OUR EDUCATIONAL PROJECT
Our educational project resulted from an intensive reflective process that had as its main concern the adequacy of pedagogy to the real needs of education in the 21st century and the students’ profile after finishing their schooling with us.
In a caring environment, with a culture of excellence, students are educated to be autonomous, responsible, have initiative, be creative and have a critical mind. Each student is seen as unique, given the characteristics and motivations of each age group’s personal growth and learning.
By working autonomously on projects and with a collaborative mindset, students are challenged to build their knowledge. This is why autonomous work occupies a significant part of the workload in their weekly schedule (every evening). On these days, the classes are divided into small groups to work independently under the discrete guidance of a tutor. Their work is planned individually, in the student’s schedule, and evaluated every two weeks by the student and by the respective tutor. Each tutor is responsible for six to ten students.
In this context, many of the spaces of the College have been adapted: we have added more colour and diversified the furniture, thus getting rid of the conventional classroom look. They are now happy and welcoming work areas.
At our school, life is managed by the students themselves as much as possible. They elect their own representatives and have Class and School Assemblies, where they debate issues and deliberate. Students who are elected have recognized authority throughout the school’s educational community.
Inevitably, the adoption of the Pedagogical Model VOAR, has led to the creation of an array of support documents and digital applications that allow us to follow up, monitor and evaluate the students’ learning pathway.
In terms of the work they have to do, the greatest expression of these documents is materialized in their work schedule. Besides the online Moodle school platform, this can be continually consulted and updated by students or by teachers.
The Work Schedule mentioned above outlines three areas of work: autonomous work, project work and evaluation.
At the beginning of each fortnight, learners plan the Autonomous Work (TA) in their Agenda, based on the indications that teachers put on the school’s Moodle platform. This planning is then discussed individually with each tutor that helps the student, making suggestions and taking into account the characteristics of each student.
Planned work is carried out throughout the following two weeks with the support of all teachers, whenever requested or considered by them as necessary. At the end of the fortnight, students describe the work done in writing and talk with their tutor, which helps them to deepen their reflection. This process also allows them to evaluate their individual effort and the class’ effort for the following fortnight.
Finally, the parents or the Guardian are made aware of the plan and its evaluation and can make their own observations and suggestions. The Agenda clearly outlines 3 areas of work: Autonomous Work, Project Work and Evaluation.
Project work (Dewey, Frenet, Kilpatrick) is one of the methodologies used for the students to become effectively the centre of the teaching/learning process and allowing them to build their knowledge.
In the Primary School, the approach follows the model of the project “teaching is to investigate” and the whole curriculum is worked with this methodology, with Social Studies being the gateway to the other areas of knowledge: Portuguese, Maths and Arts.
This methodology is also applied in the remaining years of education by developing, most of the time, interdisciplinary projects. For this to happen, teachers carry out a macro analysis of the themes of the various disciplines, identifying the those that can be worked out in conjunction with greater freedom in order to choose the most appropriate time for each thematic unit. Sometimes, if deemed appropriate, curricular units are moved, within the same cycle, from one year to the next.
This entire process implies continuous monitoring that is done on a weekly basis in General Teacher Meetings and Pedagogical Teams Meetings.
In our school, the evaluation seeks to be:
- Valuing, caring to detect what the children know and do not know.
- Pedagogical, allowing children to learn from their assessment.
- Demanding, because without determination there is no competence.
- Established, which defines simple and transparent evidence standards.
- Multifaceted, which uses a wide range of assessment tools.
- Negotiated, promoting critical reflection and self-correction.