Southwestern School is one of the leading schools that adopts a progressive teaching-learning approach. The School encourages young leaners to consolidate education into skills, culture, and technology for their holistic development in the 21st century.
Ramesh Adhikari is the Principal at Southwestern School. He thinks that greater parent education is essential for the success of progressive schooling. He spoke with College Readers on progressive education. Excerpts:
You are advocating progressive education in true speed. How do we understand ‘progressive education’?
Progressive education is an educational approach that aims to promote students’ all-around growth, including cultural and personal development, alongside their academic achievements. This approach emphasizes creating an appropriate learning environment that encourages practical and realistic understanding of the world around students. It uses a holistic strategy that focuses on developing students’ critical thinking, creativity, communication, teamwork, and life skills. Moreover, progressive education recognizes education as something beyond merely acquiring and passing on knowledge as is traditionally understood in case of education. It also includes knowledge of technique, attitude, invention, and application. Therefore, it strives to prepare students for the rapidly changing world and equip them with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in it. Progressive education is a comprehensive educational approach that promotes all-around growth, including cultural and personal development, alongside academic achievements. It emphasizes practical, hands-on learning with a focus on active participation and cooperation, rather than rote memorization and passive learning. It recognizes the role of parents in their children’s education and prepares students for the rapidly changing world.
Progressive education appears more expensive as compared to the general one. Can we work on it and make it more affordable?
Progressive education has been criticized for being too expensive, and this has caused a valid concern among parents and educators. However, that is not the case. Our experience at Western School in Kathmandu says progressive education can be reasonably priced, and our school is an example of this. The school provides overseas packages to students, which are also available for purchase by parents. This provides students with a practical and hands-on learning experience, and benefits the parents with an affordable option for their children’s education. Our approach to progressive education emphasizes the importance of creating an appropriate learning environment that encourages practical and realistic understanding of the world, while also recognizing the role of parents in their children’s education. By making progressive education more affordable, we can make accessible to a wider range of students and families, thereby promoting all-around growth and development.
Traditional education only leans on imparting theoretical knowledge whereas progressive education redefines culture and attitude too. How are these terms applicable in an institute?
Exposing students to a diverse range of cultures and perspectives through international experiences can greatly contribute to the development of their communicative skills. When students engage with people from different countries, they are forced to use their communication skills in new and challenging ways. They may need to learn how to communicate with individuals who speak different languages or have different cultural norms. These experiences can help students develop strong interpersonal and communication skills that will be useful in all aspects of their lives, both personally and professionally. Furthermore, when students participate in international competitions or events, they are given the opportunity to showcase their skills and knowledge on a global stage. This can be incredibly motivating for students and will be inspired to work harder to improve their abilities. It also helps them to see themselves as part of a larger community of learners, and to understand that their education is not limited to their immediate surroundings but can encompass a wider world. By providing international experiences to students, we can help them develop communicative skills in a meaningful way and prepare themselves to be effective communicators in a global society.
In the past, we used to acquire education without much support from our parents. But now we talk much about parent education and their contribution in progressive education. Why is this important?
In the same way as parents are regarded as the first teachers of a child, the teachers are regarded as second parents. Parents are very important; they need to carefully monitor the development of their children and be stakeholders in the process. At ours, we allow our pupils to collaborate with their parents on a group project works and display their results. This means we value each profession the parents of our students are engaged in, and think there is something to be learned from everyone. We aim to involve parents as much as we can by holding seminars for them.
Why should we choose Southwestern School over other counterparts?
Changing schools can be a significant transition for students and their families. At our school, we understand the importance of communication and transparency when it comes to student transfers. We ensure that parents are well-informed about the transfer process. We also provide them with all the necessary information to help them make informed decisions. At our school, we believe in teaching competency through practice. We encourage our students to be hands-on and participate in the learning process actively. If they do so, the students can develop skills and knowledge that will enable them to contribute to society more effectively. We are proud of our students’ behavior and academic performance. We believe that these qualities are closely inter-linked. A well-behaved student is more likely to excel academically. Our holistic approach to education considers not just academic achievement but also personal growth and character development. Our school is part of a larger initiative called the 3DI program, which aims to empower students to develop self-confidence and prepare them for the IT industry. This program provides students with opportunities to learn about different aspects of IT and encourages them to pursue careers in this growing field. Overall, our school is committed to providing an all-round education that prepares students for success in all aspects of life. We value our students’ holistic growth and strive to create an environment that fosters personal, academic, and professional development simultaneously.