Part One - Integration: “How do you teleport?”

Our MAC teachers are well accustomed to questions from students that appear to come right out of left field. It’s one of the fun and intriguing aspects of teaching.

However, in a recent art class, Ms. Butterfield was confronted with a query that momentarily had her stumped. A student asked, “How do you teleport?”

Perhaps in a physics or science class this question might be anticipated but in Anthropology class?

Taking a well-deserved pause before attempting to answer, Ms. Butterfield responded in a manner typical of MAC’s teachers. She said, “I don’t know but let’s think about it.”

Ms. Butterfield’s response is the tip of the iceberg when we begin to explore how MAC approaches education and that is what we’ll be doing in this blog post and the next three editions as well. We’ll be featuring some of the initiatives taken by MAC teachers including Ms. Butterfield, Ms. Ameen and Mr. Duranleau. This trio represent a range of subject matter – art, science, humanities – and they will share how MAC is changing the face of education.

In its recent The Future of Education Report 2022, The Future Design school wrote, “A common critique of traditional approaches to education is that they fall short in helping students to see how their learning prepares them for the ‘real world.’”

What is the ‘real world’?

It’s one of great uncertainty where we know little more than what we don’t know for sure. That’s a considerable driving force behind our commitment to re-imagine possibilities and do our utmost to ensure that MAC grads are equipped with five fundamental, foundational skills.

Those skills are:

  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Problem solving
  • Self management
  • Technology use and development
  • Working with people

One of the ways in which we accomplish this is to deliver integrative learning. Now, without devolving into oblique pedagogical terminology here’s a simple way to understand what we mean and we’ll start with Einstein!

Einstein observed that all disciplines of human knowledge are “branches from the same tree,” the vitality of the whole depends on the strength of the foundation.

The branches are the various subjects and curriculum we deliver – mathematics, art, biology, literature, history and so on. The trunk of the tree is comprised of a devotion to understanding that if we study these disciplines in silos we may well become subject experts but we will not be well educated!

To be well educated, to acquire the skills required to succeed (however one defines it) we must pursue integrative learning. Learning where the lessons of history inform our understanding of scientific principles and their practical applications. Where mathematics informs our ability to create meaningful works of art because we understand dimension, perspective and the like. 

In other words we must move forward with transdisciplinary education which enables students to understand that subjects are distinct, yet interconnected and experience learning in a manner where they apply what they’re learning in a variety of contexts.

As Henry Ford wrote, “If we keep doing what we’ve always done, we’ll keep getting what we’ve always got” and that’s just not going to work in this day and age. Change is inevitable and we welcome it wholeheartedly. 

Our commitment includes delivery of the International Baccalaureate PYP where learners strive to be:

  • inquirers
  • knowledgeable
  • thinkers
  • communicators
  • principled
  • open-minded
  • caring
  • risk-takers
  • balanced
  • reflective

It also embraces the educational values of Round Square which is built around six themes, or IDEALS:

  • Internationalism
  • Democracy
  • Environmentalism
  • Adventure
  • Leadership
  • Service

MacLachlan is committed to challenging and exploring the limitations of traditional education by developing a bold and creative vision that promotes an entrepreneurial, success-driven and future-oriented mindset that is integrated into every aspect of school life.

As we continue to explore this approach we’ll share the stories, ideas and innovations of three of our teachers and follow them as they bring the realities of transdisciplinary education to our students.

OH! Regarding the issue of teleportation…we still don’t have the answer but we have a team looking into it! 

Next month: The Anything Club

Author: MacLachlan College

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