PERUVIAN TIMES December 1, 2025
Re-designing classrooms for the future: New Design for Innovative Teaching «Made in Peru» will be implemented in schools in other countries
Director of the VPS College declares: «Innovating the curriculum and achieving a high-quality education is really possible.»
Janice Roeder, Principal of Villa Per Se School, reports that their innovative curriculum design will have international projection, as it will soon be adopted by several schools abroad. They have been working on this new design for secondary school during the last five years. She explains that the reasons for the success of their proposal are inspired by the characteristics of a high-quality curriculum, stated by the expert Philip Stabback (2017), an OIE-UNESCO specialist.
The first feature is to clearly set expectations for students, teachers, and parents. «From the beginning we made it clear that our priority for high school was to develop cognitive skills, commonly known as ‘learning to learn’, in order to ensure autonomous learning in our kids. 21st century education does not require students to memorize as much information as they can get it with a click; but it is essential to teach them to process it, developing critical thinking”.
Roeder emphasizes that many schools in our country continue to apply an outdated model of education, focused on the teacher as a transmitter of content. In them, students are punished when they take out their cell phones during classes. “In our school, on the contrary, kids have to use their smartphones and tablets to be able to carry out their work in class, both individually and in groups. In this way, a really active learning is fostered, focused on the investigation and search for answers to challenging and complex questions about current problems”.
Knowledge that students ‘build in their minds’ is always connected with their daily reality. They do research about real life topics such as food, transport, migration, climate change, etcetera; using a transdisciplinary approach. In other words, time spent in Villa Per Se school is not exclusively distributed among the traditional subjects (such as mathematics, communication, science, etc.), but periods are also assigned within the hours based on various research projects, which they are approached from different perspectives: biological, legal, sociological, historical, etc., but prioritizing two: economic and ecological.
Another pillar of this proposal is that the school board opted to encourage creativity and innovation in their teachers. The Principal points out: “Every detail of the implementation proposed in our planning charts was worked in teams, coordinators and teachers, with a cooperative working style. Constant feedback was encouraged to know what was working and what aspects needed to be changed in practice. Planning sessions were spaces for inter-learning, where each one contributed with ideas on how to build ‘scaffolding’ skills; through engaging activities and motivating questions for the kids”.
On the other hand, Roeder points out that the same spirit of inquiry-based learning that was activated in the students was also observed among the teachers. They constantly searched the Internet, exchanged experiences with other colleagues, and participated in various workshops and training events. According to Stabback, this is another of the key ingredients to implement a high-quality curriculum: teachers take on the role of interpreters of the curriculum, creatively seek and adapt ways to bring it to reality, adapting the demands of each task to their own difficulties and characteristics. of each student.
“The flexibility of our proposal is that we focus much more on developing skills and not just on covering topics on annual planning. This factor gives us greater openness to experiment with new ways of cognitively challenging students, stimulating their curiosity and motivation to learn. I have seen from my teaching experience, that playful and inquiry-based components of learning are often used only at PK and primary levels. We could lose a great wealth of learning opportunities if not used during secondary school, «concludes Roeder.