Atypical school in a coworking space - Trends-Tendances sur PC

Atypical school in a coworking space – Trends-Tendances sur PC

A new kind of private school is making its comeback in… a coworking space. A place that was not chosen by chance since the Smile School aims to better prepare its students for their future life, personal but also professional.

A somewhat special return to school will take place on September 5 at The Gate, a coworking space located in the Axis Parc in Mont-Saint-Guibert. It is indeed in this somewhat unusual place that a school will open its doors for the first time: the Smile School, a private secondary establishment intended for young people aged around 16 to complete their 5th and 6th years there. From next week, 15 of them will be welcomed there.

A somewhat special return to school will take place on September 5 at The Gate, a coworking space located in the Axis Parc in Mont-Saint-Guibert. It is indeed in this somewhat unusual place that a school will open its doors for the first time: the Smile School, a private secondary establishment intended for young people aged around 16 to complete their 5th and 6th years there. From next week, 15 of them will be welcomed there. “Our idea was to target only young people who are entering 5th grade. But we have some who are not yet 15 and who are already ready, and others who have not completed their 4th grade because they were dropping out, suffering from school phobia because they were bored, explains Anne-France Pottier, teacher and co-founder of the Smile School. These students have the necessary skills for the general. They like to learn and are autonomous in their learning but they perceive the school like a prison because you don’t learn enough and not quickly enough. Covid has further exacerbated this feeling. It’s for these particular profiles who want to learn more, faster, and find sense, that we have decided to open an adapted school.” Before any registration, several interviews are conducted between the candidate, his parents and the teachers. The goal is to ensure that the school, which operates atypically, will meet the student’s needs. “What surprises the students a lot is, for example, the fact that they will not have a class diary for pedagogical or disciplinary remarks, specifies Anne-France Pottier. Scribbling on a bench will not lead to a remark: the student will have to clean the table…or buy a new one, for the simple reason that it belongs to the coworking space that we rent.In general, we will react in the same way as when someone one is not doing his job in the working world.” Coworking space, teambuilding, trainers… This lexicon is used more in the business world than in education. And it was not chosen by chance: among the objectives of the Smile School, in fact, figures prominently the desire to bring the school closer to the professional world. This is why, in addition to preparing its students for the CESS, developing their general culture and their inter- and intrapersonal intelligence, the Smile School also intends to enable them to acquire soft skills (communication, project management, team, etc.) that will help them integrate into the world of work. Students will also be encouraged to undertake by creating their own mini-company with Les Jeunes Entreprises, while in situ observation internships are also on the program. Finally, the establishment insists that its students find a student job in order to finance part of the school fees (see box). “It is extremely important that they work because they will then be much more invested in their studies, underlines the teacher. This also allows us to review their employment contract with them, to discuss the business world, etc. ” In general, the teacher believes that young people are very keen on tools to enter working life. “So we’re going to give them those, and skills, so they’re more comfortable when they start in the world of work. When we talk about the business world, we’re talking about the professional world in terms of general. An internship in a company can also be in a small ASBL. We don’t want to turn all our students into potential entrepreneurs; they will do what they want afterwards.” To achieve such objectives, the program of the Smile School must necessarily be different from that of traditional education. “There will be many maths, sciences and languages, but we will also do law, sociology, psychology, international relations, etc., because everything hangs together, explains the teacher. There will be times when we will work on a project basis, as in schools with active pedagogy, and times when we will deliver lessons in a more traditional way. But we will always insist on the link with the real world.” In addition, the students will only attend the course three days a week, which means that a lot of independent work will be required of them. Finally, if the mornings will be mainly devoted to more traditional courses, the afternoons will see a succession of trainers and external speakers, often from the world of work, for even more concrete workshops. Without forgetting more atypical subjects, such as the working method, mental and emotional management or even mediation. On the side of The Gate, we perceive the arrival of this school as a great crossover opportunity. “It’s in our DNA to be networkers, explains Charles Caprasse, the managing director of the coworking space. We like to provide this possibility to our customers. And when we raised the possibility of seeing a school atypical to settle within our walls, their feedback has been generally very positive. I have always campaigned in favor of the dual education model because the gap between school and the professional world continues to widen. was therefore also a great opportunity to remedy this.I have already seen that when young people are no longer in school, their behavior changes, they do not talk to an entrepreneur as they would talk to a teacher or an educator. The exchanges are not the same and they can be very enriching for both parties. It is clear that the arrival of the Smile School will be a challenge for everyone that goes beyond even the framework of The Gate.”

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