The school prepared to take on the unique challenges of the 21st-century

Switzerland’s Institut auf dem Rosenberg has an international reputation for doing things differently from any other international boarding school around the world. From its unique Talent & Enrichment programme – aimed at preparing the leaders of the tomorrow with the skills and knowledge they need to adapt to a fast-changing world – right through to the school’s highly tailored approach to the health and wellbeing of its students.

Rosenberg’s director and headmaster Bernhard Gademann’s belief that there is an increasing gap between what children are being taught in the classroom and traditional universities,compared to the skills needed in the real world,informed his decision to implement the Talent & Enrichment programme. The programme comprises over 100 “co-curricular courses” – so called because they complement and run alongside an impressive selection of five traditional academic paths,such as the IB and A-Levels. Courses range from Applied Robotics and Molecular & Culinary Lab to Sustainable Design with the Monaco Yacht Club and workshops at the Norman Foster Foundation. Rosenberg students can also immerse themselves in Creative Intelligence & Informatics,Corporate Finance and Diplomacy & Leadership – each course providing them with unique skills to meet their aims and ambitions.

Skills such as adaptability and innovation,which are often overlooked in traditional education systems,yet prized in the world of work,therefore form the backbone of Rosenberg’s educational concept. As a school whose ethos centres around innovation and adaptability,it is no surprise that Rosenberg was quick to rise to the challenges that the coronavirus pandemic has posed. It was the first schools in Switzerland to close its gates in response to coronavirus. The school was then quick to re-wire the entire 19th-century campus overnight so that the students’ education wouldn’t be interrupted when they returned to their respective home countries. With a student body comprising 230 students from 50 different nationalities,the school had to navigate multiple time zones in the Western and Eastern hemispheres in order to adjust the school timetable. Teachers overhauled their teaching plans to adapt to the digital context of ZOOM Professional,Quizlet and Desmos and science teachers even went so far as to ship scientific equipment to students in the four corners of the world,so that they could continue with their experiments. As digital natives,the students were quick to adjust to this new learning environment,and productivity remained surprisingly high.

While the students were away,Gademann took the opportunity to renovate the art-nouveau dining hall and has further plans to fit a state-of-the-art kitchen over the summer. This is in line with the schools’ commitment to allowing students to have autonomy in looking after their own health and wellbeing. Under the helm of head chef,Marcin Szlezak – who joins Rosenberg from a Michelin-starred background – Rosenberg’s team of world-class chefs delivers a range of nutritional,international cuisine and accommodate any particular dietary requirements,such as vegetarianism,veganism,dairy-free,gluten-free and religious restrictions. Students can even create a dietary plan with the resident nutritional chef.

This month,Rosenberg was the first Swiss international boarding school to welcome back its first wave of students. Students have had the flexibility to return on the 14th or the 28th June 2020. With this flexible arrangement,students will finish their school year either on the 1st or 15th August 2020. In many ways,the coronavirus pandemic has served to underline the importance of Gademann’s commitment to preparing his students for the ever-changing demands of the 21st century. He says,”The most important thing that our students leave with – which we like to refer to as a state of mind – is a sense of optimism to embrace the challenges of the future. This entrepreneurial mindset will get them ready for anything life can throw at them and thrive in a fast-changing world. It is key that we teach the entrepreneurs of the future to be agile,innovative and think broadly; harnessing ways to collectively solve problems.”

Now that the school is up and running again,Gademann will continue to pioneer new ways of educating his students. For example,the Rosenberg international curriculum,which will be available from the next school year,will be fully modular and allows high school-aged students to be set in classes that are purely ability based,rather than based on age. This will enable students who are gifted or strong,and want early qualifications,to seamlessly access more advanced classes – a milestone evolution for Rosenberg; one that Gademann believes can be replicated in schools all around the world.

References:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi0NfFQ2DmcKIhtsByJRuMg/

https://www.facebook.com/instrosenberg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WfXBqNJXYw

https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-ch/planning/about-switzerland/organisation/institut-auf-dem-rosenberg-st-gallen/

https://www.bllnr.com/innovation/the-education-revolution

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