Ashoka Changemaker Schools in Scandinavia
True North Eferskole – elected in 2016
True North Efterskole (9-10th grade) is a Danish “Efterskole” in Snaptun that works with strength-based learning to promote personal leadership and life skills. Founded in 2012, True North Efterskole works as a model for the 21st century school where new, researched ideas can be tested out in a safe environment. The school gets a lot of influence from positive psychology and uses creativity and an alternative curriculum with focus on academic, social and personal skills to improve the students’ performance. True North Efterskole (TNE) believes that these three areas are equally essential in order to navigate and thrive in the 21st century, in life and at future workplaces. TNE is an international model of excellence in education that empowers the entire learning community of students, teachers, leaders and parents to maximize individual potential by enhancing their life capabilities through academic growth, personal strengths, and social competence to navigate a meaningful life.
True North's vision is to inspire and develop the next generation of young people. The goal is to lift the individual young person to develop his or her own potential and contribute positively to society throughout their lives.
3 reasons why True North Efterskole is a Changemaker School:
At True North Efterskole the students are taught the subject Unlocking Potential (UP), created and developed by the school itself. During these sessions students are educated 11 themes based on leadership, social entrepreneurship and competencies for personal development. Students are divided into smaller coaching “navigations” groups of 8-10 set to explore and develop each person’s unique potential with meetings every week.
TNE uses a range of research based learning styles. For example the teachers often applies “Cooperative Learning” techniques, where the students get the chance to lead the class. The teachers help the students to set the framework and the students then lead the class through a peer-to-peer exercise.
TNE uses the student assessment tool “Ruben” with individual goal setting around academic and personal development (for example social skills).
Learn more about True North Efterskole
Ørestad Gymnasium – elected in 2016
As an ‘experiment of pedagogy’, Ørestad upper secondary school learns and evolves alongside its students, staff and community. Ørestad Gymnasium is an exploration for the development of subjects and pedagogy and often applies real life cases as part of the curriculum. The school wants to give the students a natural desire to learn – not only in school, but also in all parts of their lives. Therefore they try to stimulate academic and practical curiosity through innovative learning methods and creativity. The school itself is learning all the time and develops besides developing teachers and students. Alongside learning and creativity, another core value for Ørestad Gymnasium is appreciation where everybody should feel like taking part in the learning process and communities.
3 reasons why Ørestad Gymnasium is a Changemaker School:
1. Since the architecture at Ørestad Gymnasium is open – the classrooms either don’t have any walls, or have walls made of glass - students are aware of each other at all times. It gives them the feeling of being a part of one big community, where they learn to respect one another. For example, if you are being too loud, it disturbs the entire school, so the design of the building helps create an atmosphere where their behaviour reflects their mutual consideration for one another.
2. The school leadership actively empowers teachers and students to invent new ways of doing things and are willing to take risks. Sometimes the school will attend a project just to try something new. They believe that creativity is born from stretching our thoughts and stepping out of our comfort zone from time to time.
3. Student’s themselves take charge and leads various activities that are traditionally carried out by teachers, for example they have a TV-studio which every day live streams the morning meetings (compulsory at all Danish schools), where the chief editor (a student) and the team of students decides which topics to cover, who to interview and so on.
Learn more about Ørestad Gymnasium
Fryshuset – elected in 2015
Fryshuset is a Swedish privately run free of charge primary school. It is a unique learning arena that combines the students’ passions, such as basketball, dance, music, skate or soccer, with the academic education. Through practicing their passion, the students feel more motivated and push themselves to excel in the academic field, while developing their social skills and sense of being active members in society.
Fryshuset, as an umbrella organization, has a 3-point strategy: education, local community initiatives and passions. These are brought together under one roof and enables the students to easily engage with the local community initiatives and with their passions, into the everyday curriculum. Fryshuset is seen as a hub for young changemaking in Scandinavia.
3 reasons why Fryshuset is a Changemaker School:
1. Empathy is at the core of Fryshusets work. Their work is based on the conviction that encouragement, confidence, responsibility and understanding are necessary in order to enable young people to develop their innate abilities and find their way into society.
2. The school has an innovative approach to youth and learning. Fryshuset is not only a school; it is often referred to as the largest youth center in Scandinavia.
3. Fryshuset works closely with the other resources available at the premises – like the social initiatives where students engage and learn from entrepreneurial role models. This structure is naturally built into the curriculum. Through this, the school has a heavy lean on social skills, life skills, self-leadership and teamwork –this is seen throughout the curriculum and school year. For example students often work in projects across passion-interest groups – these projects often relating to social initiatives or projects in Fryshuset and/or beyond.
Learn more about Fryshuset
YBC – Young Business Creatives – elected in 2015
YBC – Young Business Creatives is a Swedish public highschool with changemaking at its core. They work with entrepreneurship, creativity and real life cases in their everyday education. The students are highly involved in both the school leadership, creating their own curriculum and taking part in shaping their local community via both influencers, local business and leaders in the municipality. A school that is seen as a frontrunner in modern education in Sweden.
3 reasons why YBC is a Changemaker School:
1. YBC’s vision is “our students will change the world” and aims to be a creative meeting place for a lifelong learning in an ever-changing world. The students, called “young business creatives”, are provided with the skills they need to solve problems. The education is arranged around 7 skills; creativity, thinking, self-confidence, communication, responsibility, digital ability and business thinking – they are evident in the education as a whole.
2. YBC practices entrepreneurial learning. This is rare in Swedish schools, and especially in public schools. The aim is for the students to lead their own education and steer it towards what they are interested in.
3. Teamwork is a core value at YBC. They work with seminary pedagogy – were students are briefed in larger groups and then work closely in smaller teams to solve tasks. The aim is to train the student’s critical thinking, independence and feeling of responsibility. Almost all schoolwork revolves around students forming and working in teams.
Learn more about YBC
Röselidsskolan - elected in 2014
Röselidsskolan is a public Swedish primary school that is successfully working to bring entrepreneurship and real-life problem solving into the school curriculum. They are simultaneously changing Gråbo as a municipality, and the perception of education as a whole. The school is a thought leader for innovative learning in the region. The school has had many visits from national and international school leaders and educationalists, as well as representatives from large-scale EU education projects.
Principals: Marie Sandell and Lennart Nilsson.
3 reasons: why Röselidsskolan is a Changemaker School.
- The school is a thought leader in making a conceptual shift from the perception that school should be a place of duty and obedience and instead be a place of engagement and inner drive. This thinking is pervasive in the school and a commitment of the leadership team, and the school is also physically designed to use and represent this shift.
- The school actively builds empathy. For instance, every school day starts with a calm process time - teachers and students sit in a ring on the floor discussing the day ahead, learnings from the day before, and anything that the students wish to discuss before starting the day. The purpose of this is building relationships and empathy in the group. Ashoka Fellow Kjartan Eide’s empathy Program Trivselslederne is also active in school – a project engaging students in playful activities during recess to prevent bullying.
- Röselidskolan is viewed as a leading example for innovative education in Sweden. Last year, the school was visited by so many educators that they decided to organize a conference to share innovative learning techniques, which was attended by almost 400 educators.
Learn more about Röselidskolan
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