Vittra’s Telefonplan School is a visually stunning school. As an educator, the first thought you have when you see it is , literally, “Wow! That’s one cool school…”
Or maybe you ask yourself this question: “Is this the school of the future?”
And then you do one of two things. You want to find out more, if you’re like me. I am curious about anything related to education, be it teaching, be it learning, be it teachers, or be it students, if education is what’s on your mind, you got my attention.
The other thing you might do is wish they had something like that where you work at, then you realize that your teaching and learning context, ie. school, students, teachers, parents, society, etc. simply isn’t ready for something so radically different from what you are currently doing at your school or in your country even. You could try though, couldn’t you? Sure you could…
Then, shaking your head, you wistfully move on to something else…
In my case, I’m an innovator and a risk-taker by nature. How else does a guy born in Luxora, Arkansas end up teaching English in Chile. I mean Luxora, Arkansas is not even on the map, unless you come from Luxora and know exactly where to look – 4 miles east of Osceola, Arkansas on Highway 61…or 12 miles west of Blytheville, Arkansas (same highway).
And Chile? Well, it’s basically the end of the world, literally and physically located at the end of South America. So, like I said, I have a sense for the unknown, metaphorically speaking.
So, I wanted to know more. I was certain there would be a Youtube video, or two, or three, or more. I wasn’t disappointed, as there was a large number of videos for me to satisfy my curiosity.
Next, it was on to the Vittra Telefonplan school website. There I looked at each page, and was impressed by what I found. Leave no doubt in your mind, Vittra is a forward-thinking organization, and they are on to something.
I shall try to put this in my own words, because that is how I want to ensure I have grasped the concept that is the main driver behind the Vittra philosophy of education.
Here goes, in my own words: Thomas Baker (me) – “At Vittra, they believe that the future of education is not going to be like the past. Students will need to be able to solve novel problems, the kind that nobody today has any idea will be problems that will need to be dealt with.” – Thomas Baker interpretation of Vittra’s Philosophy of Education
For me, that implies developing a person who is a lifelong learner, a critical thinker, technologically competent, able and willing to collaborate with anyone in the world, multilingual, multicultural, creative, innovative, and with an entrepreneurial spirit.
How does Vittra plan to be consistent with their vision of the future?
Vittra has implemented One to One (one laptop for each student), open learning spaces, Individual learning plans, bilingualism in English and Swedish beginning in kindergarden (approximately 50% of staff is Native Speaker in English), and are working closely with a universally renowned, highly respected researcher, Professor Tomas Kroksmark http://www.tomaskroksmark.se/cv.html.
Will it work?
Good question. I think I’ll let the Telefonplan (school without walls) Principal answer the question:
Quote – “In 2025, our first children of Vittra Telefonplan will graduate. Equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to study further or find a workplace where they can implement their ideas – anywhere in the world! They’ve had a schooling that motivated them to ask questions and deepen their knowledge. They solve problems with creativity and innovation and they have a strong belief in their abilities.” – Jannie Jeppesen, Principal, Vittra Telefonplan
To finish, I would be remiss if I didn’t add that I have been thinking about the International Baccalaureate philosophy of education as I informed myself about the Telefonplan school of the future.
first of all, let me say that I have liked everything that I have seen and read about vittra and the Telefonplan school. Leave no doubt in your mind, this organization will achieve outstanding results, above and beyond what even they are willing to hope for and imagine for their students. You can take that to the bank, as the saying goes.
However, to be perfectly honest, and frank, I believe the International Baccalaureate is the best education system in the world, right now, today, tomorrow, and for the next century (100 years) I strongly believe that they will continue to have the best education system in the world…
Now, having said that, Vittra gives me something to think about, with their forward-looking approach. However, given the choice of working at Vittra or an IB school, I’d choose the IB school. Any IB school, anywhere in the world, is going to be an exciting place to be, for me.
Now, you might ask me why I seem so absolutely certain, especially when Vittra looks so promising.
