The majority of schools around the world rely on the traditional methods of teaching and learning. Students have to attend lectures in the classrooms, read paper textbooks and memorize lots of irrelevant facts and figures from them to prepare for different tests, they do handwriting assignments and complete different types of essays such as a five-paragraph essay or compare and contrast essay on Picasso painting. All these methods are boring, inefficient and outdated. But there are schools that use innovative teaching methods, strategies, and learning techniques and where the learning process is really fun.
The innovation in education can be presented in different ways, for example, integrating new teaching methods, cutting-edge technologies, rejecting social norms, learning in real-work environments or collaborating with a local community. Here is a short list of the most innovative schools in the world that present different approaches to teaching and learning.
Summit Sierra is a Seattle-based charter school where educators use personalized learning model. Children use laptop and tablets to guide their own instruction and teachers are their mentors who don’t lecture but supervise. They give students individual assignments and group projects so kids can learn in a flexible way. Children take an active role in their own education and develop self-reliance and responsibility.
Every day, children solve math problems for half an hour, read for half an hour, talk with mentors about their life and career goals, take online courses, and discuss some issues with other students.
Sra Pou Vocational School
Sra Pou Vocational School in Cambodia was designed by Finnish architects and built by community members as a school for all ages. Here the members of the community learn how to make money with homemade goods and turn their passions to doing crafts into successful businesses. They learn how to price their goods and sell them to local people in their area and gain independence. The building is also used for the community meetings and as a town hall.
P-TECH High School
P-TECH High School in Brooklyn combines high school and college. It was launched in 2011 by IBM to give teens a possibility to enter colleges and avoid the usual model when kids have to study at a high school for 4 years. Instead, P-TECH students have to complete a six-year degree. They have an opportunity to earn an associate degree from New York City College of Technology. Many of them continue their studies after graduation and pursue a bachelor’s degree.
Brightworks School’s mission is to develop kids’ creative side. Children explore and experiment with the world around them. The entire curriculum is made of the most dangerous things that parent forbid their children to do. Kids of different ages play with fire, get dirty, complete art projects, and take apart home appliances.
Innova Schools in Peru
Innova Schools were built by world-class designers in 2011. The project was sponsored by a billionaire Carlos Rodriguez-Pastor and currently, there are 26 schools across the country. Children are provided with different forms of instruction – guided lessons, tech-heavy online learning, and group work. Half of their day, students get guided online education and another half they are instructed in a more traditional way.
Carpe Diem Schools
Carpe Diem Schools in Aiken are built in such a way that they resemble not classrooms but offices. The main room in every school is known as the Learning Center and it has 300 cubicles where students take advantage of working independently with a computer that guides their learning. They also get guidance from the staff.
Samaschool in San Francisco
Samaschool in California focuses on teaching adults from low-income areas who have problems with employment and provides them with an opportunity to learn entrepreneurial and digital skills. Students can choose between a 10-week in-person course that lasts 80 hours and an online course that lasts between 20 and 30 hours.
THINK Global School
THINK Global School realizes a place-based learning approach and students spend every semester in a different country. They study natural sciences, discover local culture, and read classic literature from the area. Students also take part in charity projects and are engaged in community-based work. In this way, children learn to be global citizens.