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How a ground-breaking school curriculum is preparing students to make positive change through technology

The Institut auf dem Rosenberg
One of the world’s finest boarding schools, the Institut auf dem Rosenberg has long instilled entrepreneurial skills and attitudes in its students.
By Glen Ferris

With a well-earned reputation for being one of the world’s finest boarding schools, the Institut auf dem Rosenberg has long instilled entrepreneurial skills and attitudes in its students. Now, with a new cutting-edge program teaching the benefits of technology, they’re preparing the next generation for whatever the 21-Century has in store.

Humanix is the first curriculumin the world to train students' cognitive capacities and literacy through the study of human connectiveness.

Intended to complement the pioneering Swiss school’s Rosenberg International Curriculum (RIC), Humanix underpins the school's mission to revolutionise the education system and encourage students to embrace the benefits of technology from an early age, preparing them to become leaders in the modern workplace.

Campden FB talks to Bernhard Gademann, director general of Rosenberg, about the curriculum’s principles, applications, and potential outcomes…

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Bernhard Gademann, director general of the Institut auf dem Rosenberg.

What is the idea behind the Humanix curriculum?

“Most people know that the world is rapidly changing under the influence of technology. We are looking into the next technological revolution where machines using artificial intelligence will increasingly take over more complex tasks. As every change in life, you can see that as something to dread or you can see it as an opportunity. We want our students to see it as an opportunity, so we are embracing this development.

“Most schools are not really adjusting their curriculum or their teaching methods. There may be an iPad here or there in a classroom, but, from our point of view, that change is not radical enough – it’s like mounting a sat nav to a horse carriage… It doesn't mean it's a 21st-Century vehicle. I think the patching-up approach is insufficient. The change needs to be more fundamental.

“This tech revolution doesn’t mean that our students must become programmers and software engineers unless they're interested in this field. The core idea of Humanix is to introduce into any curriculum the skills needed to be successful in the future.”

We often say this is the first truly enlightened generation.

Has Humanix come about in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, or has it been a longer-gestating process?

“I'm of the opinion that, as the world develops, there are always certain trigger points - COVID was one of those trigger points. Those events are just accelerators for something much deeper than is happening already. COVID was very much a moment where we already had the concept for Humanix, but we knew then was the time to develop it. Education should always be forward looking, so we must prepare today for the world in 15-20 years from now if you want to be successful. That's what Humanix is all about, we use that time to finish the development and to start rolling the concept out.”

Institut auf dem Rosenberg is the first school in the world to offer this programme. Do you think it will be adopted or adapted elsewhere as the importance becomes clearer?

“We very much think that many of the educational concepts we pioneer at Rosenberg are adoptable in other educational environments. We are in this beautiful, privileged position, we have all these resources and creative, smart minds. We have the luxury to say, ‘Wait a minute, what should the education that prepares for the future really look like versus just maintaining and going about the daily grind?’

“We very much think this could offer a solution for many other schools around the world as well. The cool thing about Humanix is that it's a complementary system, you don't have to take your curriculum and throw it out the window. It's best combined with our own Rosenberg International Curriculum but Humanix is an accreditation system that really can be applied pretty much to any curriculum around the world - that is the beautiful thing about it.”

I truly believe most problems around the world can be solved through education.

Humanix encourages cultural agility and critical thinking, does this allow for further personal development away from the classroom?

“We believe this is key. Regrettably, in traditional schools, there is an abstract simulation of the real world and then there's the actual real world. In our experience, the moment you stop seeing these as two separate things and bring the real world into school by encouraging critical thinking, creativity, and cultural agility, then it’s not only inspiring to students, but it also motivates them to do well in more traditional subjects and exams because they understand the context of things.

“We often talk about contextualizing education. You must pour life back into something that was a 2D model of reality. We really infuse real life into school, all the competencies we teach with Humanix are competencies that are relevant to school but much more relevant when applied in in real life.”

Spot the robot on tour around the Rosenberg campus.

Generation Alpha seem to have a real thirst for knowledge and learning, have you found that Humanix gives them free rein to question things?

“I think it plays directly to this generation’s eagerness to learn. The key for this generation is authenticity. Yes, they’re keen, eager and they want to know, but they also want things to be real and authentic.

“We have this robot called Spot from Boston Dynamics. It’s a high-tech, industrial-grade robot. When we were first received shipment of it, we assigned a teacher - or artisans as we call them - to the task of teaching this course. She went to the head of talent enrichment and said, ‘I'm overwhelmed. What am I supposed to teach? There is no handbook, and the students will know more about the subject than me’. He said, ‘Well, that's exactly the point, you are not there to have a predefined outcome at the end of six months. You're not there to teach the students, you're only there to guide them to define the project and to be successful in it’.

“We often say this is the first truly enlightened generation. So why would they need us to tell them something they can find on the internet? They don't need that, but they do need encouragement, guidance and an artisan who leads them to find the right solution. This is what I think teaching in the future will be much more about.”

Institut auf dem Rosenburg.

Do you find that approach keep things fresh and exciting for both student and faculty?

“Again, it's authentic. You'll say, ‘I don't know. So, let's find out’. Those are exactly the skills we need to teach students today.

“We tell our artisans they are the luxury in the classroom. So how do they generate moments where students are keen to learn, where they have a great experience, where they can interlink their learning for many different areas. Now, that takes an artisan.

“When you work in education, you must be idealistic. This is very much our goal; we're hoping the skills that students learn today should also help them to make the world a better place. I truly believe most problems around the world can be solved through education.”

The Institut auf dem Rosenberg is a partner of Campden Club’s 18th European Families In Business Forum, taking place in Berlin, Germany, from March 30-31. For more information, click here. [https://www.campdenevents.com/fibf]

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