New experiential education model premieres for rural students

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Skateboard makers.

Story & photos by Dan Davidson

During the last week in September, 86 students from seven rural communities were in Dawson City for a week of experiential learning as part of the new Northern Rural Experiential Model (REM).

“This new model is a unique approach to expanding options and opportunities for rural students,” Minister of Education Elaine Taylor said. “Students are engaged in cutting edge experiential learning during the day and have the opportunity to participate in additional activities in the evenings.”

Taylor was in Dawson City for a day taking part in the experiential learning week. She observed the sessions in progress and met with participating students.

Each student chose one of eight different sessions to attend for the experiential learning week. On the Land, with Jesse Jewell and George Bahm, focused on increasing student knowledge and understanding of the natural environment through field studies.

Wood Shop, with Gerry Quarton, had the students making their own skateboards.

Guitar and Song Writing, with Steve Slade, learned basic guitar and/or harmonica, as well as song writing and how to run an audio system. They provided the musical entertainment for the REM final assembly.

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Student band.

FEAST (Foods Education and Service Training) was led by Tara McCauley. This group worked on their Food Safe certification and gained hands-on experience by preparing great meals for REM participants throughout the week.

Hair and Esthetics, with Megan Easter,  gave the students hands-on experience learning to style hair, paint nails and various other esthetic skills.

First Nations Fine Art, with Vernon Asp, has students designing First Nations art and learning basic carving techniques by creating paddles.

Digital Art and Film, with Peter Menzies, trained students in film production, including planning, shooting and editing video presentations about the REM workshops.

Textiles, with Kyla Greve, focussed on using various sewing and patterning techniques while creating their own clothing.

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Minister Taylor chats with students.

Out-of-town students stayed at Robert Service School, while local students are following their normal home routines.

“By bringing rural students together and presenting them with these opportunities, they are getting exposure to specialized learning they wouldn’t otherwise receive,” Taylor said.

“This experiential model will allow students to follow their interests as well as help expand the size of their high school peer group.”

This REM session was aimed at students in Grades 10 to 12 from Old Crow, Mayo, Pelly Crossing, Carmacks, Ross River and Faro.

The next northern REM session will be geared towards students in Grades 7 to 9 and will be held in Carmacks next May.

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