Educational excellence is embedded in our DNA
Our educational philosophy places the student at the center of the learning process, surrounded by what we know through research and experience are the skills that a student needs in order to succeed in school, in college, in the workplace and throughout life.
We recognize that every student who comes to an Envision program comes with a strong foundation of achievement and a unique background that reflects the families, schools and communities in which they are a part of. Our programs build on this foundation with a range of content that interests students, motivates their active participation and inspires them to step out of their comfort zone and expand their personal development.
Five Key Elements
The five elements that have guided Envision’s educational philosophy since its inception are solidly grounded in research about essential skills and best learning practices. Using real-life simulations, role-playing activities, problem-based and project-based learning strategies, these key elements are infused into all of our programs:
Based on this philosophy, our programs offer hands-on, age-appropriate learning experiences for students from the 3rd grade through college, creating unique opportunities that encourage them to explore and develop their own personal leadership potential. We adhere to educational goals and standards that provide a learning progression for students to develop the essential skills set for success: self-awareness and self-efficacy; self-direction; effective communication; social and cross-cultural awareness and skills; and the capacity for critical and creative thinking. Our insistence on educational excellence creates real-world experiences that offer a lifetime advantage.
Real-world Experience: What you should look for in an experiential leadership education program
Over the course of a year, students spend only 14% of their time in school, leaving a significant portion of time for learning to take place in other settings. In addition, because of the constraints of testing, time and subject barriers that they face every day, even our best teachers find it more and more difficult to meet all of today’s learning demands. As a result, out-of-school educational programs are no longer viewed as nice add-on activities, but are instead critical to developing the life success skills necessary to compete in the 21st Century.
The good news is that leadership can be learned, but only through a student-centered, active learning process. Based on decades of research, experts in education now agree on five key principles that describe effective leadership education—principles that track closely with the key elements of our educational approach:
- Students learn about effective leadership through shared examples and through time spent identifying, applying and practicing these skills.
- Leadership has to be learned through active learning where students step into leadership roles, taking risks in their actions, being able to make mistakes, revising strategies and improving leadership skills.
- Students learn how to function as groups of leaders through teamwork, collaboration and networking with peers.
- Having adults as mentors, guides, and collaborators in learning is important.
- Raising students’ awareness, understanding and tolerance of other people and cultures is essential to being an effective leader and developing the capacity for excellent communication and problem-solving.
For more information about the pedagogical foundation that makes our educational approach the most effective way to learn these critical 21st Century skills, see our white paper, Experiential Leadership Education: Building the Foundation for a Lifetime of Success.
Lifetime Advantage: Skills for competing in a global economy
Success in the digitally and globally integrated world of the 21st Century requires skills like self awareness and self-confidence, goal setting, public speaking and active listening, teamwork and cross-cultural awareness, and critical and creative thinking—all skills upon which our programs focus.
Current research underscores that education programs that assist students in developing these social and emotional skills will provide a lifetime of benefits.
- A growing body of research demonstrates that students learn more deeply if they have engaged in activities that require applying classroom-gathered knowledge to real-world problems. (Darling-Hammond and others, Powerful Learning: What We Know About Teaching for Understanding, 2008).
- Students who had more developed social and emotional skills exhibited greater leadership skills, received higher grades and demonstrated a better ability to persist in challenging situations (Scales and Leffert, Developmental Assets: A Synthesis of the Scientific Research on Adolescent Development, 2004).
- Using data from the National Education Longitudinal Study, researchers found that 67% of students “benefited more” from developing non-academic skills than from improving math skills, resulting in higher rates for entering and completing college. (Deke and Haimson, Expanding Beyond Academics: Who Benefits and How?, 2006).
- Nearly 90 % of "star performers" success is attributed to such emotional competencies as influence, team leadership, political awareness, self-confidence and achievement drive. (Goleman, Working With Emotional Intelligence, 1998)
- An analysis of 207 programs involving an estimated 288,000 students across the U.S. found that students who participated in after-school social and emotional learning activities, mostly conducted away from school settings, enjoyed significant improvements in their academic performance, life success skills, attitudes and leadership ability. (Durlak and Weissberg, The Impact of After School Programs That Promote Personal and Social Skills, 2007).
For more information, download our white paper, Developing the Skills for Success: What We Know about Learning for the 21st Century.