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Squared bhutan4
Hundred 2018
Looking to develop a holistic curriculum with engaging assessment tools for students and teachers?

5 Areas of Development

Marker Bhutan
A new school culture that refocuses the curriculum to address 5 key areas of development (cerebral, physical, emotional, spiritual and social) and uses innovative methods to assess students, teachers and the school as a whole.

What are the 5 Areas of Development?

Hemant Somasekharan
“Teachers ask students to demonstrate what they have learnt, transforming learning into something they want to do. Students begin to teach their peers and become leaders in their own right.”

Arun Kapur, 5 Areas for Development Creator

The education system in Bhutan, similar to many worldwide, is focused on rote learning, a memorisation technique based on repetition. Students may struggle in areas such as how to regulate emotions, stay physically fit and maintain a work-life balance, due to the lack of emphasis on these areas. Many teachers, along with the King of Bhutan, want to vastly improve the system. 

The Royal Academy, a Bhutanese boarding school that largely teaches economically vulnerable students, has developed a holistic curriculum focusing on 5 Areas of Development. Each area is given equal weighting and the interconnection between all areas is emphasised.

Cerebral development (the academic area) teaches communication, comprehension, critical thinking and curiosity to enhance academic learning.

Physical development focuses on health, fitness and sports.

Social development supports students to get involved in their communities, work towards common goals and understand themselves and others.

Spiritual development is focused on core values, awareness and practice, rather than on a particular religion.

Emotional development encourages learners to pay attention to their emotions in order to identify, understand and express them positively and productively.

The structure of the school day guides holistic development. The day begins with student-led group physical exercise followed by reflective mindful practice. Students then participate in six learning experiences, one of which is another physical activity. Learners are able to flow between the learning experiences based on preference for teaching style should they wish to do so. Based on the individual passions of the students, teachers will provide feedback to the development coordinators to ensure the curriculum covers all areas of interest.

The goal is to help all students realise their potential. There is a strong focus on assessing students against themselves, not each other. Teachers also focus on their own development in order to support this holistic environment, becoming co-learners in the model.

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Intended Outcomes
Target Group
Resources Needed
5 teachers are needed to act as the main coordinators, one for each development area.
HundrED Criteria
5 Areas of Development is a practical, multi-dimensional model aiming to address the needs of students through changing the focus of education. The goal is to show young people that there are many different aspects to a person beyond academics.
Impact is measured through student and teacher roadmaps. Teachers use this reflective tool to continuously monitor students in a holistic way.
The concept, ideas and intention of the 5 Areas of Development could be easily used and adapted in other schools around the world to enrich any school curriculum.

See this innovation in action.



Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

Integrate the 5 Areas of Development into the school's learnin...
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Create individual roadmaps
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Create a roadmap for the whole school
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Incorporate the 5 Areas of Development into the curriculum
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Redesign assessment methods
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Continuously evolve the curriculum
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Connect with the innovator

Hemant Somasekharan
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