Each year, VRG runs cross-curricular projects for two weeks at the start of the spring term.
With input from Mathematics, Psychology, and Swedish subjects, students were tasked with identifying an aspect of the culture at our school that could be improved, measuring the current status, building an idea, creating an action plan, and then “selling” their idea through a creative presentation. Obligatory lectures tied to the project covered topics like corporate culture and the influence on performance, stress and the psychology of performance, group dynamics, “pitching” an idea, marketing factors, statistics, correlation, relevance and more. Students were asked to keep their ideas realistic and were given an implementation budget of 10.000:-.
In groups of 4 – 6, students worked in teams on their project for 5 days. They scheduled their work on their own, frequently meeting a teacher coach for advice. After this intensive period, student groups presented their ideas for each other. So many good ideas were introduced:
Students themselves then voted for the best idea from their group. The top four groups presented their ideas for a jury and then one winning group was chosen.
The four final ideas were varied and interesting:
1. A9 – Better orientation for students returning to VRG after a year abroad – How can we best incorporate their experiences from other schools and other cultures when they return to VRG?
2. A8 – Back2theFuture – How can VRG better prepare students for their future? In a way, that reduces stress now . . . cooperation with Universities and Colleges – offer a “PRAO” for high school
3. B6 – Flipped classroom – By offering natural science students an alternative learning method, we could reduce stress for classroom performance
4. C5 – Respons – By creating an anonymous feedback system to teachers, the communication could be more efficient, and offer concrete suggestions of how to improve the learning which would lead to better results and less stress
This was a “real” learning project with “real” results. The school will now implement the winning idea. In addition, the school council will also hear all of the top four ideas in hopes of implementing more. Staff and students will also see the full list of ideas and continue the important discussion of “what should we prioritize in the future” in mentor time.
Students also commented that they had learned different skills and would like to work in this way again:
How can we develop the school culture at VRG? By living our values, by talking to each other, by brainstorming creative actions/activities, by giving students real influence, and by working together to realize “real” results . . .
Thanks to our teachers who coordinated and coached. Thanks to our students for their engagement and enthusiasm in how to make our school even better.