Our Overall Approach
At Rallim Modern Learning Environment, we aim to cultivate a keen intellect, a sense of curiosity and wonder, a rigorous attitude and an insatiable passion for learning. We believe in deepening students’ engagement with learning in order that it remains relevant in an ever-evolving educational landscape.
We follow the Reggio Emilia-inspired approach which values the child as strong, capable, resilient and rich with wonder and knowledge. Our flexible learning spaces are filled with natural light and glass with an indoor exploratory learning hub.
At Rallim, we aim to achieve the explicit outcomes of the national curriculum by acknowledging the unique competencies and capacities of children through an engaging programme whereby we honour a broad range of learning styles and in which we nurture a keen intellect, a sense of curiosity and wonder, and a passion for learning. We believe in the potential or the unrealised ability of every child. We actively embrace the idea of each individual having a growth mindset and that a student simply has not mastered a particular concept or skill… yet.
Our framework for learning, Redesigning Education for the Future (REF21), is explicitly embedded within our curriculum design and mapping processes. It is thoughtfully developed in line with an enhanced national curriculum employing strategies of customised and innovative learning methods as well as a willingness to transcend traditional academic boundaries thereby creating deeper learning experiences and individualised pathways to success for the students. It is an interest-driven framework which is interdisciplinary in composition with a targeted focus on 21st Century skills.
Our guiding principle when deciding on our framework for learning was the following simple question: What is learning and how do we do it… for the future? We answered this by defining three kinds of learning: Competencies, values and skills (CVS) which form the DNA of our learning ecosystem.
The competencies are those as prescribed by the national curriculum and include the requisite content and skills necessary for progression between the different phases as stipulated by the Department of Education. In terms of the development of character, at the centre of our value-bases is the uniqueness of every child and we see quality education as a basic right. Furthermore, our core values at Rallim underpin the hidden curriculum and inform all of our endeavours. Finally, the development of 21st Century skills includes those vital soft skills which are inherent in our approach and methodology:
Critical thinking, creativity and problem solving;
Communication and collaboration;
Leadership and responsibility.
Students in the Preparatory Faculty learn through a multi-disciplinary and integrated approach which includes:
Master classes with subject specific expertise, ability groups and facilitators;
The Socratic approach to teaching and learning incorporating an inquiry led focus which emphasises discovery and research as well as experiential learning through design and construction;
The embodied learning approach with multi-modal, kinaesthetic and collaborative learning;
An advanced technology blended teaching and learning environment utilising compulsory coding and games-based approaches;
A customized, student centred environment with individualised timetables according to a student’s cognitive development (e.g. The Accelerate or the Reteach programmes).
At Rallim, our unique framework for learning is known as Redesigning Education for the Future (REF21). Whilst working alongside the national curriculum, REF21 includes key components of the Common Ground Collaborative (an international curriculum intentionally focused on the future of education) as well as the Phenomenon-Based approach to learning (Finland’s ground-breaking programme that encourages students to explore real-world issues and see where their curiosity takes them). The subjects on offer are: English, Afrikaans, isiXhosa, French, Mathematics/Mathematical Literacy, Life Orientation, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, History, Geography, Business Studies, Accounting, Computer Applications Technology, Engineering Graphics & Design, Informational Technology, Visual Arts, Music, Dramatic Arts and Consumer Studies. Also on offer is Coding & Robotics and a variety of Independent Learning courses.
In conjunction with the 21st Century skills, this framework teaches students how to move from conceptualising knowledge to making connections to reflecting on their own learning. Students learn how to identify and deconstruct issues before examining potential solutions whilst collaborating with like-minded peers. This is a fluid and ever-growing experience where learning is hands-on and relevant. We are truly redesigning not only education but the person as a ‘whole’, who is ready for the global changes we face.
To prepare our students for their journey, we place a strong focus on making connections. Our mentorship programme links small groups of students with an individual mentor who builds their trust and creates a safe space where students know they will be heard. This ensures that students will not become lost in a sea of classmates but will instead feel encouraged to talk about their concerns. At Rallim, we pride ourselves on this programme because the holistic well-being of our students is our #1 priority.
In case you were wondering, let us outline the 21st Century skills that are going to set our students up as visionaries with a definite purpose. Here, we will explain each skill and how it relates to our Academic Hub.
