The Acton Academy affiliate program in London, called Infinity School, is looking for teenagers with ambitions to lead others, be mentors, learn well beyond what is thought possible for youth, and to help create systems and programming for younger children.
This call to action for young people is not for the faint of heart. We need kids who are eager to increase their communication skills, even when that means sometimes having tough conversations. We’re looking for kids who are so interested in expanding their ability to think critically that they might disagree with some important adults in their lives. Other valuable qualities are: students who are willing to try mediating conflict, and are okay with making mistakes and learning from those. And kids who truly want to start exploring who they really are and what their passion in life is.
The kids we are looking for aren’t afraid to take on roles some adults do like: organizing, taking over management duties, trying their hand at marketing, public relations, and learning how to use social media from an entrepreneurial perspective. There is project-based and problem-based learning in addition to the core academics, so being an independent learner who is game to get better at solving problems is beneficial.
In terms of friendships, we’re looking for those who are willing to put strong close relationships first before trying to be “popular” because this team will be working together. Liking all the members of this close-knit group isn’t necessary, but respecting them is. For these students, forming a small group with important, meaningful friendships is desirable.
If you are a teenager reading this, or a parent of a teenager, we invite you to learn more about our full-time education program. We only have space for twelve students in the middle school studio, and as there are already four students in this program, we will be able to accept eight more.
Please note that our middle school students will be going on a trip during the 2018-2019 school year to attend a gathering of other Acton Academy students from around the world. The location, date, and details are forthcoming.
There is a great deal of information to learn about Infinity School, so we suggest booking a visit to come tour our facility (in Wortley Village), meet the students in the early-learning studio (ELS) ages four to seven, the elementary studio (ES) who are roughly eight to twelve, and the adults who work with them. The students we are looking for are ages twelve to fourteen and will be in the middle school studio (MS). High school is forthcoming!
Here are a few things to consider if this program is right for your child/ family:
- We have a positive environment. Due to the small class size, positive discipline and conflict management training of all our staff, behaviours like bullying, shaming, and teasing are very rare. This can be said both of the students and the staff. Our adults don’t ridicule or use negative punishment (like taking away recess, sitting on the wall, or lines) to help our kids improve their behaviour.
- We are focused on the process of learning, not the content of it. The technology available to us now makes it less important to Learn to Know –we can look anything up at anytime. Learning to Do, Learning to Be and Learning to Learn have become more important as our children face a future we can’t even imagine. We don’t make children learn or memorize content just for the sake of knowing it for a test.
- Students learn at their own pace to mastery. Our Acton Academy program includes module-style learning, which allows the children to gain significant competence in a skill or learning benchmark before moving on. For example, no more getting dragged through a (sometimes redundant) quickly-paced math curriculum!
- There is NO HOMEWORK or a need for tutors or supplemental education! Most kids we speak with throw their hands up in a “hurrah” when we mention that there’s no homework. Research still fails to prove that homework is helpful and necessary, and is often a great source of stress for families. We have designed our program so that the students have ample time for their work during the day and don’t need to take anything home.
- We use real-world apprenticeships and project-based learning. In apprenticeships, the students have the opportunity to get out into the community to learn valuable and practical skills. In addition to their personal core-skills learning, the students work together for part of the time on solving challenging real-world problems.
- We use adaptive technology. Each student gets a Chromebook and there are other computers to use on site. According to the Acton Academy co-founder, Jeff Sandefer: “Acton isn’t pro-technology, but we use powerful game-based programs for areas like Math, as well as relying on the internet to bring experts and the world to us. We don’t dismiss technology out of hand. If it’s a useful tool, process or habit, we use it, whether its Khan Academy or a walk in the park.”
- We grow critical thinking skills using the Socratic Discussion method. This is a style of discussion where the participants are challenged to make tough decisions, take sides on a particular topic, and be able to verbalize what they are thinking. The adults don’t lead these chats: they facilitate the discussion to help the students come to their own conclusions. Critical thinking skills will be imperative in the future
Please visit our Facebook page and instagram account to get more of a day-in-the-life feel of what goes on here. Our events which are open to the public are posted there as well.