By Ana Moreno
A little bit of history
One of the events marking the first steps of Aude! is the visit of Richard Gerver in November 2015. Few will be able to forget the dramatic image of an impressive crane crumbling towards the sea when trying to pull a car out of the water. With this metaphor, Gerver wanted to visualize that the solution of education is not so much in posing more resources but in analyzing the problem at its root and exploring creative alternatives.
From that meeting a clear idea emerged: because a student learns and wants to continue learning throughout his life, his learning experience must be unforgettable and inspiring. Going to school should be like going to Disney, where at every corner there is a surprise, something interesting, smiling faces, diversity of possibilities. In short, where every day is a special day for everyone, regardless of age, talent or preferences.
Thus was born Dream Schools, a methodology aimed at transforming the classroom, the school and any educational experience into a great adventure, an exciting challenge of improvement and learning, for each and every one of the students.
In today’s world, change is part of everyday life. After the Cold War, the American Ministry of Defense created the acronym VUCA to define the volatile, uncertain, and increasingly complex and ambiguous world in which we live. The speed of technological advances and research means that great discoveries such as the telegraph, electricity or the steam engine, which used to advance every hundred years, are now produced daily. Today, this vision of the world is becoming more and more real, and to all social spheres: organizations, governments, lifestyles, health and education systems. It is necessary to design strategies capable of providing successful responses in the uncertain and complex environment of today.
It seems as if this highly globalized and technological world has started a journey with no return to the paradise of human progress. However, in parallel with these dizzying changes there are great contradictions that pose a threat to all of society, political leaders and governments. Like the Covid-19 pandemic that has left the entire world in almost universal confinement. According to the United Nations, more than 50 per cent of humanity lives below the poverty line, climate change brought about by “progress” can have devastating effects in a short time, and in many parts of the world cultures and political systems prevail that are far from guaranteeing human rights and dignity.
Dream Schools has asked itself the question: what do the new generations need in order to successfully face all these challenges of the future and become upright people, responsible citizens and competent professionals, who continue to learn throughout their lives?
In his latest book “Future wise. Educating our children for a changing world”, David Perkins, after a review of what is worth learning in order to live in the 21st century, concludes that the most necessary is wisdom. Perkins, who presents Gandhi as a paradigm of wisdom, explains the following anecdote: “One day, Gandhi was going to take a train with some of his collaborators. The platform was full and just as they got on the train, already underway, Gandhi dropped one shoe and, in a quick gesture, took off the other and threw it away as well. His companions, surprised, asked him why he was doing this and he replied, without giving it any more importance: “I thought that it might be the poor man who finds my slipper who will need the other one”. With this attitude of the great Indian leader, the author illustrates how he is a wise person who not only solves problems effectively, but in doing so, takes into account the needs of others and his environment, forgetting his own”.
Thus, Dream Schools makes David Perkins’ proposal its own and assumes, like him, that although it may be pretentious to try to educate for wisdom, it is possible to pretend to educate for the path of wisdom.
A point of view
“The best way to predict the future is to create it,” says Stephen Covey in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” and to do so, he proposes a continuum of maturity that, through the acquisition of a series of habits, leads to a balanced and happy life. The Dream Schools approach coincides with Covey’s idea of moving beyond stages of maturity, and proposes acquiring one of the six strengths of the AIRISS model at each stage of the process. In this way, it is possible to continue learning throughout life and to develop ethical leadership that allows us to reach the wisdom necessary to live fully in the context of the 21st century.
The DREAM SCHOOLS model turns the 6 AIRISS strengths: Autonomy, Identity, Resilience, Integrity, Sociability and Wisdom, into an educational objective.
Each detail of the pedagogical model is designed to contribute to the continuous development of the 6 strengths in a holistic way, thus achieving a growth dynamic that reaches up to 30 skills, habits and virtues necessary to lay the foundations of the four pillars of education of the present and the future: learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together, learning to be.
A way of understanding education
Every person is unique and has the right to the best education. Dream Schools values this idea thanks to three educational principles that guide its implementation in each school: equity, inclusion and personalization. In its proposals on equity, the OECD proposes inclusion as the best way to “ensure a basic minimum standard of education for all”.
Just like the Russian dolls, each principle is included within the other, being a quality personalized attention the key that allows the other two.
In order to guarantee equity, available resources are optimized so that each student receives an excellent education that favors his or her school and personal success.
In this sense, its greatest strength is a universal vision of learning and the integration of some methodologies and teaching tools specially designed to enhance the learning of each student from their personal uniqueness, ensuring their continuous progress and maturation.
As Pere Pujolàs suggests in the title of his book “Learning Different Students Together”, the inclusion of diversity in school goes far beyond posing different students in a classroom together. It involves working and learning together, with each other, because everyone has something to contribute, with some ability or another, from a culture, race, economic level, etc. Educational inclusion is a basic principle for a world and a society that aims to integrate all people. Dream Schools makes its own the proposals of the great pedagogue who was the teacher Pujolàs and voice in cooperative learning a perfect ally to get students to live their learning experiences together and help each other in their daily adventure of growth in the classroom.
But inclusion and equity are not possible without proper personalization of education. In the 1960s, Víctor García Hoz developed an innovative pedagogical movement: “Personalized Education”.
Starting from a personalist vision, García Hoz creates a whole pedagogical architecture aimed at achieving the maximum potential of each student.
The DREAM SCHOOLS model is inspired by this great pedagogue and considers “personalised attention to the autonomy, uniqueness and openness of each student” as the basis for generating a dynamic of continuous growth.
From Harvard University, Todd Rose explains that in the 1950s, the American air force had the best pilots and the best planes, but did not achieve good results. After a long investigation with an engineer he came up with the idea of studying the cockpits of the planes and discovered that no pilot fit in them: they were made for the “medium pilot” and this one did not exist. Dr. Rose, author of the best-selling book “The End of the Average”, tries to change the educational paradigm centered on the average student in order to focus on each individual and thus achieve maximum performance. For Dr. Rose, it is the educational context that must be adapted to the learning needs of each student, providing each with the appropriate learning challenges for their development at all times.
But as César Coll says, personalising education requires a global vision that stimulates personal and meaningful learning by each of the learners, regardless of where they learn.
Dream Schools takes the three authors as a reference and proposes a personalized education, focusing the attention of the educational activity and prioritizing the resources towards the development of the full potential of each student.