The schools at Best Schools in Spain stand out for their excellent academic results in general, as well as in the sciences, in particular. Evidence of this success is demonstrated by external tests such as the PISA exams and/or university admission exams, among others. These exams yield results far above those achieved in the rest of Spain, as well as in other countries that make up the OECD.
To achieve such high standards, we find it essential that student learning occurs by means of discovery. In this way, clear guides for critical thinking, mathematical reasoning and mental development are followed. By following the scientific method as guide for their studies, combined with a comprehensive knowledge about the environment, students are able to develop a care for and awareness of environmental issues that favour sustainable development. This awareness about the environment helps students acquire healthy lifestyle habits both individually and collectively and encourages them to apply these habits within their own communities.
This type of learning complements other types of more theoretical learning and promotes problem-solving as well as other classroom and laboratory activities, where STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) are cultivated. In many of our schools these skills are developed thanks to curricula that have been created by the very schools themselves. This type of learning is also encouraged through a multitude of extracurricular activities commonly offered in our schools. They include fun science clubs, robotics and programming activities, creative technology courses, 3D printing, school gardens, preparation for Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Mathematics competitions, among others.
Generating interest in science outside the classroom
One of our goals as educators is to inspire students to extend their science learning outside of the classroom by sparking an interest in our students that motivates them to take their curiosity beyond what the school’s curriculum has to offer. The schools at Best Schools in Spain strive to help students comprehend science and technology as a way of understanding the world as a whole, as well as understand the active role they can play to improve it.
Likewise, students learn how to work in a team, meaning that carrying out research and group projects frequently involves cooperative and collaborative activities. The main idea is to generate curiosity in our students and encourage them to be the active protagonists in their own learning process. This includes always respecting their professor and peers’ contributions, as well as being able to analyze possible solutions to any questions that may arise. All of this is carried out while simultaneously being aware of our students’ diverse needs and characteristics, in addition to stressing importance of the process, and not the product, as a way to reach a successful final result. This calls for support and/or reinforcement measures for students, as well as the detection of different talents students may possess by collaborating with corresponding guidance departments.
Various methodologies are put into practice through scientific learning. Apart from the aforementioned collaborative group work, such as project-based learning, we also put into practice the flipped classroom methodology. Students are oftentimes asked to create their own tutorial videos, as well as gamification practices, the latter of which is especially used in Primary school. Access to ICT tools, which are common in our centres, facilitates the use of these types of methodologies.
Scientific events and competitions: an added value at our schools
Student preparation for and participation in scientific events at a local, regional, national and international level is an everyday occurrence in our schools. Additionally, international science events often call for multilingualism as a requirement in order to participate. At these events, students usually have to present their research projects to other schoolchildren as well as to academic professionals representing the different scientific disciplines. The fact that these presentations are done in a public setting helps student develop another undoubtedly valuable skill while participating in such events.
The intra and interdepartmental cross-curricular quality of our teaching is something that characterizes science learning at Best Schools in Spain’s schools. This type of learning promotes a global approach that encourages research and exploration. In this sense, it’s also important to call into attention the activities that aren’t specifically science-related but that help students develop their knowledge and abilities within the different scientific disciplines. These activities, such as debates, can often require scientific research or creative writing skills within the scientific field. In addition, activities that require students to develop their entrepreneurial skills often follow a thread of scientific-technological ideas that oftentimes have a social component that calls for students to solve everyday problems.
In short, science learning at the schools at Best Schools in Spain provides students with a quality science education that is guaranteed.