‘Educators must leave behind the simple role of disseminators of content and embrace a new paradigm as cultivators of curiosity.’
- Ramsay Musallam -
There will be new goals for performance and cognition in education in the future which Rallim Modern Learning Environment aims to achieve through its flexible, open and adaptive architectural design as well as its new models of learning.
At Rallim, we create a culture of continuous improvement and we subscribe to a deep commitment to innovation… in other words, Rallim continuously seeks to improve or develop new ways to more effectively impact on student learning.
To give our students in the Secondary Faculty an immediate competitive edge in coding, we place their focus on mastering the modern coding language, Swift – the platform preferred by many of today’s most successful App developers. To do this, students primarily work within Apple’s self-paced ‘Learn to Code’ curriculum whilst journalling their learning in Keynote. This allows students at any level to familiarise themselves with coding and feel the thrill of success when their code works for the first time.
As students’ mastery of coding in Swift evolves, they then move on to XCode, Apple’s Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that is used to code Macbooks, Apple TV, iPads, the Apple Watch as well as any other devices unique to Apple. Currently, we have an Xcode expert teaching our Accelerate students to work with XCode. From here, students will have the inspiring opportunity to start developing their own apps and try their hand at creating their own websites. Moreover, our integration of Phenomenon-Based Learning will allow them to ‘dream up’ apps and design websites that help solve real-world problems.
For our budding entrepreneurs, we have forged a partnership with local developers, Syspro. Currently, these awe-inspiring leaders are guiding our students through the steps of building an e-commerce platform that will allow them to sell their goods and services. This practical application of coding will provide a platform for all our students to apply the concepts covered during Business lessons, giving them real-world experience in starting and maintaining their own business streams.
On the Robotics front, students are currently using EV3 Robotics to explore the application of autonomous robots. Soon, we will also be moving into Spike Prime, which uses the self-paced LEGO app to build robots according to engineering principles with specific motors and sensors. Because this app is self-paced, even those students who have never touched a robot are able to begin systematically solving problems while using computational thinking to code a line-following robot.
This year, our students are incredibly excited to represent Rallim at two prestigious competitions. First is the WRO (World Robotics Olympiad), an event that brings together science, technology, education and robotics. Each year, there is a theme that teams need to incorporate into their design. In 2022, the theme is “My robot, my friend”, which takes a detailed look into the world of Artificial Intelligence and how it could be woven into the fibre of our future.
Second is the FLL (First Lego League), where our Secondary students will compete in the third of the three areas, namely the Challenge. FLL is a global STEM competition that focuses on showing young people how to think differently when it comes to sustainability, conservation, eco-friendliness and environmental issues. This ties heavily into our integration of Phenomenon-Based Learning, where our students are learning how to become ‘out-of-the-box’ thinkers.
In the near future, the use of virtual reality will be integrated into the curriculum. This cutting edge technology will enable our students to experience phenomena beyond the limitations of the classroom, thus allowing them to step into an interactive learning environment that may open their eyes to new vocational possibilities they had never thought of before. This will create mind-blowing moments.
Lastly – the drones. As one of the fastest growing industries, drone technology has left its fingerprints (‘wing prints’) on a diverse range of markets. Nearly every business owner wants to know how they can use drones to make their mark and influence their industry. With our students being given an early advantage in this area, this could lead them into the fields of becoming a drone pilot, repairing drones or even aviation itself. The opportunities are as limitless as a galaxy of imagination.
Perhaps Napoleon Hill said it best, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
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
The Cultural Hub at Rallim encourages students to explore their talents in Art, Drama, Dance and Music through the medley of opportunities provided and housed in the Movement and Design Hubs. At Rallim, we have introduced Design Arts for students to delve into various artistic media, thus empowering them to become familiar with areas they may have never investigated but in which they discover an innate talent. Students also have the choice to join the Art Society, where they discuss all things ‘Art’, including competitions and outings.
The Theatre of the Mind Hub gives students the freedom to build their confidence when speaking whilst facilitating the 21st Century skill of communication. Not only are students afforded the opportunity to show off their acting ‘chops’ in Drama as well as in Rallim’s Shakespeare Festival, but they may also choose to enter different competitions. In addition to Trinity and Royal School’s examinations, students may exhibit their talents in Eisteddfods from Cape Town, Stellenbosch and the Western Cape.
