In OPEDUCA learning is leading, followed by educational approaches and than by schooling. A school in OPEDUCA has to go back to her essentials, ‘strip off’ present day practice and restrictions and re-think what the goals of their work and presence are. From thereon it re-builts it's education in a simple and logical order to address and support students.
A school in OPEDUCA is a continuously innovating learning environment, entirely student- and future focussed.
The Continuation of a 1st-class innovation as base for Schools
As long as we keep students in relative close isolation in x-minute lessons, within walls that limit their freedom to move, teach them subjects as though it are separate blocks of "knowledge" and merge them with 25 others in apparently homogeneous groups, one can't expect optimal results from education. The alliance of people basing OPEDUCA took off from that insight over nearly tow decades ago, observed the cacophony of 'priorities' and 'innovators' schools are flooded with and took a stand.
As a consequence of the OPEDUCA-thinking and -acting, schools can change without being trampled on or regarded obsolete. We found that school leaders, teachers and students can see and grasp opportunities to change their school from within. This change in itself became a prerequisite to move on, to make next steps in the development towards an OPEDUCA-based School. A most challenging process for sure, one that quite some couldn't see to an end, yet there are those that pushed forward, took the barriers and will surface through their own strength. Incurring change way beyond a 'whole school approach'.
The OPEDUCA Project originally did not intend to continue towards the integral change of schools, however came to be regarded a 1st-class innovation given its integral approach. On these pages we will gradually share characteristics and organisational aspects of an OPEDUCA-based School. When and how schools are considered to become involved in the course of the 2nd phase of OPEDUCA (2021-2025) will be communicated through the regular channels as well as on this page. Schools seeking information upfront are welcome to contact us.
Although school is still considered a most valuable meeting ground for education, it is positioned as a Nexus in regional society.
Implementing OPEDUCA Flight for Knowledge will have a range of consequences for the school. One of them is that the physical structure of a school will undergo a transformation; the well-known class-room set-up will be either replaced by ‘Open Learning Spaces’,
or transformed into larger, more college-hall-like, rooms that make it possible to address larger groups of students by 1 teacher on specific subjects and sub-themes of a Flight for Knowledge.
In OPEDUCA whole-class activities (visits, exchanges) are replaced by a large amount in great variety of student-teams searching for knowledge during their thematic learning process. From the perspective of the school, time- and energy consuming project-weeks and other more mass-scale efforts to highlight an educational priority, are no longer necessary. Means available can now be ‘injected’ more specifically for the better good of the learning-process, raising both its efficiency and effectiveness. Businesses, Science, NGOs, Cities, etc., are invited by the students to (be-)come Partners in Knowledge.
All too often schools over the years have became a 'Christmas tree', full of baubles, bulbs and garlands for each and every priority they faced. Or better, 'priorities' and 'innovations' others came up with. In general the schools often addressed these (either pressed upon of self chosen) challenges by creating (stand-alone) activities, mostly in the form of projects, on top of what they kept seeing as regular education. As a result both the school as organisation and the educational process itself more or less suffocates under eventually numerous projects and half-way integrated innovations and modernisations. It appears to be the average teachers' biggest frustration (and educational consultants' largest source of income).
A school in OPEDUCA should be ready to face and stand up to the continuous flood of educational reforms and commercially driven improvements outsiders want to impose on them. In the analogy of the Christmas tree, an OPEDUCA-based school is just an always fresh, green tree with deep roots in the sound ground of culture and the environment, nourished by and breathing humanity.
There is an important task for governments to free schools from the layers of policy priorities and commercial interventions, in extinguishing the cacophony around them and lessening the waves of change. Whereas it is important to set schools free from forced buy-inns of assembled educations proofed, in general it is essential to curtail and even restrict external consultancy across the board. Such liberation will facilitate schools’ transition towards ESD-based Education, resulting in an upward spiralling series of coherent and interlocking improvements.
It is advised to no longer burden schools with innovations, one should be most cautious as a fragile system can crack under pressure and unleash uncontrolled attempts to comply. It is not wise to enforce rapid changes upon an inert system that is deeply rooted in tradition. There is no progress in putting schools under relentless pressure to change while on the other being demonised and trampled on as outdated, certainly when considering school leaders and teachers are no change-agents. Moreover, ‘school’ is a temporary construct and realm for students while ESD has a longer-term perspective.
As learning is a human aspect and occurs always, as it has done through the ages of the development of mankind, OPEDUCA can be applied to any school, everywhere. For it is not a new 'method', 'project' or technical 'program' - it is a base underneath the school. We often compare with 'intell-inside'; schools in OPEDUCA share a common understanding and approach which they apply to their local setting, values and practical reality.
OPEDUCA can be understood as common ground to build on whereas what grows from that soil is unique and has it's own local identity, name and flag.
The extend to which OPEDUCA can be applied to a specific school can (for the time being) be restricted by for example the experience and talents of teachers, the building or access to internet, but the appropriateness is not effected by the context.
A full scale development, when a school chooses to base itself on OPEDUCA in the whole range, will have considerable impact on each aspect of the organisation and it's people. Experience shows that this impact comes natural to students but is substantial to the school as such and requires at the least a professional management and dedicated teachers with the desire to re-invent their profession. Here lies the base for 'OPEDUCA as a Program' which foresees in a well balanced transition from 'ist' to 'soll'. For The OPEDUCA Project is not just about innovation, it's about implementing changes that work and that improve the students' learning.