students on the sofa

Where Every Class is a Canvas of Learning!

When you spend time at Atelier 21, you will notice every classroom is a canvas of constant stretch and challenge, consciously designed to honour the individuality of each child as a capable and unique learner. The walls breathe with inspiration, with quotes and visual cues echoing the fundamental principles driving our educational ethos.

Words aren’t just words; they are agents of change, prompting you to pause and ponder, “How can I do this differently?” The conscious and emergent approach to learning and communication is more than a method, it’s a mindset equipping students with the tools to navigate and expand their own messy toolbox of life.

Stepping into a Year 7/8 International Baccalaureate (IB) Language and Literature class, there was a lively hum of conversation. Matt, our adept teacher, effortlessly steers the focus toward the day’s topic, creating an atmosphere where learning becomes a shared journey.

The seating arrangement itself speaks volumes – students choose to sit in a U-shape around the room. Without the barrier of tables, they would cluster in small groups or perch on their own, freely moving throughout the lesson. Matt moved around the space in the room connecting with individuals and groups. The result? A natural comfort and ease, where students see their teacher not as an authority figure but as a mentor and collaborator.

De-constructing Nike Ads:

The lesson focused on two contrasting Nike adverts. The first, a whirlwind of athleticism, prompts discussions on the intentional intricacies of advertising—the images, fonts, colours, and music. The second, the poignant ‘For Once, Don’t do it’ ad, digs deep into cultural and timely meanings, connecting seamlessly to prior explorations on societal issues like ‘Black Lives Matter.’

Matt’s skills and focus lay in extending the learning beyond the ads, intertwining it with past projects and encouraging lateral thinking. This approach isn’t just about dissecting adverts; it’s about building a broader understanding of language and literature. The IB Middle Years Project (MYP) related concepts like context, purpose, structure and more, are seamlessly woven into student-friendly discussions.

Beyond Ads: Crafting Individual Narratives

For several weeks, the class has been immersed in the world of advertising—analysing its language, structure, and impact. The primary thread that ties it all together is the MYP approach to learning of ‘Communication.’ As the lesson unfolds, there’s a gentle nudge to stretch thinking beyond the ads, to consider societal impact and to envision how this learning will shape their individual projects – to be presented at the end of term Big Share.

Each student is quickly progressing towards creating their own print and video advert, a testament to their newfound skills. Matt encourages them to collaborate, drawing inspiration from the diverse examples studied throughout the term. It’s not just about creating adverts; it’s about applying learned skills to projects that truly matter to them.

This dynamic learning journey extends beyond the classroom integrating social, collaborative, thinking, research and self-management skills – the very essence of the MYP approach.

Beyond the class discussions, students are provided with additional Nike adverts for independent exploration—a bridge between classroom learning and personal analysis.

In a realm where classroom management often consumes valuable teaching time, Matt’s subtle question -‘Are you with me?’ – acts as a compass, re-focusing conversations in a respectful and constructive manner. The atmosphere is one of mutual respect, where student ideas are met with curiosity and open dialogue.

In this unique space, where 11 and 12-year-olds engage in conversations that rival those of adults, education transcends traditional boundaries. Insights and analyses flow freely, offering a depth that surpasses expectations.

The lesson is more than a segment of time; it’s a conversation with purpose, a dynamic exchange that leaves you yearning for more. At Atelier 21, we’re not just teaching; we’re crafting an experience, where every word, every idea and every challenge adds a stroke to the masterpiece of a pioneering approach to education.