[Above: Andrew Nimmer talking about his 12 months of growth and learning while in the Public Allies Teaching Fellowship Program at Eagle Rock.]
One of the leadership practices in our training and learning program is the Presentation of Learning (or “POL”) . Eagle Rock defines this practice as such:
Three times a year, at the end of every trimester, all students at Eagle Rock give Presentations of Learning (POLs). These are not about getting credit in courses; students either have or have not documented learning to a level of mastery in their courses. POLs are an overarching tool for students, allowing them to pause in learning, reflect, synthesize, and analyze. They consider both personal and academic growth, link their learning to past learning, and project future learning goals.
In front of a panel of people from outside Eagle Rock, they make a case that they have learned. They have already sent their panelists packets to introduce themselves. It consists of a cover letter; an autobiography; a resume; a list of learning experiences, service projects, books read, and ambassador activities (such as helping to make a presentation at a conference); a personal growth reflection called “I Used to Be … But Now I Am”; and a statement of their individual, evolving personal moral and ethical code.
For fifteen minutes, students present themselves as learners to this panel and an audience composed of their peers, staff, family, and friends. First the panel, then the audience ask questions of the student, forcing extemporaneous thinking and response. It’s a good learning experience as well as an accountability tool for the whole school.
As this practice started in Eagle Rock, it has spread to all of our sites across all of our national network. Usually, this occurs prior to graduation. However, some sites will invite Allies to deliver a “Mid-Year” POL in February, which is a shorter presentation, but allows the Ally to practice this format.
If you intend on becoming an Ally, you will be expected to be able to practice continuous learning, and be accountable to your community in terms of sharing what you have learned and how you intend to change your leaderhsip practice. Stay tuned to this blog as we feature more “POL”s from across the network.