21st Century Skills – Learning
At Rallim, students are taught how to look at something and evaluate it. How? By questioning its validity, debating with others about its relevance, analysing its properties, wondering how else it could be used, or inferring how it could be improved. With teachers facilitating this kind of thinking, students quickly see how they are the ones guiding their own learning.
It was Maya Angelou who wisely said, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” We agree… which is why we added subjects that allow our students’ creativity to spring forth like a new set of Azuki NFTs. Our edumentors are experts in their field, leading the way in Design Arts, Ideation, Musical Expression and Theatre, as well as Individual Learning. In fact, Individual Learning is one of our most popular subjects as students could have up to 10 ever-evolving topics from which to choose, including Financial Literacy, Musical Production, Geographical Information Systems, Vlogging, Podcasting, Furniture Design, Drone Building and Sports Science to name a few.
Take a moment to think back to that one coach who always looked you in the eye and said, “There’s no ‘i’ in team!”, whilst you enthusiastically nodded your head in agreement. Did you ever wish that your teacher felt the same way? At Rallim, we understand that one person can’t do it all because different strengths are imperative for a task to be completed at its optimum level. Our flexible learning spaces are equipped with standing desks and collaborative tables on wheels to allow for group combinations of any size. For an idea to grow and take shape, it needs the energy of your team.
In today’s lightning-paced world of instant messaging, more and more people are scared to talk FTF (face to face), thus causing high levels of social anxiety. As a result, the skill of communication is seen as highly sought-after. Through debating, the option of public speaking, as well as many opportunities for leadership, Rallim believes in empowering our students to find their voice and speak their truth.
21st Century Skills – Literacy Skills
Information, Media, Technology: Today, it is not enough to be able to read and understand. Skills such as reading code, deconstructing visual sources, recognising important aspects of various social media platforms, and having the ability to summarise whilst sifting through swathes of information are seen as absolutely vital. Through our advanced use of technology, Rallim students are afforded opportunities to develop these skills as they enquire, innovate and discover. As the world evolves, so do we. Concepts such as the blockchain, augmented reality, 3-D printing and Artificial Intelligence are explored in our curriculum so our students are prepared for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
21st Century Skills – Life Skills
Upon visiting Rallim, the first thing you might notice is all the glass that students love using as personal whiteboards – because learning should be flexible. The second thing you might notice is the large spaces. We call these Flexible Learning Areas – because comfort and learning shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. In all areas of life, change is inevitable, and adapting to that change is a necessary skill as our students embark on their labyrinth of life.
Indian guru, Sadghuru, rightfully said, “Integrity, insight, and inclusiveness are the three essential qualities of leadership.” The greatest leaders are lifelong learners who thrive on guiding their team into the jungle of the future. This is why we created the following Leadership Portfolios: Student Council, Clan Leaders, Marketing and Events, Class Representatives, Tech Gurus, Peer Mediators, Content Creators, Vloggers and Podcasters, and Outreach. Through the guidance of our dynamic edumentors, students may follow their passions while simultaneously developing their leadership abilities.
Phenomenon-Based Learning uses initiative to ask big questions – possibly even those questions that have yet to be asked. Initiating conversations around these questions leads to more motivation, more exploration, and more delving into the unknown. As Rallim students are afforded so many areas of opportunity, this enthusiasm to succeed can be compared to a steam engine morphing into the Shanghai Maglev (the fastest train on Earth).
Our sustainability goals, where we include the community and bridge the gap between all stakeholders, are aimed at having our students meet with experts in their field. This will eventually lead to internships with businesses so the students can see what it takes to be productive and successful.
Building a child’s EQ (emotional intelligence) as well as their IQ is an integral part of developing a modern student. To assist with this, our inner engineering programme is built around mindfulness and creating a ‘stronger me’ with the potential growth of students into confident individuals. Understanding empathy and learning how to understand someone else is a key to success. As Sean Covey states in The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Teens, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
To recap, the benefits of our interdisciplinary- and inquiry-based learning style are embedded in the following:
Students’ levels of engagement increases
They develop inquiry and research skills
Students learn new content independently and with respect to their passions
It promotes students’ overall well-being
Students develop skills they can use in all aspects of life