PRINCIPAL MRS TSAE WONG
Innovative Approaches to Education
Recently, via one of the numerous professional networking sites I subscribe to, I came across an article outlining the 13 most innovative schools in the world. The author emphasised that an innovative education may be presented in various forms so as to address the varying educational needs specific to different communities. An innovative education is one that looks creatively at how the learning needs of the community can be addressed in a holistic way; not just merely providing a modern learning environment or an environment furnished with the most modern technology.
I am sharing a few examples of schools in which I think I would enjoy learning.
- The school in a cube - Ørestad Gymnasium in Copenhagen, Denmark. The school was designed so as to encourage students to collaborate in open spaces allowing them to take an active role in their own education. The flexibility in the use of space allows the students to break off into groups and find a suitable learning space under the guidance of their teachers, emphasising the importance of transforming knowledge into action.
- The School of Silicon Valley – AltSchool in San Francisco, California. At this school, the students turn everyday objects into circuit boards and learn about 3D modelling. Once again, this school aims to educate the whole child. In addition to the teaching of knowledge, it emphasises the teaching of life skills such as problem-solving, social-emotional learning and goal-setting.
- The School for Building Community – Sra Pou Vocational School in Sra Pou Village, Cambodia. This school was built by community members for the community. The architects used the building process as a lesson for the community, so that they could replicate the design elsewhere, thereby equipping them with building skills, and enabling them to be self-sufficient in the long run. When the school is not in session, the school building serves as a town hall, for democratic town hall community meetings.
- The School that Bridges High School and College – P-TECH High School in Brooklyn, New York. This school was launched by IBM to accelerate the pathway to completing an associate university degree during high school, through mentorship and internships in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. It offers the students options that they could not imagine.
- The School that Thinks Different – Steve Jobs School in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. In this school, the students learn at their own individual pace with an Individual Development Plan (IDP). These plans are evaluated and readjusted every six weeks by the student, his/her parents and the coach, i.e. teacher. This totally individualised approach allows the students to design their own education with adults’ input.
- The School Built like an Office – Carpe Diem Schools in Aiken, Ohio. The school looks more like an office building with a learning centre furnished with 300 cubicles for each of the 300 students. Each student’s learning is personalised based on the school's understanding of the students. It is focused on helping each student to succeed using online resources. This school outperformed other schools in the county four years in a row, with increased reading levels equivalent to three years, in just one year! Again, it focuses on “every student is different” by adjusting to their needs so they enjoy success. The school judges its success by the students’ success.
Which one is your favourite? Or are you like me, with several favourites? I would love to hear your thoughts. Email me (email@example.com) the one you think we should strive to emulate at Trinity and why.
Reference: Willer, C. (2015). The 13 Most Innovative Schools in the World. http://www.techinsider.io/the-13-most-innovative-schools-in-the-world-2015-9 access on 15 August 2016.
Mrs Tsae Wong
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