Today’s reality accentuates and praises independence and critical thinking, the ability to use knowledge and skill to problem solve and innovate. A rapidly changing and global society means more options but more competition; it necessitates broader knowledge as well as specific skill sets. Ultimately today’s world requires global citizens capable of mastering knowledge and using it effectively to make decisions ethically, towards a sustainable future, to improve living and life on the planet.
As the pandemic lingers on, educators and educational institutions across the globe are experiencing the result of the past two-year tempest. Fatigue and oftentimes discouragement due to related ongoing challenges continue to be at the forefront. The traditional narrative of education, which has been explicit, competitive, and required, is shifting. Global conversations speak to education becoming more tacit, impactful, inclusive, innovative, collaborative, and desired. That’s a lot to take in and though many speak of this necessary change, it is exhausting! Yet teachers across the globe continue to innovate to optimally engage students in education that is sustainable and meaningful.
At ACS Athens there is much to celebrate. Creativity and innovation continue to embrace the campus as many have embarked on projects, clubs and initiatives that are truly inspiring, proving that learning is not confined to the classroom — in fact, escaping into learning is what ACS Athens promotes and encourages.
The “Intersection Club: Where Biology meets Psychology” is based on the synapses of knowledge between two sciences, psychology and biology. Participating students, guided by two instructors of the respective IB subjects, designed and executed the Intersection Escape Room in its entirety to help students understand mental health issues. The activity also aimed to develop students’ critical thinking and promote empathy and compassion.
Aiming to demonstrate how current reality, within its complexity, calls for innovative ways to educate young people, the instructors collaborated to develop unique approaches to learning, grounded on active learning experiences. The Intersection Club emphasizes the importance of collaboration (T-T/ T-S(s)/ S(s)-S(s)) in cultivating compassion by promoting understanding of complex behaviors relevant to mental health. It further demonstrates how deeper learning often takes place beyond the classroom by engaging students in research and by encouraging them to reflect and apply knowledge in creative, educational, game-like ways. Biology provides scientific information on causes and effects of mental health conditions while psychology comes in to offer a holistic interpretation of human behavior. Students learn to understand their own perspectives, explore other perspectives, research, and learn to collaborate, propose, act, and implement.
The Intersection Escape Room was presented at the Athens Science Festival (March 2021), the ISCI Innovation Summit at ACS Athens (May 2021) and the IB Virtual Conference (October 2021). One key takeaway is that the IB curriculum can be extended to include research-based collaborative work, allowing for an interdisciplinary approach of two separate IB subjects, biology and psychology, promoting a deeper understanding of both.
Teachers who inspire learning and creativity are at the forefront of education; they are committed to promoting holistic educational experiences that lead to developing conscious world citizens, creative entrepreneurs, and architects of the future, who will position themselves to improve life and living on the planet.