TRANSFORMING JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOLS
In Czech Republic many innovative schools have been established during the past few years. Their pupils are slowly progressing to Junior High Schools (from age 12). In our Institute, we lead the debates around innovative Junior High Schools. We are helping schools with developing or transforming the Junior High School.
We can create together a working concept that is based on a specific situation. We will meet with you ideally several times to work on the concept, or while visiting a school, we can focus on sitting in on classes with follow-up reflective talks. We can bring know-how from well functioning schools, or together create something completely new, suitable for your situation.
How does cooperation practically work?
Ideally, we meet a year before opening or transforming the secondary school. In the case of an intensive cooperation, it might be enough to have just half a year. At the first meeting with school leaders or the initiative persons, we will get to know the specific situation in as much detail as possible (e. g. numbers of children, their age, what has the school been through, how is the atmosphere between teachers and parents). In the case of transforming secondary school, we need to understand how it has been working so far, what can be used as the basis, what have been the biggest obstacles. We will agree on the format of our meetings, who will participate, and how many meetings will be needed.
Then, we will work with school management on the main priorities of the new Junior High School – its profile. The next step is the design of the basic school processes – the structure of school timetables and teaching loads, division of children into groups, etc…
Once the overall concept and school processes are roughly clear, we start working with teachers on different aspects of teaching – What and why to teach at a certain age? How to design a subject curriculum or a student project? How to teach? What is doable for me as a teacher, what should I rather leave to my colleagues?
Teachers share with us their vision of teaching different subjects or organizing specific projects. We ask clarifying questions or suggest things that may be missing. We are looking for ways to connect different topics and subjects and on which teachers can work together. We help to find difficult aspects. The result is a comprehensive, argued and shared vision for the team of teachers and leadership.
At the same time, we look for ways to present the secondary school concept to parents, children and the public. We can organize a lecture or discussion for parents, where we show deeper aspects of the new concept or point out positive experiences from other Czech or foreign schools that we have visited.
Once the school starts with the new secondary level of education, it collects direct experience with the implementation of the new concept. The school adapts what could not be planned in advance, improves the concept within limits that cannot be easily changed (such as timetable or work loads). If necessary, we can come once or twice to help with the corrections of deficiencies that were uncovered.
Another interesting possibility for secondary school development are mutual visits and student or teacher exchanges. Students are keen to travel at that age, they can really enjoy comparing the two worlds. Teachers can taste a different school environment, leave what is known and get inspired from the brand new approach they experience. Or even find a teacher soulmate. Gradually, more and more junior and senior high schools with innovative approaches are emerging, we are happy to support their cooperation. It can be very beneficial that a teacher teaches his subject at two or three different schools at the same time. Or switches between two schools after a short time period. It might sound unreal but it is a common practice abroad for a long time now.
Lectures and discussion evenings
If you want to organize a lecture or debate for parents from your school or the general public on a topic related to teaching at Junior High School, take a look at more information about our offer >>.