Our Music Appreciation subject discipline fosters a love of music, which can be further explored in the Individual Learning option of Music Production as well as Vocal Ensemble, Senior Band and Senior Marimba. If students are interested in playing an instrument, there are numerous experts to guide them in the following areas: piano, guitar, bass guitar, ukulele, drums, violin, cello, double bass and vocal tuition. Additionally, lessons in ballet, hip hop, acro dance and contemporary dance round out the wide variety of cultural plates on offer.
As the poem by Jon York goes, “Music is life, that’s why our hearts have beats.”
It goes without saying that participating in a sport not only builds strength of mind and body but self-discipline as well. At Rallim, our vision is to become the sporting school and club of choice along the West Coast, a goal which we will accomplish through holistically training our students to become passionate about their sport, confident in their ability, and respectful towards themselves, their teammates and their coaches. We strongly believe that a positive, nurturing environment is integral for students to develop a growth mindset, so they realise that they just can’t do it… yet. It is our intention to show them how perseverance and a determined mind lead to the overcoming of obstacles and the joys of success. We ensure a student’s love of sport is forged through quality coaching with an eye on excellence.
In the Secondary Faculty, we offer athletics, cricket, rugby, cross country, softball, netball, tennis, golf and hockey. Additionally, we love to recognise the achievements of our students who are competing in various sports outside of school.
Our three houses of Berkshire, Deerhurst and Coppin are led by the vibrant Grade Nines who always model school spirit and support their fellow athletes through dynamic cheers. They also relish healthy competition and often use their leadership skills to request or suggest house points for various activities throughout the year.
To sum it up, sport is entrenched in our culture like waves of energy racing through the hearts of teachers, coaches and teammates as victory closes in.
Making a difference
Why is it so important to give back to our community?
Giving back energises the part of your brain associated with happiness, social connection, trust and hope.
It reduces stress levels, which genuinely makes it good for your health.
It evokes gratitude. Practising an ‘attitude of gratitude’ is one of the greatest habits we can teach our teens to form.
It develops a sense of purpose. Making these connections with others helps us understand that we have truly contributed to the betterment of someone’s life. It shows us that we have a purpose on this Earth.
Giving is contagious, promotes kindness and helps develop our empathic side, all of which are essential to a child’s holistic development.
As ‘Making a Difference’ is one of our core values, we see community outreach as an integral part of a Rallim education. It is critically imperative in South Africa to foster in our children a sense of social responsibility toward their fellow South Africans and it is incumbent upon the school to serve where needed.
We are incredibly proud of our students for lending a hand and engaging in the following areas to help our community:
The Bread Buddy initiative: Our dedicated Grade 8s and 9s brought in loaves of bread, a spread, or ready-made sandwiches. Each week, the Outreach Committee lovingly made sandwiches for an underprivileged school in the area.
The Choc Foundation: After creating videos and pamphlets to spread awareness, the Outreach Committee hosted Flip Flop Day in support of The Choc Foundation, a non-profit organisation that helps families where one of the children or teens has been diagnosed with cancer. This driven and dedicated committee surpassed their goal and succeeded in collecting a spectacular R39,000 for this assiduous foundation. Soon, they are also planning visits to the children who live in choc houses to spread joy and love.
Reach for a Dream: The Outreach Committee collected packets of sweets and bought stickers in conjunction with Reach for a Dream’s Slipper Day.
Fallen Angels: To support one of our local animal shelters, the students had a brilliant time braiding old material and clothes to use for dog toys. The special part was taking the toys to the shelter and spending time with the animals or volunteering.
Not only does the Outreach Committee continuously help out with events or create videos to spread awareness, they always mention how good it makes them feel to be of service to others.
Our future vision in this vital area of social responsibility will see Rallim supporting the following key components:
We shall partner with a school in need in terms of physical resources.
We shall support a chosen school’s feeding scheme.
We shall ensure that we are proactive supporters of the disadvantaged and all our faculties will undertake major projects with students being actively encouraged to become members of Interact.
Rallim offers a world class, all round education and aspires to embrace and celebrate South Africa’s rich diversity by attracting a wide range of students from different backgrounds. This rich social mix ensures that the values and ideals of Rallim are maintained, and that the potential of all of our students is encouraged.