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How can learning be transformed by taking students into the world?

THINK Global School

location_on New York City, USA
THINK Global School is a travelling high school where students live and learn in four countries a year, making unforgettable connections between their education and the world around them.
Jamie Steckart, Head of School
Incorporating the innovative pedagogies of THINK Global School does not require vast resources, only the courage and will to open the door of the school house and venturing forth in one's own backyard.

Jamie Steckart, Head of School

Overview

HundrED has selected this innovation

HundrED 2018

HundrED 2019

HundrED 2020

Key figures

Innovation Overview

15 - 18
Age Group
60
Children/Users
13
Countries
2010
Established
Not-for-profit
Organisation
5 347
Views
Updated on October 19th, 2020
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about the innovation

What is THINK Global School?

Traditional schooling is an isolating affair. Students are put together with very little exposure to the diverse communities in which they live and are graded and judged not by their creativity but on how well they can recall very specific content.

The lack of agency and autonomy for both teachers and students has led to a real sense of disengagement within both groups. Rarely do students engage in learning with “real” people on “real” problems where the answer comes in many forms. We need to redesign experiences in our educational programs to promote creativity, collaboration, and communication to prepare our students for the needs of the future.

THINK Global School believes that project and place-based learning is a medium for deep learning and that increasing student autonomy provides a greater sense of connection and purpose for students. Through travel, students experience real world issues and engage with the communities that they live in each term. By gaining an authentic global education, students develop the skills, knowledge, and experiences necessary to become the changemakers of the future.

Each school year, THINK Global School students live and learn in four countries, and each eight-week term is a chance to engage in community-focused projects that develop not just skills and knowledge, but a deep understanding of the country and culture they are immersed in. The community literally becomes their classroom and its denizens their teachers.

The cornerstone of project-based learning at THINK Global School is the Teacher Designed Modules (TDM). Rooted in a specific country’s place, students choose one intensive seven-week project. Each TDM is a multi-disciplinary project that is woven into the community. At the conclusion of each TDM, there is an additional week of project work in preparation for a public performance of learning. Members of the community, including local experts who shared their findings with students on the projects, are invited to this event and it is an ideal time for parents and family to visit the school as we celebrate student learning.

Multidisciplinary projects weave traditional subjects into real-world learning. Expert members of the community engage with our students in authentic ways and add invaluable meaning to their experience. With these connections the school aims to build long-term relationships and ongoing projects within the communities they visit by returning annually. In this way, projects are more sustainable and the effects can be longer lasting. Currently, the school is wrapping up the first year of a project with African Conservation Experience in Botswana by researching animal density and ecological issues in the Greater Okavango Delta.

Outside of the projects, students learn about local cultures and develop an
understanding of communities which differ from their own. There are opportunities to learn languages, eat and cook different foods, and read novels by local authors in the very setting they were written in and/or about. THINK Global School believes that by combining academic study with cultural immersion in a local community, students gain a connection to the world that will drive them to improve it.

 

HundrED Review
Innovativeness

There is only so much that can be learned within the four walls of a classroom, where teachers are largely reliant on lectures, textbooks, and internet materials. THINK Global School believes that engaging in place-based learning and allowing students to engage directly with a wide range of cultures, peoples, and artefacts is the key to a global education.

Impact

Place-based learning allows students to use all five senses in their learning and visits to sombre sites like Srebrenica in Bosnia allows them to converse directly with those affected by tragedy, and as THINK Global Schools has found, these encounters can shape our students lives in a significant way, often motivating them to create meaningful change in the affected places.

Scalability

While the travel aspect may be problematic for many schools and especially the younger grades, the innovation technique can be used at all levels, scale and scope are age dependant. The approach is being used, to various degrees, by a range of schools worldwide.

