There are some teachers, students and parents who are demanding a radically different education system.
We are very excited to offer an alternative transformative Teal free school. In 2 weeks we have our first planning meeting for those who have a similar passion to myself, the school is in this form, the Teal element is based on a school set up in 2007.
On my website is a 5 page case study and here are some fabulous highlights that will make your heart sing:
1) You can sense the children’s presence, the way they walk and interact. There is no adolescent posturing, no competition of cool. The school claims in its founding principles that all children are unique, that they all have talents to contribute, that they are valuable, valued, and needed.
2) How are these principles translated in the school? First and foremost, children are given full responsibility for their learning. To a large degree, students teach themselves and each other. Classes mix several grades―students from grades 7, 8, and 9 learn together. Adults are mostly mentors and coaches and only act as teachers in the traditional sense when needed.
3) Because learning is self-paced, the school has become unusually inclusive. In every classroom, there are children with autism and with light or severe learning disabilities. The student body has an unusually broad spectrum of social backgrounds: 20 per cent of students come from a minority background, and 25 per cent are eligible for subsidized meals; roughly a quarter of the students come from the other end of the spectrum, from very privileged backgrounds.
4) It’s not a free-for-all. Every child has a one-on-one meeting every week on Friday with their tutor-teacher. Through these weekly one-on-one discussions, teachers and students know each other on a much deeper level than in traditional schools. The children know: Someone cares about me; someone is there to listen. Students are encouraged to find out what matters to them, to aim high, to fail, to try again, and to celebrate their accomplishments. They learn that their voice matters, that they can make a difference, that others need them and that they need others.
5) All year long in grades 7 and 8, students spend two hours every Wednesday outside of school in a class called “Responsibility.” In counsel with their tutor-teacher, the children find themselves an activity where they can make a meaningful contribution while learning at the same time. Children experience what it’s like to take initiative, to be needed, and to make a difference in other people’s lives.
6) In grades 8, 9, and 10, students have a class called “Challenge” They are invited to delve into some inner potential that lies dormant. During the year, they organize and prepare for a special three-week session, where they, alone or in small groups, will challenge themselves to step out of their comfort zone. The experience is often taxing, but students rave about their accomplishments and the personal growth they experienced, confronting their fears and growing beyond them.
7) The most daring experiment with student self-management is currently underway. At the end of grade 12, students in Germany must pass a state exam; the grades they get determine what university they can apply to. The stakes are so high that grades 10, 11, and 12 have thus far relied on more traditional teaching-to-the-test methods than students and faculty would like. Could it be possible, students and faculty wondered, to completely redesign the curriculum of grades 10, 11, and 12 in accordance with the school’s guiding principles, while still preparing students well for the state exam? Watch this space!
8) Teachers self-manage too. Teaching is often a lonely profession; here it is a team sport. Every class has two tutor-teachers, so all teachers’ work in tandem. Three classes form a mini-school― they share a floor with a small faculty room where the six teachers meet weekly.
All it takes, really, is to look at children, teachers, parents, and education with fresh eyes. Are you ready to become part of a transformation in education, if so drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org