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BEPS Secondary School uncovers ‘hidden curriculum’
BEPS International School in Ixelles recently opened a Secondary School and is a candidate for both the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IB-MYP) and as an IB World School.
“When we plan a particular learning experience, there are multiple levels on which the students learn,” explains school director Pascale Hertay. “The aim of BEPS Secondary School is to take what is often called the ‘hidden curriculum’, involving soft skills like collaboration and time management, and make them explicit. We aim to create environments where learning is visible on multiple levels and for multiple goals.”
The HOWOW workshop was an excellent example of this. Students experienced the design process involved in making a short stop-motion animation – creating models, storyboards, sound effects, lighting and finally shooting the film.
“Our explicit goal was to create an animated shipwreck which could be used for the opening scene of our end-year production,” says Hertay. “The skills and themes were linked to art and design, and even literature classes, where MYP classes are exploring Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Twelfth Night, both of which begin with a shipwreck.”
Another example of the school’s fresh approach is its new partnership with Professional Women International (PWI), an association that aims to promote gender-balanced leadership. Together with PWI, BEPS wants to innovate in the teaching of science, technology, engineering, arts (including design) and mathematics (the “Steam” subjects) to prepare future generations. This co-operation will enable BEPS to create a powerful bridge between experts from both industry and education.
The first workshop with PWI Brussels focused on working towards a sustainable bio-economy. It was led by Geert Maesmans, global R&D director at agricultural firm Cargill, and Cristina Vicini, owner of Vicini Strategy. The experts took the students through the design processes used within Cargill’s R&D teams and explored the subject of meat replacements.
“Our students saw a direct link with the MYP learning approach,” says Hertay. “They realised that the design cycle used by Cargill is very similar to the inquiry and design cycles we use. It helped them realise that they are not just accumulating knowledge; they are gathering transferable skills for the workplace. Furthermore, they are learning to ask the right questions, take the right actions and make the right decisions.”