In the German capital of Berlin, the bilingual Freie Schule Anne-Sophie has thrown out just about every conventional classroom learning method for a more personalized education that has attracted quite a level of interest.
Gone are the small classrooms with a teacher giving the same instructions to every student. Instead, the Freie Schule Anne-Sophie consists of “learning partners” (students) and “learning coaches” (teachers) working together in “learning studios” (classrooms).
The large open studios are setup to act as a third teacher, as the school likes to call it, where students can learn in a way that is best suited for them. There is no front of the classroom where a teacher teaches. The teacher is instead a coach that helps guide the student along a more independent learning path.
“The important thing is the breakdown of hierarchy; of who is responsible for the learning and the imparting of facts. The emphasis for us is on coaching. Children are partners with us, but also with each other, which gives them more confidence and a greater sense of self initiative,” Adrienne Tscherniak, head on English, told The Local.
Students are not told how to learn but instead given goals and tools to get to where they need to be. How the student chooses to accomplish their goal is mostly left up to the individual.
The typical classroom and instruction isn’t the only thing that sets the Freie Schule Anne-Sophie apart from the more traditional schools. Students are separated into “learning families”, which consists of three different age ranges, that then interact together to foster a little brother, big sister relationship.
This Berlin campus isn’t the first though. In 2006, the original Freie SchuleAnne-Sophie opened in Baden-Württemberg, but in the three years that the Berlin school has been open, 140 learning partners, or students, are enrolled in grades 1-10. The success that the school has seen has first Freie SchuleAnne-Sophie looking to expansion very soon.