Time to Refocus and Reflect

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On Thompson Island, we often use the winter season to reflect. As the Island’s classrooms and dormitories become quiet and still, we ask ourselves: How can we make what do well, even better?

This year the question takes on both a local and national view.

Across the country, Outward Bound professionals are focusing on the connection between what makes the OB model for character building great and the skill and experience of our best instructors – a national research endeavor with Thompson Island Outward Bound’s own Arthur Pearson at the helm.

Known as The Outward Bound Professional Learning Lab, or “the Lab” for short, this project, funded by the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation, will establish processes to measure both student outcomes and instructional quality across a broad range of Outward Bound programs, assess their impact, and incorporate their results into industry-leading professional learning curricula. The work will be designed to be adaptable to a range of program delivery environments.

Thompson Island’s Executive Director, Arthur Pearson, was selected to serve as the Director of the Learning Lab (while continuing his duties at TIOBEC) and has been hard at work with the the Lab team touring Outward Bound schools since the project launched in July of 2017. At each regional school they visited, the Lab team listened, observed, and communicated with staff at all levels of the organization, collecting video and audio data for review.

“Outward Bound has been a leader in experiential education in the U.S. for more than 50 years,” said Arthur. “Now, thanks to the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, we have the opportunity to have an even greater impact on youth across the country for years to come. We will enhance the professional development of our outstanding instructors and share best practices with the other youth-serving recipients of the Foundation’s grants.”

For the official press release announcement of the Outward Bound Professional Learning Lab, click here.