Problem: Established in 1960 in Brisbane, Australia, this private Anglican school believes that policies such as standardization, the use of a single test to measure the efficiency of an education system, and the independent teaching of disciplines go against the real world needs of the student. The school also confronts the problem of a lack of preparation of, and investment in, teachers.
Solutions: The pedagogical practices of the school are developed according to the needs of its students, who are encouraged to be autonomous, apply knowledge acquired in the real world, and learn through their personal interests and passions.
One of the ways of achieving these goals is through the adoption of the Big History Project, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which challenges students to develop their own curriculum, through reformulation, self-assessment and setting their own goals in tackling the big questions about the history of the universe. Another project, Independent Studies Time, lets them create learning projects on a topic related to arts or technology, choose teachers who will be their mentors, and allocate resources and space needed for the project. They will also participate in social projects, such as activities in needy communities.
The construction of learning through the acquiring of skills such as creativity, empathy, entrepreneurship, resilience, persistence and collaboration, takes place by adapting studies to the student’s needs, through the application of indicators that determine the direction, pace and skill level reached. A professional preparation program also deals with issues such as self-awareness, seeking opportunities, decision making and the transition between school and employment.
Technology is used as a learning support. In addition to libraries, the school has a technological design center, where students can develop and carry out experiments. There are a number of extracurricular activities, such as music, theater, dance, sports, chess, photography and journalism. Since 2009, the school has operated a training center for teachers, where they can study and research innovative educational practices. Parents and the community are active participants.
Outcomes: The school's teaching method allows students to develop the flexibility and confidence necessary to shape their own future. It prepares them to adapt to changes and the environmental challenges in which they live. It encourages analytical and critical thinking, collaborative work and communication. The school was chosen to be a study laboratory for the Learning Frontiers project, which researches and publicizes ways to increase the engagement of Australian students in learning.