How exciting does that sound? OMG! We’re doing what???!!
Announce the title of this post to your students and behold the wonder in their eyes!
What could an expedition sound like / feel like / look like? What could be possible on such a journey? Unpack the word ‘expedition’ and feel the buzz!
To me, at least, the word expedition conjures up images of adventure, a magical journey, a celebration, something to prepare for, to challenge yourself, to push yourself beyond what you thought possible. Sounds familiar?
(Anyone, anyone…?) That’s right, The PYPx!
Currently, the ‘x’ doesn’t stand for expedition, it stands for exhibition. Each year I spend quite some time explaining that our exhibition is about the process more than the final product which will be shown on the staging days. People look bewildered as to why I’m describing an exhibition as being more about the process, rather than a product.
During the unit itself, we hold parent check-ins every Friday. Students have a process journal; a giant scrap book which shows their learning journey. On staging days we show a video in the ‘PYPx Cinema’, emphasizing the process, the journey, before visitors are invited into the staging area.
However, for many people it remains to be all about the ‘product’ to be shown on the staging days. Some parents see it as a chance for them to try to help out, ‘science fair’ style (if you know what I mean), or to put pressure their children into performing well on the big days. Whilst I’m sure they mean well, this can lead to increased stress levels surrounding the entire process, detracting from the experience and devaluing the journey.
As educators, this is certainly not our intention.
Some people simply cannot get past the image of, well, an exhibition, when hearing the word ‘exhibition’. Perception is, after all, reality.
Let’s consider what the dictionary has to say (oxforddictionaries.com):
“A public display of works of art or items of interest, held in an art gallery or museum or at a trade fair.”
(Hmm, no wonder the misconceptions persist!)
From the same dictionary:
“A journey undertaken by a group of people with a particular purpose, especially that of exploration, research, or war.” (Exploration, research… I love it!)
“setting out with aggressive intent”. (An aggressive inquiry…WOW!)
I suggest that we can solve this with a simple word change. A few letters, to make a world of difference.
I’d love to know your thoughts on this, and I’ve made a 1 question Google Form to get your personal decision on the matter.
Who’s joining the PYPxpedition?
UPDATE: March 16th 2019
40 people have responded so far to the simple question “Exhibition or Expedition?”
Here are the results: