Living Our Mission in the Middle School
By David Johnson, Middle School Bounders Teacher
Carroll alum Will Close ’11, recently shared with me that “Multis”—the arts, physical education, outdoor education programs at Carroll—helped set him on a path to become a lifelong learner.
It wasn’t just writing papers or doing projects in our classrooms that activated his learning. Rather, he discovered his love of education in the Bounders Woods, in the Arts & Innovation Center, in the gym, and on the rock wall. “Using my hands, mind, and heart… that was the combination that helped me to become a lifelong learner,” he says.
“It awakened and activated a passion in me for learning and finding solutions: hurdle jumping, developing confidence in my differences, and having the time and space to find my way in this non-dyslexic world.” says Will.
“Bounders taught me stewardship of the land, what it means to be a member of a community, and most importantly, the ethics and passion I needed to keep learning. These are all very real things that have stuck with me.”
“In public school, they told me I wasn’t good enough at writing. Every day I would go home to draw and sculpt. Getting into college to pursue my art degree was 50% writing/reading… but the other 50% was my dyslexic advantage in action: solving problems creatively, and thinking outside the box.
As Carroll would say, give each child what they need. For me, that was the space, the encouragement, and the instruction to activate my gifts.” says Will.
As a recent college graduate, Will points out that his generation is faced with big problems to tackle like overpopulation, climate change, and political tensions. “Meeting the needs of our society is going to require an aptitude for information thinking, multidisciplinary learning, designing and leading group/community based projects, and sustainability and ethics.”
After graduating from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in May 2021, Will has returned to Carroll as an assistant teacher in the Bounders program, where he shares his passions for nature, art, and the dyslexic advantage.
Will is a talented artist and a natural teacher, and very patient and purposeful. Whenever he teaches a lesson, he strives to tap into the multisensory aspect for our dyslexic learners.
He creates clear and captivating visuals and props that students can hold in their hands, such as a foldable 3D block of wood to demonstrate the inner workings of how a tree grows, and how to carve wood along its grain. He uses storytelling to activate student learning, such as sharing the Swedish history of wood carving. Will even created a ‘Weather Board’ with working knobs and a working thermometer to engage students in the weather forecast.
I have been beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside Will. He has been instrumental in teaching Bounders classes with me, and deepening the curriculum for our students.
“I think a lot of students when they first get to Carroll put themselves down, thinking they are not smart enough or not as capable. It’s really empowering and inspiring to hear from alumni about their dyslexia journey and how they’ve reached success.”
Isa Huang, 8th Grade Student
This article is part of a series from Carroll Connection 22-23: Living our mission every day as an inclusive community of learners
- Carroll Connection 2022-23