Academia Bilingual School Basel: Integrating Traditional Education with an Inquiry-based Approach
Academia Bilingual School

The world is changing at an impeccable pace. While the shift in industries from tangible to non-tangible product and services is on the rise, the industry and the education sector across the world is struggling with keeping up with the modern requirements.

As the British writer, C. S. Lewis rightly depicted the future by saying, “The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.” Metaphorically this explains the current dilemma of modern-day educators.

This particular need has been addressed by many educators across the world and has been working on reforms to bring on the effectiveness that is required to change the swift tide in favor of future generations. With a similar vision to meet the industry requirement of tomorrow, Academia Bilingual School was established to stimulate the interest of younger minds in creativity and curiosity.

The Knowledge Review magazine caught up with Mr. Jarrod Brauer, the Principal of the school, who has efficiently contributed to the school’s success.

Igniting the Flame of Quality Education with Curiosity and Creativity

Academia Bilingual School (K-6) was established in 2009 in Basel by a group of passionate educators that saw the value in an approach to education that stimulated the interest of young minds through curiosity and creativity. This deviated from traditional educational models in Switzerland to an inquiry-based approach to bilingual learning.

What was essential in their vision was that a school, small by design, would allow pupils to flourish and invest in their strengths. A cap on class sizes, aligning to best bilingual practices, was paramount so that more individual student-teacher time as possible. Academia Bilingual School excels at offering a soft landing into Swiss life and education.

The school is housed within a historically significant building for the local area, ‘The Schifferhaus’. It offers generous gardens and plays areas for the children to explore. Sports halls, an indoor swimming pool and an art studio are also enjoyed by the school community.

Core Values that Defined School’s Success

Academia Bilingual School values academic achievement. With a strong sense of global community, the school encourages its students to discover and follow their interests and talents. The academic curriculum is centred on a blended version of the Cambridge International Curriculum and Lehrplan 21, the national curriculum of Switzerland. This allows students the luxury of transitioning between local and international schooling should the need arise.

Meeting the Expectations of the Society

Academia Bilingual School management is mindful of the high expectations of teachers in this modern society from various school stakeholders. In order to support their school achievements, there are a number of initiatives mixed with some core values of the school to impart quality education, like:

  • Collaborate: more minds are better than one
  • Promote & Involve: Keep parents informed about their child’s achievements and involve them along the way. Home school partnerships are important!
  • Support: Professional development opportunities and dialogue
  • Review & Reflect: An endless process at a quality school

In addition, the school administrators keep a keen watch on a teacher’s daily roles and get to know students, their strengths, and challenges more intimately.

Unique in its Approach

A bilingual school with a warm and open atmosphere allows the school to have a leading edge over  other schools. Talking about the school’s uniqueness, Principal Jarrod Brauer says, “I recall some recent comments from a family after they toured our school with a relocation agent. Describing Academia Bilingual School as ‘friendly and focused’, I could not have wished for a better compliment. This is precisely who we aspire to be.”

Preparing Students for a Better Future

The school places great importance on keeping student pathways broad as pupils  progress through schooling. Emphasizing on the academic success of the institution, Jarrod Brauer says, “The popular option when graduating from our primary school is to transition to Academia International School, our college, which prepares students for International A Levels. These qualifications are recognized around the world and open doors to universities across the globe. International A levels allow students to choose their subjects based on their individual strengths and interests – one of the many advantages when studying at Academia International School.”

“In the last years, students leaving our college have had some outstanding performances, including awards such as winners of the Pearson Edexcel prizes for the highest mark in Switzerland in science, advanced maths, and English. We have also had a student awarded the Pearson Edexcel prize for the highest mark in the world for Advanced German,” Jarrod Brauer highlights.

Exploring Creativity by that Extra(Curricular) Mile

Emphasizing on the extra-curricular activities designed to boost the creativity of the students at school, Jarrod Brauer explains, “Albeit a smaller school, we have a large number of clubs and opportunities for our pupils to enjoy. In particular, we offer a day school set up with homework rooms, language booster lessons, art, football, yoga, STEM, computer programming, instrumental music, gardening, cooking clubs and more catering for many talents. There is, of course, a free play option which encompasses the time in the garden, often with our pet bunny rabbits for the little ones to enjoy.”

Advice from Leader to Leaders

Advising the younger generation catering to the education sector as educators, Jarrod Brauer explains, “Aspire to inspire. The energy you put into teaching will be returned tenfold from a happy class. Pupil achievements, no matter how big or small, are a just reward for an educator shaping young minds. I am a firm believer one should stay true to who you are in your teaching style, and this should be moulded to your personality. Pupils will feel whether you are authentic or not, so be the best version of yourself!”

Envisage the Expansion of Bilingual Schools and Community

Academia Bilingual School and its educational group continue to go from strength to strength. Recently the bilingual school concept was inspired by Academia Bilingual School, Basel has added to more locations in the Zurich area: Terra Nova Bilingual School in Küsnacht, along with Academia Bilingual School Winterthur.

This unique model sets a distinct point from big international schools, bringing the students in the spotlight and not being lost in the crowd, but valued and known by all in a familiar community. Being confident about the school’s progress, Jarrod Brauer says, “I could imagine we shall continue to see more small schools by Academia Schools design whether at junior or senior school level in the future.”

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