TRANSFER OF POWER I
Lesson created by Izabella Gorczyca using
Video from No Bell Schools YouTube Channel
Introduction to the scope of our course concerning the TRANSFER OF / WITHDRAWAL FROM POWER. Who rules at school? The school head? The teacher? An abstract institutional vision? Whatever your answer might be, POWER determines syllabuses, ways of acting and the learning pace. It sets limits on the pupils, imposing tight constrictions. Can this perspective be reversed?
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The key principle on which No Bell’s unique system has been built – the focus of all our activity and our chief methodological directive – is the idea of withdrawal from power. Its implementation creates a space of the unexpected, of “points of indeterminacy” in the school institution, in which ideas and activities undesigned and undetermined by teachers and the school can take place. Those ideas, activities and projects go beyond the traditional subject divisions, take effect across the school structure and establish relations within the school community. Withdrawal from power, freedom and choice – are the recurrent topics in the teaching and research of the world’s education leaders: Joachim Bauer, John Hattie, and Ken Robinson. A modern school is one that changes its perception; it functions “in the world”, not in isolation from it. And in the present-day world it is necessary to master the skill of choice making – which pupils will not learn if the school constantly controls them. New Vision for Education analyses presented by the World Economic Forum prove that in the 21st century, the key competences are creativity, curiosity and the ability to cooperate, but also non-routine interpersonal and analytical skills. Do pupils and students get the chance to develop these competences within the limits of the school’s strictly designed educational system? Joachim Bauer claims that the success of modern education depends on the relations between pupil and teacher, school and parents, as well as between pupils themselves. By withdrawing from power, school gives itself a chance to build such relations, as we hope to prove in Episode 2.
At No Bell, withdrawal from / transfer of power affects many dimensions of the learning process: RELATIONS (ep. 2) – School is a space of meeting not for teachers who dominate over the pupils, but for individuals. Adults and children are partners in the joint project of building knowledge and skills. CHOICE (ep. 3) – School space is a space of responsibility for one’s own choices, of independent source study and gaining knowledge thanks to such tools as e.g. “knowledge in boxes”. ASSESSMENT (ep. 4) – Behavioural conditioning and summative assessment (numbers or letters) are replaced by constructive guidelines and feedback comprehensible to both pupils and parents. This creates a permanently open didactic cycle, based on suggestions for further work, not on summary pigeonholing of pupils. SPACE (ep. 5) – Pupils and teachers are not limited by the traditional arrangement of school desks, systems of dependencies and obligations.