Some small changes

Some parents have commented on how their children have become decidedly one-sided in their academic pursuits. Concentrating on one subject at a time is not problematic in itself. And as many parents discovered during lockdown, alternating constantly between subjects can actually be seriously inefficient.

But there’s a limit to everything.

We previously had STEM-subjects upstairs and HUM-subjects downstairs, a system that created an intuitive sense among the teachers about who was doing what. “Hm, Jean-Luc and Mogens have not been downstairs for a while, let’s sort this out.”

The re-assignment of the classrooms (again, because of Corona) removed what in retrospect was a very handy navigational tool for the teachers.

After discussing this with the kids at the réunion du matin a month ago, we have now divided the days into “STEM-days” and “HUM-days”, thus creating a managable distinction between the subjects. Students who are really motivated for, say, maths, still have the opportunity of solving math problems on “HUM-days”, but only after completing agreed-upon assignments in humanistic subjects.

It turns out none of the students were completely one-sided in their interests, after all. Having decided together to ensure everybody gets to cover all subjects was all it took.

We have also asked those who study “exotic” academic subjects (German, Spanish) to move these pursuits to “project hours” after lunch, rather than studying this during “work hours”.

We have also upped our game in the ticket-department, by formalizing how they are posted and how they are double-checked. As so often at this place, the older kids help the younger ones, but now in a more structured fashion. An added benefit of our new system is being able to systematically give approval to students who have reached their goals. The school’s focus on independence and self-motivation sometimes comes at the cost of not appropriately acknowledging when a task has been completed to satisfaction. We feel we are on our way to remedying this.

Those tickets might be a boring subject for parents, but utilized correctly they offer the teachers (and parents!) a reliable method of gauging what the kids are doing. The ticket system is crucial for a system where everybody works at their own pace. We still have some distance to cover, e.g. how to register participation in teacher-led “capsules”.

But we have plans for this too.