Center for Sustainable Community Education

Imagine a school that prepares today’s learners for a collaborative, multicultural, global environment.
Imagine a school where the learner takes charge of their own education, planning in close conference with their peers and mentor teachers.
Imagine a school that nurtures the creative potential of every learner by instilling a love of teamwork, self-discipline and personal achievement as intrinsically valuable and joyful.

Imagining this kind of school is just what we at School Without Classrooms have set out to do.

What has changed about our world in the last twenty years that deeply impacts education? Why is it important to educate students into a new culture where the social norms are less distinct and vary by region? How do we teach to youth who will live out their careers on a global scale? How can we leverage peer interactions to increase learning and retention? How can we honor the knowledge of the older generation while adapting it to what students will need to know for the future? What role do teachers have, now that they are not the primary bearers of knowledge? How can we maintain academic rigor in the face of new technologies that outpace teachers’ abilities to design curriculum around them? What personal relationships will maximize a student’s ability to function in a multicultural reality? How do we create a sustainable school, and instill sustainability as an ethic? How does all this change what “school” means? And what would such a school actually look like?

We are teachers from regions as far flung as Italy, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Bulgaria, China and the USA. From all of these perspectives, we have approached the question of a new fundamental pedagogy. We have researched many movements from Piaget to Papert and from Vittra to Samba. We have gleaned the tenets we felt most suited our values and passions as educators.

We knew:
We wanted a school that offered students the chance to plan and follow through with their own learning. We wanted a school that honored the interests and skill levels of students, rather than their chronological age. We wanted a school that formed a community of interdependent learners. We wanted a business model that included underserved communities. We wanted a program that included the contributions and aspirations of senior citizens. We wanted a student-driven curriculum that maintained rigor and excellence, and so we wanted teachers to take an advisory role with small groups of students, helping them achieve their own goals.

And finally, we wanted to know what such a school might look like.

That is why we give you a SchoolWithoutClassrooms


This model is part of a final project by the team School Without Classrooms in the Stanford online class Designing a New Learning Environment.



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