are important, but finding a true passion for learning, for life, and developing interpersonal skills and leadership skills trump all and that is a little harder to summarize in an exhibition or a piece of paper.
As we said previously, exhibitions are the responsibility of heroes to deliver excellent value for parents and guests, so our events are not stage-managed by myself or the guides. We ask parents and visitors to offer frank criticism as well as praise and to direct it to their hero and his or her peers. We care less about the perfect exhibition and more about the learning opportunities to create one.
This is an example of focusing on the process of learning, rather than the outcomes. Better for these young heroes to try and fail and learn than to be relieved of all the responsibility to make it look really good at the hand of an adult.
As you review all their hard work, we invite you to ask questions not only of your own hero but of other learners as well. Here are some growth mindset questions you might want to ask:
If at the end of the exhibition your hero doesn’t have an answer to one of your questions OR hasn’t progressed as much as you anticipated, I would invite you to do two things before reaching out to the guide or myself:
1. Re-Read the Parents on a Hero’s Journey Document linked in the parent hub.
2. Have a conversation with your hero, asking them how they spend their time during core skills, ask them if they would log you in and walk you through what they are working on/ how often they are working… While it varies per week and per studio, any hero that is utilizing a computer for their Core Skills should have between 120-200 minutes available per week per program.
Remember, praise the process - not the outcome.