The purpose of learning at Conservatory Prep is to spark critical thinking, a passion for knowledge, and independent learning through a combined method of arts-integration and problem-based learning. The methodology was designed to meet the needs of twice-exceptional students. Many of these individuals are designated as gifted and most had not performed to their potential in previous schools. Through extensive observation over 15 years, the author has found that this population of students learns directly opposite the way the traditional lesson plan structure, based upon Bloom’s taxonomy, has been created. Instead of learning facts and a sequence of information leading towards the greater concept, our targeted population has strong conceptional skills and abstract reasoning and very poor concrete, sequential skills, therefore these students are most successful with a program starting with the concepts and working backwards to learn the facts and order.
The Edluministic Learning methodology, developed by Dr. Weiner, founder of Conservatory Prep, integrates the performing and visual arts and problem based learning as the core of its teaching strategy. Problem-based learning strategies are used to bring an issue of concern to the students and to have them come to their own conclusions through inductive reasoning. Edluministic Learning involves having students work collaboratively with their peers through theatrical plays, musical interludes, art projects, research assignments and presentations utilizing technology and public speaking skills. Students are given examples of the issue and it is for the teacher to guide the student to develop observation skills, determine patterns and substantiate a conclusion. The processing segment of the lesson is conducted through the arts (visual and/or performing) rather than using worksheets, memorization of flashcards, etc. Whether it be determining how and why the pyramids were built in Egypt, the best way to repair a painting in chemistry, writing a script on the current political situation in Guatemala (in Spanish of course), or solutions for managing a budget, students will need to think, collect data, synthesize, analyze and come up with their own solutions through creative, higher-order thinking means and artistic self-expression.
“Powerful Practices, as observed and reported by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – April, 2014, Involving all subject areas through annual themes and an integrated curriculum provides a foundation for students to become self-confident, adaptable, critical thinkers.
Parents spoke of the school’s ability to support their child’s growth with interpersonal relations, the arts, science, math, language, writing, music, and life skills in a manner that bolstered their happiness, well-being, and renewed their enthusiasm to learn. Students are encouraged to flourish as individuals and find their own passion in life.
Learning is important to the school; what is within the control of the school reflects an unwavering focus on student learning, maintenance of a culture of respect, social interaction, and unstructured positive exchanges of information among students. The concept of collective efficacy is well understood: “We believe we can make a difference and we are making every effort to prove it… My radar hits the ground and you can’t fly under it.”
To build a college bound learning community of gifted learners with a passion for creativity and experiential learning. Our aim is to guide students on their own journey of discovery to find their inner voice through artistic expression. By using the stage as our classroom, we encourage students and teachers to think creatively and explore diverse interests, with the goal of achieving high academic and artistic standards. Our students are unique individuals who tend to view the world through abstract connections and respond with insight and imagination. We embrace the diversity of our student population and welcome families from a variety of ethnic, religious, cultural and economic backgrounds. We strive to promote citizenship by teaching our students to respect and learn from each others’ differences, and to celebrate each others’ accomplishments. Conservatory Prep will seek out, acknowledge and build upon each student’s natural curiosity and learning style preferences. Our methodology is to construct knowledge through exploration, experiment and discovery and to establish strong connections between the arts and academics.