Why LEAP Matters

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

Students learn best when they are actively engaged with what they’re learning.

That’s why WorldStrides’ high school- and middle school-level programs use the LEAP philosophy—our own unique experiential learning philosophy rooted in our over 50 years of taking students abroad—to make sure students actively engage with the places they visit to get the most out of their experience.

LEAP is a WorldStrides tool, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it yourself, at home or abroad. Here’s an overview of what LEAP is and how it can change how your students learn, in the classroom and out:


What is LEAP?

LEAP stands for “Learning through Exploring and Actively Participating.” LEAP is designed so your students interact with their surroundings, with the goal of making sure your students:

  • Are engaged through hands-on activities.
  • Are challenged to think critically and from different points of view.
  • Grow personally and intellectually.


What does LEAP look like on tour, and what is LEAP not?

In practice, LEAP takes on all kinds of fun and entertaining forms, depending on the specific program and destination. Most middle school and high school-level programs include at least one LEAP activity.

For example, “Painter’s Provence” is a LEAP activity that has students make an argument for why a particular French painting should be included in a gallery. “Seize the Chateau” is another LEAP activity where students where students are put in the shoes of the monarchy, clergy, nobility, bourgeoisie, or peasantry to explore the issues underlying the French Revolution.

But LEAP is so much more than just activities—LEAP is the entire relationship between each student, the places they encounter, and their trained Course Leader or Tour Director acting as a cultural mediator. That means throughout the entirety of each tour, students are engaged in the learning process, not just observing. LEAP is NOT just sitting and taking notes, listening, or watching.


What is the teaching philosophy behind LEAP?

LEAP is based on Howard Gardener’s theory of multiple intelligences and it is also anchored in experiential learning theory, which bases learning on experience and builds on reflection and application. Every Course Leader and Tour Director is trained to apply these principles of LEAP in every tour:

  • Individual accountability

LEAP is most effective when students feel known and recognized. Students develop unique ideas and practice expressing them publicly.

  • Sustained curiosity

LEAP is not a fixed set of activities—it is a way of being that is present throughout a program. All students are expected to participate.

  • Cooperative learning

Working with a range of people is a skill coveted by colleges and employers. On our programs, students meet new people, share perspectives, and recognize the value of others.

  • Non-traditional learning contexts

Teachers and students are in new territory when they leave the classroom. We help them interact with each other and build a community of learning.

  • Customized content delivery

LEAP is never the same from group to group. We incorporate student profiles and student participation into our delivery.


Is LEAP just an educational travel tool?

Absolutely not! LEAP is a WorldStrides philosophy, but it isn’t contained to just our travel experience—It’s something you can use and apply anywhere.

LEAP can allow for some incredible creativity in the classroom. Some of the LEAP suggestions I mentioned above allow the students to choose their approach to how they learn the content.

Create your own activities and ways to incorporate LEAP into your classroom, and watch overall understanding of a topic grow!

Now that you know the educational value of our tours, plan one here…

Article written by Wendy Amato

Wendy Amato
Wendy leads education efforts across WorldStrides' family of brands, demonstrating to educators and students of all ages the transformative learning opportunities that come with travel. When she's not planning or presenting innovative professional development for teachers, writing online courses for students, or inspiring WorldStrides employees across the globe, she likes to spend time enjoying the company of her many friends and family. Follow Wendy on Instagram @wendy_education.
Categories: Education

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