The traditional education approach to learning, where students absorb the course content across different subjects, memorize it, and rewrite the material in assessments and examinations, is referred to as a results-oriented environment.
In this approach, teachers lay out the hows and whats of a classroom while students must listen, follow and meet the expectations of their teachers and of the curriculum. Competition is encouraged and students in a class are expected to learn at a pace dictated by the teachers and the content of the curriculum.
Oftentimes, the classrooms’ desks and chairs are organized in a row on one side for the students and the teacher does the teaching on the other side. This reinforces the idea that the students are to follow the direction of their teacher and is often criticized for providing students with few opportunities for creativity and independent learning.
While this traditional approach has been around for hundreds of years, research into best practices in education have revealed it to be a less-than-ideal learning environment for many students.
A need for a better approach to education is becoming paramount and its benefits are becoming evident as experts in education shift their research to a holistic approach to education.
Let’s take a look at what a holistic approach to education can look like at an international school, and what benefits students can enjoy from a holistic education.
Are you confused by different international school options for your child? Learn more about why ISKL might be the right choice here.
What does holistic education mean?
Holistic education focuses on the “whole child” rather than strictly on academics or performance metrics. This dynamic approach to teaching uses experiential learning, which involves a hands-on approach, and self-guided learning where teachers utilize personalization in the learning models based on each student’s suitability.
Unlike traditional classrooms, where the focus is on product and results, holistic educators work closely with students to discover and determine how class time can best be used. These classrooms include a range of experiments, projects, discussions and student-centered activities within a real-world context.
Holistic educators acknowledge that each student learns at their own pace and in their unique way. Keeping this in mind, students develop essential skills like deep-thinking and problem-solving skills that will help them adapt and survive out in the real world.
This teaching method instills students with the necessary self-confidence, resilience and perseverance that guides them toward becoming more “future-ready.”
To help you get familiar with the terms used by international schools and educators, check out our glossary of international education terminology here.
What are the benefits of a holistic education?
Holistic education is altering our understanding of the traditional approach of teaching. Research into a holistic approach to education shows how a holistic education can advance students’ achievements both internally and externally.
Learn more about the benefits of an international education for a child’s development here to know if it is the right decision for your child.
Students develop a lifelong love of learning
Holistic education occurs when students learn that they are part of a system and can considerably influence that system. This method benefits students to develop academically, physically, socially, mentally and emotionally.
A holistic approach to education establishes a supportive and positive environment where educators teach students “how” to learn instead of the traditional technique of rote memorization that emphasizes “what” to learn. Students get the opportunity to expand their curiosity and discover answers to self-directed questions.
This educational approach incorporates encourages students to explore their passions and interests, achieve their goals, and better understand themselves.
Holistic learning will benefit students by teaching them to be aware of and appreciate their potential, and encourages learning as a lifelong experience. What starts as an educational journey involving personal discovery through formal education will continue throughout the learner’s life.
Improved interpersonal skills and other soft skills
Holistic education encourages students to widen their perspectives and exercise their critical thinking in examining the world around them and appreciating the people and relationships that exist within it.
In this approach, students accept ownership of their academic and personal responsibilities by establishing realistic goals, managing their time and setting out plans to achieve them.
This methodology empowers students and instills a range of interpersonal and soft skills, such as creative thinking, problem-solving, effective communication, collaboration, etc.
These skills will fuel their confidence and equip them to take risks and be decisive when it comes to new or unfamiliar situations in the future.
Improved academic achievement
The supportive environment developed in a holistic classroom dramatically benefits the students’ social, emotional, and academic well-being, stimulating their self-awareness and granting them a sense of social responsibility.
Teachers cater to students’ individual learning needs by understanding, supporting, and integrating their strengths, capabilities, background, life experiences, and weaknesses in the lesson plans.
Students feel emotionally and physically secure and connected to their teachers and peers, which boosts brain capacities and motivation, thus improving academic achievement.
Overall, the holistic learning philosophy delivers many benefits to students, teachers, schools, and communities. Students are engaged and empowered, resulting in better educational outcomes. Students also acquire the necessary life skills to lead them to a successful career.
Download the free Checklist: Key Questions Every Parent Should Ask a Prospective School.