The Circle of 21st century skills as developed by the SLO, (the Dutch curriculum development board) shows skills deemed necessary in a future society. The underlying idea is that the future requires individuals who are at home in a highly technologized society, which values being entrepreneurial, interpersonal, and self-reliant. The similarities between Dalton education and the Circle of 21st Century Skills is no coincidence. From its beginning, Dalton education acknowledges that development of executive functioning and social skills is as important as development of cognitive reasoning. With this holistic educational approach is we learn children to give form to their future.
Dalton Education is a method for working.
The five principles
- Goal oriented
Freedom and responsibility
“Freedom and responsibility together perform the miracle”
Within the Dalton education framework, the concepts: freedom and responsibility are intrinsically linked. Being able to act responsibly requires practice in decision-making and learning to accept the consequences.
Freedom isn’t boundless.
A Dalton School is highly structured; the school rules, assignments, the requirements, the imposed time limits, etc. etc are the boundaries in which the pupil can practice freedom and responsibility. This framework of rules and requirements is the safe space in which you can be creative, experiment, discover and make mistakes.
“Experience is the best and indeed the only real teacher”
Learning to be self-reliant means to learn actively. Autonomy in a Dalton context means being able to self guide your learning process. Skills like for example: planning, organization, social skills, to ask for help when needed, and receiving feedback must be taught in a safe environment, one step at a time, until you’re able to do it yourself.
“The school functions as a social community”
Dalton education is a natural learning environment in which everyone can work, play and learn together. The school is a small and safe representation of the larger society in which the child learns to listen to different opinions and solutions, and dares to voice his opinion and show what it learned.
Inclusivity means, be willing to trust and rely on each other despite differences. Dalton education is principally inclusive education.
“Efficiency measure, a simple and economic reorganization of the school”
Dalton Education aims at efficient use of time and (human) resources. For example, an assignment is also an opportunity to learn effectively. Personalized assignments makes learning effective and better suited.
“I would be the first to hear welcome criticism”
It can be difficult to receive feedback or to be confronted with made mistakes. But only by looking at own mistakes, we can learn from them. The question why an assignment was answered incorrectly, matters more than if an assignment is answered incorrectly. At our school, children learn to evaluate their learning.
Learning to reflect
Children at our school learn to reflect on their learning in a structured way. As teachers we have to be precise in our expectation. Coaching the pupil, giving assignments in agreement and tracking their progress by themselves all contributes to more engagement and meaningful learning experience.
Working in a personalized method makes using standard educational methods unusable. The school invests heavily in new ways of teaching and learning, suited to the needs of the pupil.