I have been spending my time at the school spilt between the bacculauerte (senior high), sixth grade and kindergarten classes. While I am being certified for elementary education, it is super interesting to see a variety of grade levels. However, the staff and students freely admit that SEK school is operated very differently than regular public schools in the rest of Spain. But, the public schools sound very similar to american public schools so I'm glad for the chance for see a different educational viewpoint.
Bacculauerte: I have never such students with intrinsic moviation to educate themselves. Seriously, these students completely understand the importance of studying and application for their future. These classes are almost completely student centered. The teachers estimate that they spend roughly 20min of class lecturing and introducing material and the rest of the classtime is spent working in group projects or the students self-studying material.
Sixth Grade: These students are SO LOUD. The students practically crawl and fight among each other attention, its a very "me-focused" atmosphere. Classroom management is almost non-exsistent. However, somehow the students still manage to learn? I'm not sure I could manage in their school systems. This school does promote use of technology, all the students bring laptops and the ActivBoard is used at all times. The students are completely comfortable using technology and embraced it.
Kindergarten: These students were so adorable and incredibly talented between switching between English, Spanish, and Catalayn languages. The classroom was so familiar that I could have almost been in an american classroom. The same posters, alphabets, and phonics decorated the walls.
Overall: School curriculum and state standards are a HUGE deal in american...well..not so much in Spain. The teachers admitted there was a state curriculum but the standards are so general that there is a lot of freedom to teach. The state curriculum is treated more like a "suggestion". Which is a crazy notion for american teachers!! However, the SEK school is incredible successful and their students are admitted into almost any University of their choice, which is the ulimate goal.