Open schooling- bridging formal and non-formal education institutions

What is open schooling? 

The term open schooling is hard to define- in general, it refers to a type of learning /schooling that is flexible in terms of time, location, teaching methods and all the other factors connected to a teaching/learning process. The learning environment is extended beyond the classroom walls, other people take the teaching role, students engage with the wider world and learning happens inside or outside the school hours. It encourages collaboration of schools with different community stakeholders to make education more practical, appealing and innovative for both students and teachers. This approach seeks to bridge the gap between formal and non-formal educational institutions and integrates the best elements of both. The most important benefits of open schooling include catering for diverse types of learners, flexibility, encouraging a more student-centered approach, students taking charge of their learning, fostering critical thinking, self-discipline and a sense of responsibility. 

Museums, galleries and local institutions as part of open schooling approach 

Many learning scenarios that can be found on the Teaching with Europeana blog are suitable for usage in open schooling. They encourage the collaboration of schools with local museums, galleries or other institutions or can be adapted to open schooling. This was also very important during the pandemic when all the learning and teaching moved behind the screens. A learning scenario that was developed at that time by one gallery educator is called Upgrading your education. When the pandemic started the gallery educator discussed with his colleagues in the gallery how they could help educators deal with the new situation and consequently he developed this scenario. It helped form and strengthen the relationships between schools and museums and galleries. Another scenario developed by one museum educator is called Gamification in scientific museum: Lateral thinking approach. It is designed to be implemented within the museum setting or online. It allows participants to learn about historical techniques and survey tools used from the ancient age to the end of the 19th century. Through this scenario students interact in cooperative learning approaches and in a ‘learning by doing’ framework. The learning scenario Garbage Museum encourages students to offer effective solutions to environmental problems and think about real life solutions. It could be adapted and used in collaboration with a local museum and an NGO dealing with environmental issues.  

Why open schooling? 

Open schooling is beneficial for all its participants. Students get prepared for real life situations, they develop various soft skills they will need later in their life and that will help them to become active citizens in their communities. Teachers develop their teaching skills, collaboration skills and learn how to enrich their curriculum. Schools expand their partner network through connecting with different organisations and local communities get support in dealing with local problems. 

CC BY-SA 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Europeana Foundation.

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