My answer is simple: The IB has a more than 40 year history of delivering high-quality results year in and year out, no matter what measurement criteria you wish to apply. More importantly, the International Baccalaureate has replicated its educational philosophy all around the world:
Quote: “The International Baccalaureate® (IB) offers high quality programmes of international education to a worldwide community of schools. There are more than 900,000 IB students in over 140 countries.” (end of quote) http://www.ibo.org/
The Last Shot: A Season Like No Other (1980 Luxora Panthers)
The Last Shot: A Season Like No Other [Kindle Edition]
Publication Date: September 15, 2012
“The Last Shot” is told from my point of view.
Yet, in a larger sense, it’s a story that makes the effort to keep something alive, a memory of a moment in time I shared with some very special people from a small town called Luxora, Arkansas, my hometown, population 1,317.
Don’t bother looking for it on the map. Be content to know it is located about 4 miles east of Osceola, Arkansas on Highway 61… or 12 miles west of Blytheville, Arkansas, same highway.
One of the most defining characteristics of a small town in Arkansas is the quality and traditions of its local high school sports teams.
In 1980, I had the great fortune to be a member of two of Luxora’s greatest sports teams ever: the State Championship track and field team of 1980 and the State Runner-Up basketball team of 1980.
I graduated on May 17, 1980 and since I left, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been back to Luxora.
This book, about the Luxora Panthers basketball team of 1980, is a memoir of sorts, pieced together from my memories and from news clippings about our team.
It’s a way for me to go back, in my mind’s eye, like a bird high in the sky, and look once again upon my Luxora, as I remember it to be.
I thank you kindly, if you decide to join me on this journey back to Luxora, Arkansas, home of the mighty Luxora Panthers…
This book is autobiographical. It relies on my subjective remembrance. There is a clear delineation between fact and fiction. I have tried to be true, above all, to my own Luxora experience. Everyone who is a Luxora Panther, with black and gold blood flowing through our veins, will find a bit of their story, told in my autobiographical essays. For this reason, I wish to share and thus dedicate this book to all the people of Luxora, Arkansas, my hometown.
Kindle Reader Edition: $0.99
How to Coach A Debate Team
This book contains all you need to know to successfully coach a debate team. You may need to convince students that debate is a good idea, though. Here are six reasons:
1. Debating ability is a valuable skill.
2. Debate utilizes useful English.
3. It is a unique way to teach grammar.
4. It develops critical thinking skills.
5. It introduces global issues.
6. It develops research skills.
A more powerful reason to coach a debate team is given to us by Dr. Martin Luther King: ““Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace… If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation…” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – 1964 Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech
The global search for high-quality education, embedded in high-performing education systems, has taken on mythical proportions, almost resembling the alchemists’ quest to turn common metals into gold.
It is my hope that the present day search for global education, equitable and providing equality of opportunity for all, shall not cease until the “gold” we seek, has been found.
I therefore dedicate this book to all the educators, researchers, parents and students the world over, who strive to achieve this elusive goal,high-quality education for all the citizens of the world.
In this endeavour, it is my belief that the International Baccalaureate merits a closer look, based on their more than 40 year history of delivering consistently excellent results.
I add that all of the reflections and views in this book are mine alone, unless otherwise noted, and can not be attributed to my employer or any other organization I am affiliated with, past or present. For any errors or oversights, I bear the complete responsibility.
Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He is the Head of the English Department at Colegio Internacional SEK in Santiago, Chile.
He is the Co-Founder and Co-Organiser of EdCamp Santiago, free, participant-driven, democratic, conversation based professional development for teachers, by teachers. EdCamp Santiago 2012 was held at Universidad Mayor in Santiago.
Thomas is also a member of the Advisory Board for the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL), where he also serves as a reviewer and as the HETL Ambassador for Chile.
Thomas enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. Thus far, he has written the following genres: romance, historical fiction, autobiographical, sports history/biography, and English Language Teaching. He has published a total of forty five (45) books overall.
The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family, his wife Gabriela, and his son, Thomas Jerome Baker, Jr.