Nova Pioneer exists to thoroughly reimagine school and deliver a world-class learning experience to tens of thousands of students across the continent. Our learning experience is based on three core beliefs that guide our learning experience.
Traditional learning methods don’t inspire
Too often, in too many places around the globe, school isn’t exciting for children. There are few greater tragedies when institutions that should be igniting our dreams and turning us into lifelong learners instead leave students feeling bored, disempowered, inadequate, and underprepared. So the question is, how can schools deliver great teaching and how can we inspire students to enjoy their learning experience?
Below are Nova Pioneer’s core beliefs for great teaching and learning:
Replacing rote learning with enquiry-based learning
Instead of just memorizing and regurgitating lots of content, we believe that students should learn by asking questions, creating things, experiencing the joy of discovery, practicing with peers, and getting tons of feedback. We are not building schools full of classrooms where teachers lecture and students furiously take notes. We put students at the center of their own curiosity-fueled learning.
Developing the whole child
Too many schools see their job as developing “smart kids” and focus narrowly on building a student’s knowledge base and academic skills. While that is critically important, we hold ourselves accountable to a more holistic “Vision of a Novaneer”: we want to deeply develop our students’ character, capabilities and connection. Learn more about our “Vision of a Novaneer”
We have used coaching groups, leadership class, innovation block, and other experiences to provide students the time and space to explore issues, passions and struggles outside the traditional classroom experience.
Readiness for life beyond exams
Traditionally schools see their job as—and measures their success based on—students’ exam performance. We define our success based on a larger set of longer-term goals; we expect our students to excel in exams and attend great universities, build innovations and art, launch new companies, and impact their communities.
Ultimately, we want our students to become shapers of a world they envision rather than takers of the world they inherit. To this end, we will engage with our students long after graduation, learning from the struggles that our early alumni encounter and using those lessons to help better prepare our current students.
Closely tied to these core beliefs are strong convictions we hold about both students and teachers. Our impact begins with these mindsets. It is critical that you embrace these visions of students and teachers, regardless of your role at Nova Pioneer.
We believe our students have boundless potential and are capable of much more at a much earlier age than most people think. We therefore hold them to the highest expectations. We encourage them to take risks. We challenge them to reimagine school and be part of their learning experience. We give them constant feedback. Yet when things go wrong we don’t blame them: if students are not learning enough, we take responsibility and work to find solutions to better support them. We see young people as fundamentally capable—capable of impacting communities, of impacting others, and of producing excellent work.
Our teachers are not there to lecture and to dump knowledge on students. We ask our teachers to release control so students are doing the lion’s share of the thinking and talking, putting them in the driver’s seat of their own learning. When you walk into a great Nova Pioneer classroom, you will see order, but you won’t see the teacher dominating.
Students will be passionately discussing a topic, collaborating on small group work, and actively and eagerly participating. The teacher will be inspiring curiosity, asking probing questions, and challenging students’ thinking—all the while coaching and giving feedback. And you will see a classroom culture that reinforces great learning: the powerful mix of joy, highest expectations, and safety that encourages students to take risks and push themselves.
Novaneers develop the deep, unshakable knowledge that they are fundamentally capable of learning and growing in anything they dedicate themselves to. This knowledge is a greater resource than any exam result and prepares our graduates to be optimistic, self-assured innovators and leaders throughout their lives.