Media

See this innovation in action

Understanding Cohorts at THINK Global School
When we first launched as a school in 2010, we never thought to refer to ourselves as anything but that — a school. Fast forward to today when we have two groups of students traveling in parallel, and the term school becomes a little trickier to define. Moving forward you’ll learn about Changemaker Cohort 1 (CM1) and Changemaker Cohort 2 (CM2), the terms we adopted to describe our two groups of students that are separate in travel but united in learning.New students at THINK Global School (TGS) begin their transformative journey in the United Kingdom during the ten-day Rite of Passage. This is where you’ll ground yourself into our community and become empowered to be the director of your own learning through a series of team-building exercises and exposure to our core values. Following the Rite of Passage you’ll branch off into your respective cohort, joining either CM1 or CM2, and embarking on your own path towards completing the Changemaker Curriculum.Read on to find out more information about cohorts at TGS.https://thinkglobalschool.org/cohorts-at-tgs/
What Are Learning Targets at THINK Global School?
If you are new to THINK Global School’s approach to learning, some of the terms we use might seem as foreign as the places our students call home. But that’s ok — we’re here to help clear things up! One term in particular that all prospective students and their parents should become familiar with is learning targets, and in this post we’ll explain what they are, and why they are an integral component of our curriculum.Learning targets serve as the backbone of THINK Global School’s Changemaker Curriculum. At their core, learning targets provide a measuring stick against which our students can assess their acquisition of knowledge during self-directed projects and teacher-led modules. To put it more simply, our learning targets provide a clear statement of what the student and their educators wish to accomplish during a project, while still allowing the student to maintain ownership of their learning.Read More:https://thinkglobalschool.org/what-are-learning-targets-at-tgs/
Looking Back: Why We Developed Our Own Curriculum
One of the questions we are regularly asked these days is “How did you arrive at the Changemaker Curriculum?” This question is understandable given how ingrained standardized curricula continue to be at schools around the world. With the Changemaker Curriculum, we’ve taken a page out of Sir Ken Robinson’s playbook and done away with educational conformity, replacing it with what we believe to be the most innovative and relevant approach to learning that exists today.With that in mind, here’s a little background on why a shift to a curriculum based on the leading educational philosophies made sense for us.https://thinkglobalschool.org/looking-back-at-curriculum/
CM2 Students Share Their Learning During the China PBL Showcase
Each term at THINK Global School is an opportunity for our students to explore a new part of the world and learn firsthand about the social, cultural, economic, and environmental factors that define it. Most recently, our students wrapped up terms in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Changemaker Cohort 1) and China (Changemaker Cohort 2), the first of four countries they’ll live in over the course of the 2019-20 school year. Rather than sit in classrooms and engage in teacher-led discussions, students at THINK Global School work on a variety of projects relevant to the places they find themselves in. These come in the form of teacher-led modules, which are term-long projects where students work in teams to answer driving questions, and personal projects, which are student-driven and allow our kids to explore their passions while mastering 21st-century skills. Terms end with a project-based learning showcase, where students demonstrate what they’ve learned during the course of their personal projects and teacher-led modules. Below you can find our most recent Changemaker Cohort 2 Showcase, which was filmed on September 4th, 2019, in Shanghai, China.Read More:https://thinkglobalschool.org/cm2-students-share-their-learning-during-the-china-pbl-showcase/
Understanding The Changemaker Curriculum
New students arriving at THINK Global School are in for a world of new experiences, as our Changemaker Curriculum is drastically different than the traditional curricula used at most high schools. Rather than sitting in classrooms while being instructed by a teacher, students at THINK Global School are expected to demonstrate agency and autonomy, working in teams to craft innovative solutions to our country-specific modules. They are also encouraged to explore their passions through a near-infinite array of personal project subjects, gaining relevant 21st-century skills in the process.So how does the Changemaker Curriculum work? In this post, we’ll explore the various facets that make up the world’s most innovative learning approach.https://thinkglobalschool.org/understanding-the-changemaker-curriculum/
A look at our 2019 term in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Following their ten day Rite of Passage in Northern England, our new students joined returning CM1 students in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, for the first term of the 2019-20 school year. During their time in BiH, students lived in the heart of Sarajevo’s Old Town, Baščaršija. One of Europe’s best kept secrets (although that secret is getting out), Sarajevo is always popular with our students, and they enjoyed finding chic new cafes nestled among Baščaršija’s well-preserved Ottoman Empire and Austro-Hungarian buildings.This term, all of our CM1 students participated in the same module, a deep dive into the topic of reconciliation — a necessary and ongoing process nearly twenty years after the end of the Balkan Conflict.Students divided into module groups to research and create a product of their choice based on the concept of reconciliation. At the start of the project, they were asked to consider the following driving question: How can we convey the complexities of ethnic and religious reconciliation through our experience of Bosnia and Herzegovina?Read more:https://thinkglobalschool.org/a-look-at-our-2019-term-in-bosnia-and-herzegovina/
A Look at Our CM2 2019 Term in China | THINK Global School
After wrapping up their 2018-19 school year in Greece and spending some well-deserved time at home with their family and friends, our CM2 students headed off to China for the first term of their 2019-20 school year. This marked our CM2 students’ third time living and learning in Asia, following terms the previous year in India and Japan. During those terms, our CM2 students had the opportunity to work on modules connected to sustainability, virtual reality, bringing e-commerce to rural areas, and much more. A Look at How Our Students Learned During Their 2019 Term in China
THINK Global School selected as a HundrED 2020 Global Innovation
https://thinkglobalschool.org/think-global-school-selected-as-a-hundred-2020-global-innovation/We are pleased to announce that THINK Global School was selected by HundrED, a global education non-profit based out of Helsinki, Finland, for the HundrED 2020. This is the third consecutive year that THINK Global School has been selected to a HundrED Global Innovation Collection, which annually highlight 100 of the brightest innovations in K-12 education from across the world. Each of the innovations were evaluated on the criteria of impact and scalability by members of the HundrED Academy. Selected innovations were reviewed on their merits by teachers, students, leaders, innovators and other HundrED Community members. This year, 2008 innovations were reviewed by the committee of experts, with THINK Global School making the final cut of 100.According to The HundrED Academy, THINK Global School was chosen due to its unique pioneering status and ability to create a scalable impact, reaching 14 countries. The school is making a difference in the realm of global education by having students live and learn in four different countries a year. THINK Global School’s Changemaker Curriculum, which focuses on social-emotional learning alongside place and project-based learning, is in the HundrED’s eyes the factor that really makes THINK Global School stand out.This year Head of School Jamie Steckart and Class of 2019 Alumni Alicia Husselin had the honor of speaking at The HundrED’s Innovation Summit which took place at the Nokia Executive Experience Center in Espoo, Finland. Head of School Jamie Steckart participated in a panel dedicated to innovative learning spaces, while Alicia took part in a panel on student leadership and agency. School founder Joann McPike and Marketing Director Lee Carlton also attended the three-day summit, which featured education innovations from across the world — all utterly unique but entwined by their ability to help every child flourish. Reflecting on the conference, Lee Carlton shared, “I’m always amazed by the quality of innovations I witness at the HundrED and this year was no different. It was really interesting to see how many of the innovations are moving in the same direction as us by placing a focus on experiential learning, student agency, and wellness. It’s further proof in my eyes that TGS has positioned itself well to serve our students’ best interests and allow them to develop as individuals.”
15 Things to Do Before You Graduate THINK Global School
https://youtu.be/SZrlTlOXZ7s

Milestones

Achievements & Awards

May 2019
2000 views
November 2018
HundrED 2019
September 2017
HundrED 2018
September 2017
Innovation added to the HundrED
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