Joshua Lawrence

Academy Science Teacher

Joshua Lawrence

“As teachers, we are charged with creating global learners who are open-minded and not afraid to get out of their comfort zones. If I’m not willing to do that, how can my students learn that from me? Getting out of your comfort zone is the best learning anyone can do.”

With that in mind, Academy science teacher Joshua Lawrence leapt at the opportunity to apply for a teaching grant to visit Punahou’s partner school, Viktor Rydberg Gymnasium in Stockholm, Sweden.

This fall, Lawrence will be one of six teachers getting out of their comfort zones at home and launching the new Sustainability by Design course for Academy freshmen, based on the United Nations sustainability goals. The project-based curriculum will include hands-on lab time for students to design projects from windmills to solar panels that directly address social and environmental issues. “We spend a lot of time teaching students about problems, and this class gives them an outlet to be part of a solution,” he said.

Freedom and opportunity to experiment are aspects of teaching at Punahou that Lawrence loves most. Learning from failures, seeing what works and then scaling it up helps him and other educators grow. “This class is the direction the school is moving, and I love being on the first boat leaving,” he says. “We’re pioneers.”