Education is derived from the french word ‘Educere’ which means coming out of darkness – the darkness of the mind. It is the primary foundation in the progress of an individual and has been the backbone of a nation in aspects of its growth and development. It is the most important aspect in the all-around grooming of society and its progressive thinking. The foundation is laid by the apt functioning of an education system, where schools are the prima facie, which play an exquisite role of building blocks and a stepping stone for an individual. The toddlers today will be the future of the country tomorrow. Their primary training process is the key factor in shaping their overall personality not only in the terms of acquisition of bookish knowledge but in providing nourishment to the thought processes of the child in dealing with the nitty-gritty of life. Education today is no more concerned only with acquiring educational degrees and monetary status in life but facilitates the cultivation of cognitive abilities in the present age of cut-throat competition. Hence to promote these abilities in an individual, a school needs to focus on aspects that would nurture development and evoke curiosity in the young learners.
Gone are the days of traditional schooling and its monotonal format, the current scenario of schools is more flexible and has adopted varied quality of curriculums promoting the overall grooming of the child in the most extraordinary ways. In such an atmosphere, the child has the freedom to create its imaginary world and is freed from the shackles of mental blocks and countless inhibitions. Their focus now lies in unraveling the child’s ingrained talents and instincts which ultimately promote a favorable environment that in turn flourishes the child towards new horizons of self-exploration. The multi-faceted exposure they receive under one roof enables them to imbibe knowledge in fun-learning ways that inculcate values and discipline for life.
There is an age-old adage that ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him once, but teach him how to catch a fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. This infers that impart skill and you enable the individual for life. Reciprocating the concept is one such example of an integrated school in Gottingen, Germany that has acquired the title of being an exceptional school. Let’s have a glimpse into their world and try getting an insight into their perceptions towards bringing a sea of change and widening the dimensions to the conventional methods of teaching.
In this comprehensive school, students who would normally attend different schools (grammar school, elementary school, or secondary school) learn together successfully. Many of the students learning here who nobody thought they would even qualify from an elementary school can prove their mettle and what they are capable of. And most importantly above everything else, what matters is all students enjoy the learning process here. The school has also received the prestigious German School Prize for this. The Leichtenberg Comprehensive School stands apart in many aspects from a ” Regular ” school, nevertheless or precisely because of this, the students perform exceptionally well in their school-leaving qualifications. According to the brain researcher Gerald Huether, this is because the students almost exclusively familiarize themselves with the study material on their own; they enjoy the passion of discovering and therefore put forth a special effort.
Here learning works without pressure, because at the Lichtenberg School there are no grades up to the eighth grade. The Students receive feedback in the form of reports once every semester. In addition to the information on performance, there is also a lot which deals with the strengths of the students and their development. In addition, there are tips and guidance on how the students can compensate for their weaknesses. The strengths and weaknesses of the pupils are also utilized in the so-called “table group activities”. Six pupils work at a table. Here the pupils discuss, contribute their ideas and find solutions – everyone can and should participate and contribute to the discussion. The stronger ones support the weaker as guiding stars. These roles can even change constantly: In subjects like German or English, the maths professional may suddenly be among the weaker ones and may need support. The students not only have a special relationship with each other but also with their teachers in the school. Each class has two class teachers.
The teachers at the Lichtenberg School are “learning companions” and supervisors, teachers, and students are on exceptional cordial terms. All classrooms of an academic year are next to each other and the doors are always open. The teachers in one academic year form a large team and exchange ideas intensively. Here the teachers know their subject matter thoroughly and the students in their own and other classes as well. Even after the class, things are different from other schools. The students have weekly assignments that they do together or individually in the afternoon at school. Everything that the students have worked on acquired and learned in school, they have to present to their parents four times a year. At these meetings, they talk about conflicts and successes, report on projects and their plans. Of course, some parents have doubts about how a school could function without grades, without classical lessons and teaching methods. However, the successes and the joy of learning of the children show how well the concept works.
In conclusion, I would say, any structured and organized system is perfect, however, its implementation and execution in the apt methods is most important as it helps the students to catch their ”own fish” for life and makes them independent citizens who conquer the hurdles themselves and emerge as the true achievers.
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