What should we educate about? Our Challenges
An Active School has the student as its center of development. It starts from the interests of children and adolescents, and not of some fixed content that they must learn. However, and this is one of the main motivations towards project work, these interests must be connected to the main problems we have as a country and as citizens of the world. Our curriculum proposal aims to fulfill this purpose: to reveal the light of each student to put it at the service of democracy and the problems of the 21st century.
In 2012, with the name of Flight to the Bicentennial, teachers, alumni, students, experts and administrative staff came together to think about the school’s legacy and its future. The first table thought about those fundamentals of the school that can never be abandoned. The second, in those problems or “challenges” that we will have to face as a school. This work was only the beginning of a long discussion about education in the 21st century. We must develop in our students the so-called competencies so that they can face everything that the coming years will bring, broken down in this document according to our language and our interests. But we had to go much further, providing a direction for those abilities and skills, a set of common purposes. The result of the work was the identification of the following challenges, which in a curriculum of the future would have to traverse everything we can plan for the learning and development of our students.
Language and Communication
Educate people capable of expressing themselves, interpreters and constructors of their realities, today multicultural and multilingual, never isolated or passive subjects. Currently, the school structures its curriculum based on the language skills of its students (SEE PEDAGOGICAL MODEL). The transformations towards bilingualism are progressing at all levels: by 2022 we hope to have an officially bilingual school.
Construction of the Country and World Citizens
Educate people capable of valuing and defending diversity wherever they are, committed to local contexts and global challenges. The school, through its different areas, has sought a balance between training world citizens and good leaders for Colombia. There are multiple actions that support these efforts: our collective construction of the Chair of Peace or the continuity of the Debate Group, the United Nations Model and the change in educational exchange programs, the new proposal for Social Service and the transformation of the Field Trips, the international activities of the Teachers School and the Cultural Agenda of the school. The Gimnasio Moderno without ever losing its curricular autonomy or its link with the country, explores various internationalization projects to have a richer and more diverse relationship with other educational institutions in the world.
Logic, Scientific, Analytical and Critical Thinking
Educate people who are able to think critically, in an orderly and coherent way. That they can develop reasonable arguments and draw their own conclusions and inferences based on the evidence. Gimnasio Moderno students are familiar with the scientific method, with the way science approaches the study of nature through observation and experience; they are able to propose constructive answers through analysis and complex reasoning. The school wants to become a benchmark in science and mathematics again, it wants to take advantage of the technological developments that make schools more active. In them we continue to find an ideal space to create, design, observe, answer and ask questions about the environment. But it is also them, thanks to the development of multiple logics, which in many cases give us the ability to imagine and work in very different contexts, both in the scientific and humanistic fields, which prepares students for change.
Creativity, Innovation and Ict (Information and Communication Technologies)
Educate people capable of giving a human sense to these connections, both emotionally and intellectually, with sufficient criteria to take advantage of information, create and interact with applications and devices, without giving up their privacy or impoverishing their relationships. Aware of such difficulties, the school led a project to define what pedagogical orientation should be taken in the face of these technological challenges. The result is the book Educating in the Age of Applications. Currently, there is an ICT committee with a significant investment in the provision of networks and equipment, a pedagogical strategy to train teachers and students for an increasingly creative and responsible appropriation of applications and devices, integrating their facilities into the classroom. It seeks to train students capable of creating from technologies and seeing in them new possibilities for the democracies of the future. The evidence shows that the use of ICT from the Active School contributes to the development of creativity, logical thinking, strengthens communication and collaboration, the selection of information, and critical thinking. All skills particularly valued in today’s world. For its part, innovating, as is well known, is nothing other than the ability to solve problems.
Sustainability and Self-Care
Educate people capable of taking care of themselves, of others and of their environment, aware of the environmental crisis and its implications. With the leadership of the Science Area, the school has been transforming its administrative practices towards the reality of a more sustainable school. Since 2015, the Sustainability Education Meeting has been held annually, in which different experts from Colombia and the world participate. These pedagogical strategies are beginning to have an impact in the classroom. The Gimnasio Moderno, through field trips and its campus, as well as its interest in scientific research, has been a pioneering institution of ecology in Colombia. The aim is to continue with these purposes through transversal projects that involve the daily activities of the school as an example of caring for the environment. This attitude of care, towards others and towards the environment, is sought to begin with the body itself. In this sense, the school, through sports and physical education, in its dining room service and school shops, works intensively so that its students improve their habits and have a healthier life. The Psychology Area carries out a program of sexual education and prevention of the consumption of psychoactive substances, based on the importance of affectivity and the integrated support of the home and school. For its part, from the Positive Psychology Project and the Peace Training Program, spaces have been created for students and teachers of Mindfulness, Meditation, Yoga, Chi Kún and cultivation of positive emotions, among others, in order to build inner peace, self-knowledge and awareness of the body and emotions.
Ethical Education and Conflict Resolution
Educate people capable of working with others in conflict resolution, understanding the importance of ethical limits that mediate between the relativism of “anything goes” and the fundamentalism of “only this goes,” that is, educate defenders of democracy. In this sense we have to think about the how, we cannot stay at the level of discourses. The problems are not solved in the speech but facing them. Ethics is taught through example. We believe that relationships are more beneficial and harmonious if we relate from the strengths of others and value very different approaches. For its part, the school is currently carrying out a pioneering program in Latin America in Positive Education, in which teachers are being trained in topics such as the science and biology of happiness and well-being; mind-body connection, mindfulness and yoga; character development and character strengths; growth-mindset; gratitude and positive emotions; emotional and social intelligence; appreciative inquiry; resilience and adversity management; and cultivation of goals and purposes. At the same time, the Gimnasio is studying the experience of Educare Pedagogies with the values of Love, Righteousness, Non-Violence, Peace and Truth. With the above, we are looking for happy students, who enjoy their stay in school, who experience well-being, who develop their character, who build a life with meaning and purpose, who flourish and who put human values into practice.
Historical Memory and Development
Educate students aware of the historical implications of their actions or omissions, aware that a historical memory is necessary for the construction of another future, especially in a post-Peace Agreement era, of social efforts to achieve equity, but also reconciliation. In its constant dialogue between tradition and educational avant-garde, the Gimnasio Moderno is a privileged space for these reflections. As it has been recorded in the Chair of Peace, we think that it is very important that students, through the cultivation of themselves and the humanities, are able to know themselves better and to place themselves in the role of others, to understand that there is a diverse history enriched by the difference in perspectives.
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