Reimagining the role of education: Secondary at Regent

At Regent International School our newly launched Secondary Phase (now accepting enrolments for AY 2020-21) has a unique and rigorous curriculum in place which empowers pupils to critically reflect, communicate, collaborate, and create; skills required to thrive in the job market of the future.

With the introduction of classroom technology and a shift in what is considered effective pedagogy in preparing our students for life, the most innovative schools have ensured that classroom environments are aligned with the way we now teach and learn and the learning skills that we want to develop. This has certainly been the case at Regent International School.

With our Secondary section opening next September (with the introduction of Year 7), our priority is to ensure that the Curriculum design and learning environments are aligned with the rest of the school; even if that means pushing against the more traditional aspects of Secondary provision. We know that a “Future- Proof” classroom will certainly appeal to our students and teachers better than a more traditional classroom and let me explain why….

A traditional classroom favours the use of text books over technology, which does not enable students to adequately develop their digital skills. The over-reliance on textbooks also means that pupils have virtually zero opportunities to develop learning skills and engage in collaborative learning ; they are taught that there is a right answer and a wrong answer and any form of discussion, dialogue or debate is futile; mastery of skills is an alien concept. Students in traditional classrooms rely on the face to face contact with teachers, and whilst the importance of human contact and interaction must not be underestimated, imagine if the class teacher doesn’t quite have the depth of knowledge to stretch and challenge the pupils. A lack of personalized learning and quick, systematic coverage results in a “one size fits all” approach, leaving many pupils left behind and many pupils under-challenged, not to mention bored and disengaged!  Traditional approaches often mean that teachers (and students) rely on tests and exams to indicate how well the pupils is achieving now. The stress and anxiety caused by the focus of this very narrow measure is surely not befitting with today’s focus on student wellbeing.

Now, switch to a “Future- Proof” Classroom (like those you would see at Regent) and think about how the Secondary section may look and feel.  It is very important that learning environments are set up to match the way teaching and learning takes place. Flexible seating arrangements give an element of choice to the learner. After all, who did ever make the discovery that children learn best when sitting in exactly the same position in every lesson? For us, student comfort is vital!  The teacher is not the knowledge- giver, but the enabler of fantastic learning. Technology and search engines can provide students with the information they need in real-time for real-life projects, while there’s a host of academic and online learning platforms learners of all ages can access and further their own education independently.  However, these digital tools & knowledge sources cannot replace the guidance and support that a teacher can give as a facilitator of highly effective learning and the associated skills, such as enabling students to leverage these digital tools for their own success and make informed decisions about these knowledge sources.

Student achievement should not be measured solely by the outcome of tests; on going assessment takes place in every lesson in a future-prep classroom. Moreover, the students are the ones measuring their achievement because they are precisely clear on what their personalized targets are, how to achieve them and how to evidence their own progress by delving deep into the mastery and depth of learnt concepts. Technology and learning aids ensure the pace and fluidity at which the students learn both independently and collaboratively and act as a very valuable tool for presenting findings to various audiences. Future Proof classrooms like those at Regent, have an eye on the future; pupils collaborate, innovate and create; all skills to thrive in subsequent employment.

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