ESBZ

ESBZ is recognized for its innovative curriculum and organization model.

  • P : ENSEIGNEMENT
  • Allemagne
  • > 500

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Teal Practices

Praise meetings:

Every Friday afternoon, the entire school – students, teachers, and staff – comes together for an hour. They start by singing a song together, to settle into community. The rest of the time together is unscripted.

There is an open microphone on stage, with a simple rule: we are here to praise and thank each other. For the next 50 minutes, students and teachers who feel called to do so stand up, walk up on stage, take the microphone, and praise or thank another student or teacher for something they did or said earlier in the week; when they sit down someone else takes the stage. Every person at the microphone shares what is essentially a miniature story that reveals something about two people – the storyteller and the person being praised or thanked.

Students and teachers credit this weekly session as the defining practice for the school’s extraordinary spirit of learning, collaboration, and maturity.

Each Friday afternoon, the entire school―students, teachers, and staff―gathers for an hour in a large hall. They start by singing a song together. The rest of the time together is unscripted. There is an open microphone on stage, and a simple rule: we are here to praise and thank each other.

For the next 50 minutes, students and teachers who wish to do so stand up, walk on stage, take the microphone, and praise or thank another student or teacher for something they did or said during the week. They then sit down and someone else takes the stage. Every person at the microphone shares a mini-story that reveals something about two people―the storyteller and the person being thanked.

This practice erases boundaries between students and teachers. It’s part of the human condition that everyone at some point feels down, confused, or stuck and in need of help. And everyone has the gift of empathy, of finding ways to offer support, comfort, and friendship. It takes courage to stand up and praise others publicly, but in the school it has become practice.

Students don’t shy away from stories that are funny or touching, and heartfelt. Students and teachers credit this weekly session as the defining practice for the school’s extraordinary spirit of learning, collaboration, and maturity. Each story of kindness, courage, care, or professionalism told at the microphone is a thread woven into a rich tapestry of gratitude that has become key to the school’s exceptional learning culture. Faculty meetings have now integrated the same practice: they always start with a round of praise.

At ESBZ , a large school has been broken down into smaller, self governing units, to create a sense of community within mini-schools. In addition, all teachers and students are trained in Nonviolent Communication. Utilizing these and other conflict resolution skills, every class gets together at a fixed time each week to discuss and deal with tensions in the group. The meeting is facilitated by a student who enforces a number of ground rules that keep the discussion safe.

ESBZ has an extraordinary trust and community-building practice based around storytelling: the “praise meeting.” Every Friday afternoon, the entire school— students, teachers, and staff— comes together for an hour in a large hall. They always start by singing a song together, to settle into community. All the rest of the time together is unscripted. There is an open microphone on stage, with a simple rule: we are here to praise and thank each other. For the next 50 minutes, students and teachers who feel called to do so stand up, walk up on stage, take the microphone, and praise or thank another student or teacher for something they did or said earlier in the week; then they go sit down again and someone else takes the stage. Every person at the microphone shares what is essentially a miniature story that reveals something about two people— the storyteller and the person being praised or thanked— in their struggles and in their glories.[Laloux, Frederic (2014-02-09). Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness (Kindle Locations 3517-3524). Nelson Parker. Kindle Edition.]

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