Let’s dare. The time has come.
Today, everyone knows, school does not meet expectations of society, students or parents anymore. School is not well.
Whereas we are clearly undergoing an identity crisis, whereas the major part of students feels constrained in the classroom and uncomfortable with themselves, we do not find the means, of any kind, to give them back confidence in their abilities. And yet, our teenagers are the citizens of tomorrow: if they are not well, society won’t be well. They need to be aware of what they are worth: they are worth it!
For a long time, as a school principal, I have been looking and looking again for a potential solution to make “my” students sufficiently happy with themselves to find THEIR place in THEIR society. From debates to conferences, from discussions to readings, I came out equipped with several ad hoc tools, with little tips and tricks but never with a solution that could help me help the teachers. Our school must imperatively and urgently change its viewpoint on education, change its posture. It is challenging. Alone or with a management team, it is impossible, it is hopeless…
Then I discovered the ECEC, by chance at one more round table. Rino Levesque and Sarah Heymans held us spellbound. After an entire year of complementary information, questions, Skype with its founder, and a trip to Canada “to see for real”, I decided to launch my school into the ECEC. I signed.
Why did I remain at standstill with this approach? Why am I convinced, after seeking out for 10 years, to have found what will allow me to move my school forward.
First of all, what conquered me is that the ECEC works FROM what already exists in Collège La Fraternité. It is not about a new additional pedagogy that works separately in its own corner, but rather a school-system that, starting from a volunteer-based core, gain ground within a school diseased to be discordant with reality. We do not apply one more layer to the layer cake of ad hoc assistance, we change school and its vision of students little by little, from the inside, WITH what it is made of today.
The other innovative and truly comforting element is that the ECEC and its trainers are supporting us step by step. We are together, we make a team; each question receives the appropriate answer to OUR reality. And we take our time. Until now, the few of us that were convinced in front of the magnitude of the task felt lonely. Our plasters were insufficient and we bore everything at arm’s length… Today, we are no longer alone, we are WITH our trainers. The weight is significantly lighter!
And then we work to enhance the value of our students, in order for them to be proud of what their difficulties can be, proud of their origins, of their families, of their neighbourhoods, of their cities. The surrounding community enters into the school, the school opens up to others, surroundings become partners. Goodbye to the necrosis born from the fear of what is around, we open widely our doors and we involve the community in which the life of our teenagers is implanted. Isn’t it there the start of a new and real awareness of our abilities and of ourselves? Self-esteem, in mindfulness.
Today, while the ECEC process recently begun in the St-Vincent implantation of La Fraternité, we already feel how much the team who dared to commit to this new school vision, has been progressing, moving forward and growing. Changes are quick, it is unbelievable.
As the first Belgian school committing to this new path to change, I am willing to share our experience with others so that together, school principals and educational teams, we can actively contribute to making our students empower themselves, and choose what they want to be. So that we do not apply the decrees because we have to, but instead because we commit to their philosophy, deeply.
So that tomorrow, our education can once more live up to its responsibility.
Let’s dare. Our students deserve it.
Rose Romain, School principal – Collège la Fraternité
Spokeswoman of a lucid, entrepreneurial and conscious educational team of which I am proud.