We’ve been shouting our delight with Will, our new intern, from the rooftops. Will is not just any intern, he is a BASIS Oro Valley Alumnus, heading into his third year at Princeton University. Will is spending the summer helping us spread the word about BASIS Independent McLean in the northern Virginia community. Could you imagine a better way of spending your summer? We thought we’d bring some of Will’s brilliance to you, put him on the hot seat, and ask him to share with you, our readers, answers to some tough questions about his experience as a BASIS.ed student.

Question: What was your experience like in the classroom?

What distinguishes a BASIS.ed  school is the attitude towards and philosophy of teaching.  At a BASIS.ed school, the teacher isn’t a looming authoritarian figure.  In my experience, teachers treated me not only as a student but also as an academic peer.  BASIS.ed teachers recognize the incredible talent and curiosity within each student, and they truly take the opportunities to encourage their academic development, both within the curriculum and above it. Will_1.jpg

Often, I would have questions about topics not covered in the standard curriculum, and rather than ever being told we wouldn’t need to learn it because it wasn’t going to be tested, my teachers would provide me the time and make the effort to help me lean more.  For me, learning became a dialogue between teacher and student.  My teachers always encouraged us to challenge what we didn’t agree with and to demand evidence and explanation.  My fellow BASIS Oro Valley alumni and I were able to influence our time in the classroom to get what we needed from it.  This often led to us learning extra material within students’ interest or taking time to prove what would otherwise be immediately taken as fact.  This approach to day-to-day learning meant what we learned grew into a more comprehensive understanding of the topic, and come test time, we always knew how to defend theorems and facts, as we had been the ones challenging them before. 

Looking back, teachers didn’t see me as a young person or a child who needed to fit a mold in the classroom; in their eyes I was an academic with his own interests and learning needs.  With the teachers’ respect and admiration for our curiosity as students, they became mentors to us, people we could mentally spar with in friendly debate.  Being seen as a peer truly enabled me to get the most of my education at BASIS Oro Valley and to have a network of academic equals to always turn back to for counsel and commentary.

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