New kid on the block, Fu­ture Na­tion Schools, is chal­leng­ing mod­ern African learn­ing

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Schools no longer need to be a place of end­less cor­ri­dors and desks in straight rows. As our way of teach­ing changes, we need to cre­ate spa­ces and lessons that ex­cite and en­er­gise chil­dren. In ad­di­tion, we should vi­su­alise teach­ing strate­gies that will en­sure that stu­dents are en­gaged in their learn­ing, af­ter all the 21st cen­tury learn­ing should not merely in­volve the use of lap­tops, tablets and smart­boards.

In­tro­duc­ing Fu­ture Na­tion Schools

Fu­ture Na­tion Schools, part of the Si­fiso Learn­ing Group, founded by Sizwe Nx­as­ana and Dr Judy Dlamini, are spear­head­ing the African ed­u­ca­tion revo­lu­tion by pro­vid­ing a model that is both fu­tur­is­tic, tech­nol­ogy-en­abled and epit­o­mises excellence in Africa. The pro­ject aims to ad­dress the lo­cal ed­u­ca­tional is­sues that we face as a coun­try.

Ul­ti­mately the year-old school­ing group is striv­ing to cre­ate the ideal learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment, de­velop exceptional teach­ers and con­tent, and cre­ate an en­tire aca­demic and so­cio-emo­tional sup­port struc­ture to en­sure that every child who comes through their doors re­ceives an op­ti­mal learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, specif­i­cally crafted to in­di­vid­ual needs and strengths.

The Fu­ture Na­tion Schools Cur­ricu­lum

What char­ac­terises Fu­ture Na­tion Schools? They are char­ac­terised by stu­dent-cen­tred learn­ing, high aca­demic stan­dards, ap­plied re­search and de­vel­op­ment, in­no­va­tion, lead­er­ship and en­trepreneur­ship. They also em­bark in African stud­ies.

In ad­di­tion,The Fu­ture Na­tion Schools cur­ricu­lum is de­signed to not only meet the min­i­mum state stan­dards, but in­cor­po­rates best prac­tice from around the world to sup­ple­ment th­ese stan­dards with further con­tent and skills. They are also gov­erned by the CAPS na­tional cur­ricu­lum guide­lines.

While the learn­ers write IEBbased fi­nal year ex­ams (aligned to South African in­de­pen­dent school stan­dards), the schools firmly be­lieve that the skill sets learn­ers re­quire once they en­ter the “real world” is over and above that which they are tested on in ma­tric. The Fu­ture Na­tion Schools cur­ricu­lum is thus mod­eled with both the ma­tric ex­emp­tion pass and the re­quire­ments of a suc­cess­ful univer­sity stu­dent, en­tre­pre­neur or busi­ness per­son in mind.

The Fu­ture Na­tion Schools ed­u­ca­tion model

The schools en­sure they are de­liv­er­ing a world-class aca­demic pro­gramme within the con­text of an African frame­work and through a Pro­ject Based Learn­ing (PBL) ped­a­gogy.

The teach­ers im­ple­ment fully im­mer­sive PBL meth­ods of teach­ing and learn­ing. This means that stu­dents not only use tech­nol­ogy to learn, but they de­sign their own projects, play­ing real life prob­lem solv­ing roles within th­ese projects and chal­lenges.

This al­ter­na­tive way of teach­ing and learn­ing is new to South Africa, al­though oc­ca­sion­ally tack­led in in­di­vid­ual sub­jects and the prin­ci­ples oc­ca­sion­ally ap­plied, this full PBL cur­ricu­lum is a first.

This im­mer­sive method dif­fers from com­mon in­struc­tional meth­ods as the ed­u­ca­tors meet the stu­dents at their level and fo­cus on us­ing their in­ter­ests to en­sure max­i­mum ma­te­rial re­ten­tion and un­der­stand­ing. The PBL model refers to stu­dents de­sign­ing, planning and car­ry­ing out an ex­tended pro­ject that pro­duces a pub­liclyex­hib­ited out­put such as a prod­uct, pub­li­ca­tion or pre­sen­ta­tion.

Fu­ture Na­tion Schools elected to use this ap­proach for all grades and sub­jects be­cause it en­cour­ages en­quiry in stu­dents and al­lows for stu­dents to ex­pe­ri­ence how the the­ory they are taught is ap­plied in the real world.

Fu­ture Na­tion Pre-Schools use the Montes­sori teach­ing model in the class­rooms. The Montes­sori ap­proach sup­ports self-di­rected, en­quiry-based learn­ing that teaches chil­dren col­lab­o­ra­tion, in­de­pen­dence and pur­pose­ful work. Montes­sori teach­ers lead chil­dren to ask ques­tions, think for them­selves, ex­plore, in­ves­ti­gate, and dis­cover. The ultimate ob­jec­tive is to help chil­dren to learn in­de­pen­dently and to stim­u­late their natural cu­rios­ity, cre­ativ­ity, and in­tel­li­gence.

What sets Fu­ture Na­tion Schools (FNS) apart from the tra­di­tional school struc­ture?

The Fu­ture Na­tion school­ing model aims to give chil­dren the best start in life by:

FNS be­lieve in di­ver­sity in every as­pect – from cul­tures to skill sets to teach- ers’ unique jour­neys to be­com­ing ed­u­ca­tors. FNS hire teach­ers who have worked in banks and have built houses; teach­ers who are writ­ers and artists, be­cause we know that noth­ing can re­place life ex­pe­ri­ence.

FNS en­sure that our teach­ers and staff keep their skills fresh, rel­e­vant and up-to-date.

FNS be­lieve we are on a learn­ing jour­ney through­out our lives and want to en­cour­age stu­dents to al­ways be aware of their ca­pac­ity to grow and de­velop be­yond even what school­ing can pro­vide them.

FNS en­sures stu­dents use tech­nol­ogy ef­fec­tively, us­ing al­ter­na­tive meth­ods of teach­ing that keep stu­dents in­ter­ested in the learn­ing process.

As the ways of teach­ing change, FNS are de­vel­op­ing ed­u­ca­tional spa­ces that ex­cite chil­dren and en­er­gise them. The group has been built on the val­ues of di­ver­sity, fun, pas­sion, excellence, in­tegrity and re­spect.

Join Fu­ture Na­tion Schools for one of our open days to ex­pe­ri­ence th­ese unique schools.

Fu­ture Na­tion Preschools are si­t­u­ated in Lyn­d­hurst, Parkview, Fleurhof, Rand­burg and Sand­ton. Fu­ture Na­tion Pri­mary and High Schools in Lyn­d­hurst and Fleurhof are ac­cept­ing en­rol­ments for for 2018.

“Ed­u­ca­tion is close to our hearts and is some­thing that we have al­ways been in­volved in be­cause we be­lieve a new way of teach­ing is re­quired if we are to pro­duce lead­ers that are fit for an ever-chang­ing and de­mand­ing fu­ture.” Founder Sizwe Nx­as­ana

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