July 17, 2018 – Several Fordham Prep students, along with Mr. Ed Jennings, history and religion teacher, are taking part in a two-week long, in-depth learning experience called Expeditionaries. The unique pedagogical style is the brainchild of long-time educator and member of the Fordham Prep board of trustees, Christian Talbot, and offered the opportunity for students to learn what it means to be a social entrepreneur rooted in Ignatian principles.
In week one of the two-week course, teams use design thinking to imagine craft solutions using aluminum cans. They also practiced Ignatian reflection to help identify their top five strengths. The second week prompted the students to use STEM and humanities to prototype a solution to a given social problem. The course culminates with a pitch to a CEO panel and community audience. Fordham Prep joined students from two other schools who took part in the program, located in midtown Manhattan.
Talbot, who, outside of his service on the Fordham Prep board, has been a teacher at Regis High School for 14 years, is a life-long educator, previously teaching at Malvern Prep in Pennsylvania. He believes strongly in Jesuit education, evident in his background at Regis as both teacher and board member, at Fordham Prep on the board, and with a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown.
As he pointed out, his experiences of Jesuit ideology provided direct inspiration for the Expeditionaries program.
“The Jesuits preach going out to the margins and seeing God in all things. These tenets are what make the program so relevant,” he said. “What makes Expeditionaries so unique is that is turns traditional pedagogy on its head. Like the Jesuits and exploring new areas, this program puts the power in the hands of the students and not the teachers.” He went on, “It builds off student’s strengths and not their weaknesses. They do the problem solving. They learn about what is important to them. There are no test cases or working off deficiencies.” He went on, “It’s NOT about filling in knowledge gaps, but, instead, it’s about critical thinking.”
To keep the Jesuit theme, he added, “It’s really about finding the common good. Teamwork is essential to the success of the students. That is more important than individual accomplishment and that’s another tenet the Jesuits believe strongly.”