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Søndervangskolen is a primary and lower secondary school in Århus, Denmark.
The school has 326 students and around 60 staff. 97% of the students are bilingual and represent more than 20 different nationalities.
“A great source of inspiration for the school’s learning journey has been the English company Challenging Learning, [who] have provided us with highly professional support in building our professional capacity and student learning, as well as preparing our own ‘Growing Together’ plan.”
Rani Hørlyck, Principal; quoted in Dynamisk Mindset (1/2018), VIA
Listen. There is an active buzz, you can tell that the students’ enquiry is real. It used to be that I talked for 2 hours and the kids were ‘blurgh’… Now, I don’t talk as much, I just set them up and help them learn together...
Teacher reflection during a learning walk, 7-9th Grade
Søndervangskolen have been developing their learning culture and practices since 2013, becoming an Apple Distinguished School and creating innovative learning spaces. From 2015, Challenging Learning have been proud to be part of their story, helping to build a sustainable model of professional learning for staff, and focussing on students become more independent thinkers and learners.
Observable Impact in Søndervangskolen
The Learning Pit is a key feature of displays in 80% of classrooms, and in all cases where asked, students talk about the model as a metaphor for learning.
Students no longer go to the teacher first when struggling – in all observed cases they now choose to work with a peer first. In more than 60% of observed lessons, students can describe the learning strategies they use to help them learn.
In all classes where explicit strategies for dialogue and collaborative learning are used, Learning Intentions are more focussed and reference attitudes and skills as well as knowledge.
Student talk is now more common than teacher talk. When asked, students more often talk about their learning, rather than what they are doing.
The school Champions (responsible for coaching in schools) reported that, ‘everyone wants to watch each other teaching now’!
The graphs below illustrate some of the gains that Søndervangskolen have made on a national level, over the last 5 years working with them: