The Sam Chaltain learning keynote talks about the value of positive classroom experiences as well as the learning experiences that happen in programs outside of the classroom. He says that these outside the classroom experiences can often be our most powerful, which could be during an Outward Bound programs, AA, church missions or even prison sentences. Chaltain says that the healthiest learning environments must be challenging, engaging, relevant, supportive and experiential.
We have to stop structuring learning like an assembly line. School systems tend to create an environment for kids that focus on the feelings of passiveness, isolation, conformity and following the rules. We need instead to be providing young people with serious life skills such as communication, collaboration, curiosity, leadership, self-awareness, creativity and critical thinking.
Chaltain says that intellectual learning is only one thing, we also need to cater to our emotional and spiritual needs. He truly believes that if we had schools that focused on those needs, young people would be much more engaged and focused enough to make a great impact on the world.