Personalised learning was the key to a group of teachers at Collège Champittet who helped their students achieve far more than exam success.
In 2017/2018 we at Nord Anglia Education saw incredible results for our schools academically across all curricula. In an exceptional story of success, our Swiss schools achieved a 100 per cent pass rate for the first time ever in the French Baccalauréat. On top of this two students at Collège du Léman achieved the high honour of ‘Félicitations du Jury’.
In what is a remarkable story of triumph over difficulties, a group of teachers got together and devised an approach to help a number of students who were needing extra support. Céline Terrasson a form teacher at Collège Champittet said she was concerned about her final year French Baccalauréat students, with 10 of them falling behind in their studies and their will to succeed at an all-time low.
Ms Terrasson reached out to the head of pastoral care, Maria Zufferey and philosophy teacher Adelaïde Baronnet-Pasquier to reignite drive and motivation in her students. Under the guidance of the dean, Daniel Zumbrunnen and Academic Director Roland Lomenech, the trio set out to understand their students and uncover what issues they were facing.
“We are motivated by the belief that our students are tomorrow’s leaders and have the ability to one day take charge and improve the world,” MsTerrasson said.
“We want them to reach their full potential and believe there is no limit to what they can achieve.”
The teachers discovered problems of low self-confidence, low self-esteem and in some cases, a breakdown in communication between some students and their family members. To tackle the problem, pastoral head Ms Zufferey took the initiative to invite parents to regular sessions where they could connect with their children to better understand what emotions they were experiencing, while Ms Terrasson worked with the students to rediscover and express their inner will to succeed.
“Every week we asked: ‘What do you want to achieve? What is your aim?’ We want them to verbalise the choices they’re making. Through this we found there is a deep layer of resilience and a sincere desire to succeed in each and every one of them,” MsTerrasson said.
The teachers ensured they regularly and openly communicated with the students, and gave attention and care as and when it was needed. Ms Terrasson would adjust her approach with each student by connecting with their personality and identifying their ‘triggers’. She discovered some students responded well to being motivated to improve their grades in a slow and steady manner with weekly reviews, some students required her to take an emotional approach in order for progress to show, while the introverts in the group needed time to learn about themselves and understand their needs in order to achieve. These different approaches increased their sense of self-worth, levels of confidence and each student saw significant improvements in their academic performance.
“Celine supported the students using a dual approach, part guidance and part autonomy. She played the role of a coach. She never forced them to follow her structure. She adapted herself to each student; working to understand their speed, timing and level of maturity. Her weekly review with one student was vastly different to her review of another,” Mr Zumbrunnen said.
Ms Terrasson and Ms Baronnet-Pasquier also decided to unite the students and give them a purpose. The 10 students formed a group with a mission for academic success and were encouraged to work in pairs or larger teams and conduct group work. This was challenging initially, but soon enough, the students cheered each other on and believed they were working on a collective project to succeed.
Next, College Champittet’s French Baccalauréat teachers were made aware of these students and worked to differentiate their teaching style and methods. A year later in 2018, the school achieved a 100 per cent pass rate in their exams, with five students attaining honours.
“We believe education has to be personalised,” Nord Anglia Education eduction director Andy Puttock said.
“We treat your child as an individual by adapting to their personal learning preferences, strengths and areas for growth, so they can achieve more than they ever thought possible. For us, greater personalisation means greater results.”
“It’s an inspiring story of personalised learning and the commitment and will of our teachers and pastoral care,” Mr Lomenech said.