Headmaster Trevor Ott building the bridge for our reclaimed campus pond with student Jon Villareal
LETTER FROM THE
I get asked from time to time whether or not Delphian spends too much time pushing students out of the classroom and into the wider world, into experience, into practical problems and into life. When we are talking about an apprenticeship or a trip to another country for humanitarian work, it’s easy to quickly answer no. Those things look great on the transcript, after all. No, we have not gone too far. But what about a walk in the woods? The decision to play all three sports or to spend two weeks building a bridge by the pond? For some, answers to these are slower in coming and less sure. Have we lost our focus on academics? The real question being asked: has academic potential suffered as a result of time spent outside the classroom? Well, questions along this line are important to ask. For me, they all have the same answer: No.
Suppose we had a classroom in which a child had to spend five, six, seven hours a day grinding away, grinding away and
never got outside. We would suppose with that much study the child would learn something. But we see by experience that
the more time he or she spends inside over a certain ratio the less he or she actually learns. There is something wrong here.
If you want children educated, you are going to have to furnish them an extroversion factor adequate to the introversion
factor that happens in education. You have to give them enough time outside and under good control.
- L. Ron Hubbard
What amount of extroversion is “adequate”? I don’t know for sure, but I can tell you that we haven’t reached it yet. I know this because every time we have increased our push to get students out of the classroom and into various other activities, we have seen an increase in academic performance. I imagine that some day we will reach a point of diminishing returns, but we aren’t there yet.
So at Delphian we are searching for the perfect balance between these two things described above. If asked for advice along this line, I’d say even to a student laser-focused on purely academic study, “Let’s get outside.”