Explore, Reflect, Discover: An Immersive Learning Experience in Florence

Table of Contents

Description

Engaging learners in education that incorporates exploration, reflection, and discovery creates an immersive learning experience by placing students in situations and activities that motivate and stimulate them.

Furthermore, education that includes opportunities for students to investigate, participate, create, explore, and contribute will bring joy into learning and inspire curiosity in the classroom.

This course mainly explores strategies for immersing students in critical thinking and reflective activities which can be used to promote interesting learning experiences that get students to concentrate and notice while taking the Renaissance city of Florence, Italy (historic people, places, events, and objects of art), into consideration as its stage location.

Hence, the course will foster ideas, formulas, routines, and frameworks for teaching that can be used in different settings and with all academic subjects – i.e., virtual classrooms and/or onsite learning; along with educational experiences that can take place either indoors, outdoors, or both for all age groups. 

During in-class activities, participants will be prompted to employ, share, and engage in various activities that encourage reflection, thinking, and discovery that can be adapted to their own classrooms. 

In two outdoor activities, participants will visit two areas in Florence’s historic city center and learn how to incorporate outdoor activities into a curriculum.

By the end of the course, participants will have explored and experienced a variety of powerful and creative learning tools and teaching techniques to help them manage their classrooms and involve their students in a more compelling and beneficial way.

They will also learn how to encourage the development of thinking, reflecting, noticing, and careful observation into the lives of their students. This course will bring energy and interest to your lessons and improve every single educational environment where motivation is lacking.

Concept by: Sheila Corwin

Learning outcomes

The course will help the participants to:

  • Incorporate engaging and inclusive activities into their lessons in an entertaining and motivating way; 
  • Find ways to include the local community in collaborative (and relevant) learning; 
  • Learn to use appealing routines that are easy to incorporate into any classroom lesson or connect with any academic subject; 
  • Engage learners in activities that get them to slow down, think, concentrate, question, notice, and pay attention; 
  • Encourage critical thinking skills that inspire students to reach a deeper level of observation and understanding. 

Tentative schedule

Day 1 – Course introduction – Getting to know each other and Florence

  • Introduction to the course, teacher academy, and Icebreaker activities;
  • Discovering what it means to think critically, using engaging activities such as questioning, timelines, media, visual arts, historical events, and reflection;
  • Exploring the idea of Florence’s historic city center as an important place.

Day 2 – Discovering the Santa Croce neighborhood in Florence

  • Exploring people, places, and things including museums, art, artists, piazzas, architects, and the Medici family through tasks such as bucket lists, think pair share, and other activities that develop skills such as reasoning, questioning, investigating, and describing. Includes roleplay and poetry writing.
  • Visit to Ponte Vecchio.

Day 3 – Discovering the Santo Spirito neighborhood in Florence

  • Focusing on palaces, gardens, shapes, painters, chapels, galleries, and the last of the Medici. Includes activities for learning how to make careful observations using inquiry for deeper learning through art, place, and space. Developing exercises for understanding will be included along with noticing the colors, shapes, and lines of a famous landmark in the piazza Santo Spirito.

Day 4 – Discovering the San Giovanni neighborhood in Florence

  • Starting with a Florentine composer and music from the 14th century which will lead to experiences creating art, engaging in a jigsaw, roleplaying, building empathy for a renaissance figure through a Renaissance portrait, and finally with observing the colors, lines, and shapes of Florence’s architecture, and comparing two famous Florentine statues.

Day 5 – Discovering the Santa Maria Novella neighborhood in Florence

  • Connecting with Renaissance Florence using art, music, storytelling, imagination, and letter writing. Includes women artists and final reflections on how to engage learners in any aspect of education through real life learning and meaningful experiences.
  • Visit to Officina Profumo – Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella (the oldest pharmacy in the world).

Day 6 – Course closure & cultural activities

  • Course evaluation: round-up of acquired competencies, feedback, and discussion;
  • Awarding of the course Certificate of Attendance;
  • Excursion and other external cultural activities.

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