Lynn Freiji

Ashoka Fellow
Egypt
Fellow Since 2003

Citation

This profile was prepared when Lynn Freiji was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2003.
The New Idea
Lynn wants to replace the stale, outdated pedagogic methods that characterize science education in today's classrooms with a hands-on, child-centered approach that gets students out of their classrooms and into the world. The 40 or more structured outdoor activities (usually half-day or day-long field trips) she has designed put children ages 6 to 11 at the center of learning; encourage them to explore nature, science, and history in ways that are fun and instructive; and link directly to the homeroom lessons in the national science curriculum. Rather than learning by rote, children learn by doing; they discover, explore, and deduce scientific principles based on their experiences, experiments, and observations. In the process, they gain confidence in their creativity and critical thinking skills and learn to formulate, articulate, and refine hypotheses.
Lynn has spent the past few years developing and improving her curriculum, designing a pilot field center, and welcoming her first classroom groups (the learners) and university students (the teachers and curriculum developers). She is now pursuing a national plan to introduce outdoor field centers as a standard in communities throughout the country, and by doing so, to begin changing the prevailing approach to learning. Lynn has a clear plan for moving her idea forward. Having gotten the curriculum more or less right–through trial, error, and adjustment–she is making it available broadly. This includes translating it into Arabic (which she and her team have just finished), linking with appropriate education partners to coordinate with schools and the Ministry of Education, and finding the right fee structure to sustain the effort and reach poor communities. Right now, she is experimenting with cross-subsidizing based on per-student or per-schools fees paid by students of comparatively well-off families.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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