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Opening Minds classes go beyond the regular curriculum and offer a space to think deeply and critically on intellectual pursuits without worrying about grades. They are a way to expand students’ horizons and develop their appetite for learning.
The main goal of this unique programme is to make sure students learn to ask questions, not just find answers. Participants may not be able to resolve every dilemma because the subject is meant to be difficult; it’s about learning to overcome difficulties and solving problems individually and collectively. The content is meant to be challenging and the subjects very specific — and intriguing — to appeal to the curiosity of students.
Opening Minds are a way to nurture the variety of interests and talents of our students and to build their confidence. Students must lead the way and be actively involved. It’s all about discovering and cultivating the joy of learning. The classes are taught by our own teachers and constitute an important part of the mandatory curriculum.
Students must sign up every semester for two different Opening Minds discovery classes per week, around 15 sessions per semester. They are mandatory for all students from Year 7 to Year 10 (6ème to 3ème). All levels are mixed together. Students’ work in those classes does not incur formal grades. Comments and guidance are frequent.
Teachers are encouraged to teach something related to their subject at the highest possible level, equivalent to the first or second year of a university course. It’s a dream class for them, as well, because they can teach subjects they feel especially passionate about to small groups of students (15 maximum per class) in a low-stress atmosphere with no marking or grading.
(The interest level of students is apparent from the number who sign up for specific courses, and classes won’t be offered if an insufficient number of students register.)
Main educational goals of the Opening Minds classes:
• Critical thinking
• Collaboration (in order to try and solve the problem together)
• Creativity (in the solution found)
• Understanding how we explore and learn what we don’t know