“I don’t want to teach you about apples – I want you to walk in an orchard and eat them.”
We at the Academy have a vision of self-directed learning. We believe that the student’s learning is not dependent on the teacher. The teacher’s job is to teach them how to learn. We believe that the motivation to learn comes from within. Curiosity, the satisfaction of accomplishment and the desire to achieve far outweigh the grade.
But this is not a simple sound bite. The Academy has a vision and a culture that creates an environment that allows this to happen. Our students come to us form many backgrounds, but few if any, have anything remaining of the child-like wonder that was present in their first years of school. Our teachers nurture, our roles are negotiated and agreed upon, our teachers are the facilitators. We put the power in the hands of the learner, but this means that they must assume responsibility for their own learning and their own choices.
How to Achieve it
To this end we train our teachers with a clear collective vision, we provide the technology for the “Flipped Classroom” and we develop open and honest communication with our clients – the parents – to get their support.
The “Flipped Classroom” concept is a departure from teacher – centred learning. Compare these pedagogies: A student walks into a classroom with no idea what they will be learning or “taught” that day. The teacher stands in front and describes and explains the content, the student then takes away questions based on the content, to assess their comprehension. They complete the questions in isolation (at home) and hand them to the teacher. The teacher marks them in isolation and then returns them to the student (the next week, month or whenever). The student scans through all the painfully constructed comments straight to the grade and judges their success by the grade alone. They do not learn or develop their knowledge and understanding, they do not know how or why they were right or wrong.
Alternatively, the student accesses the content before the lesson, they see the Learning Objectives (what they need to know); they see the Success Criteria (how they can prove that they know it); they read the text, watch the videos, consider the questions and then when they walk into the classroom they engage with the facilitator, they process the information and construct new understanding from it; they answer the questions in class, developing their knowledge under the direction of the facilitator and in the end see that they have achieved success.
Which do you prefer? At the Academy our vision is to consistently achieve the latter.