A Teal school
What can a Teal school look like, what are the most important organisational factors and pedagogical principles, and what is the research behind this?
We will try and answer those questions here. However, please note that we are not claiming that our answers are a universal truth. Like we wrote on the page describing Teal there are many ways to be a Teal school. (Also note that this page is work in progress until this parenthesis is removed).
Biggest differences compared to a traditional school
All individuals in the Teal system are treated as human beings and met with an open mind and an open heart. People are developing holistically and the healing of trauma and creating (or preserving) self-worth and self-love is as important as developing cognitively.
Teachers are learning guides, facilitators and coaches. Learners are much more in control of their learning process and learning experience. This means most kids develop self-leadership, self-efficacy and their internal motivation is preserved. If some, however, struggle with this they are never treated according to a standardised blueprint, since their needs is always in focus.
A Teal school is organised in teams, with no boss-subordinate relationships. It has a framework of practices that help teams in decision making, dealing with conflicts and developing as a team and as individuals. This is true on both levels; learning guides and learners.
“Classes” are mixed in ages. Changing from one group to another is based on individual needs and development, not birth year.
The learning environment should be activity-based, so that there are choices between e.g. calm spaces and creative or lively spaces.
A Teal school could be based on unschooling principles or have some division into subjects and scheduling, but in those cases the schedule is most often consisting of larger blocks of subject-based – but still to a large degree self-directed – learning, of collaborative project work and blocks of time cut out for democratic or sociocratic processes, as well as wholeness practices. How far the school goes in this respect may depend on national frameworks and curricula.
A Teal school doesn’t give grades (if possible). Grades are part of the paradigm we want to leave behind, that which sees kids as products, labelling them, grading and sorting them. In a Teal school we want kids to develop their full human potential. That requires no grading, it requires supporting them in finding their purpose and goals, providing them with tools for learning and guiding them in their personal development.
What do we think about the ongoing digital transformation, and digital tools in learning? We are actually quoting ourselves in the picture above. Digitalisation is definitely one of the driving factors behind the rapid evolution we are seeing in the world today, and it has changed and is continuously changing, our every day life.
We believe that the right digital tools can be fantastic in helping kids learn and manage their own learning and development. Gamification can help make less engaging tasks more fun, and with the help of GPS-tracking tasks and challenges can move outdoors. VR-equipment can be used for meditation, learning to speak in front of a crowd, as well as exploring aspects of the Metaverse.
The digital transformation also comes with the possibility of networking, content sharing, webinars, online education etc. which means schools can more easily become smaller, and areas (like many villages in Northern Sweden) that are today being depopulated can come alive again.
There are actually so many possibilities in using digital tools for learning and learning management that we will probably have to discuss this separately sometime. And we haven’t even mentioned AI…
But, we would also like to stress that we think the choice of tools have to be made very consciously. Nothing should be digitalised for the sake of digitalisation – we see many analogue processes that get a “digitalised form”, but the really good digital tools, no matter in which area, are also changing the processes. Think of it like the difference in having tools for a digital world, compared to having digital tools.
Look at Teal schools the same way, we talk about holistic human development in a digital world.