Dr. Wendy Weiner, Self-Discovery through STEAM and PBL

The Path to Higher Ed is a SchooLinks hosted podcast community that explores trending topics and issues in the area of college and career readiness. Our featured guests are pushing education forward by constantly learning from, innovating and applying their college and career readiness practices. Listen to gain their insights and apply them to your own college and career readiness practices.

Today, we’re speaking with Dr. Wendy Weiner, Principal at the Conservatory Prep Senior High School. At Conservatory Prep, Dr. Weiner is building college and career readiness through hands-on, immersive PBL/STEAM learning. With a belief that students should go through self-discovery before choosing their majors and careers, Dr. Weiner’s perspective on this episode is both insightful and timely.

About Dr. Wendy Weiner

Dr. Weiner is the Founder and Principal of Conservatory Prep Schools, Inc. in Davie, Florida. Dr. Weiner has committed her career to being an educator and advocate for students who are not able to meet their potential in a traditional school setting. She has also designed alternative curricula for several educational institutions, including the University of Miami.

Through her extensive educational background, Dr. Weiner has accumulated tremendous experience and knowledge, which she employs through her Edluministic philosophy to assist students having a wide variety of learning needs. Dr. Weiner can be reached through the school’s website or by calling (954) 680–5808.

About Conservatory Prep High School

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, Dr. Weiner 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, their targeted population has strong conceptual 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.

This approach called Edluministic Learning methodology, developed by Dr. Weiner, 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.

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