Obersee Bilingual School: Taking Your Child on A Remarkable Learning Voyage
Obersee Bilingual School
Obersee Bilingual School

As the world becomes more and more complex students need to be ready to meet its challenges. Students need to be creative and be involved in shaping their education and schools need to move away from compliance and conformity. Information can be accessed in an instance. Making sense of that information, sharing it and using it to make connections and create something new is what schools must now prepare their students for.

Schools must provide an education that helps children understand the world around them, foster curiosity and become resilient and independent learners.

Whilst every school has their own individual approach to this we at The Knowledge Review, in our endeavour to find The 10 Best Schools in Switzerland for 2020, have come across a few schools that have left no stones unturned when it comes to preparing students for the challenges they will undoubtedly face.

Schools such as the Obersee Bilingual School (OBS), have always striven for their students to be co-authors of their education and now, more than ever, believe that they need to undergo transition from knowledge acquisition to information acquisition and transforming that information into action.

OBS was founded 15 years ago when a mother realised that there wasn’t a school that offered a truly bilingual education in the area. OBS in its current form, has really taken off in the last five years through the creation and continuous development of a community that puts the needs of its students at the forefront. Not only their current needs, but also their future needs.

The school endeavours for its students to approach the world of tomorrow with joy and enthusiasm and to see it as a place of endless opportunities. OBS believes that its students will design their own future, as well as that of the school’s, and therefore its mission is to provide them with an outstanding, innovative education and a global awareness that prepares them to master the challenges of an exciting, yet rapidly changing and unknown future.

OBS aims is to create an environment that offers personal learning, where mistakes are seen as part of the learning process and where the focus is on bringing out the best in students so that they are ready to contribute to the society, now and in the future.

Within a nurturing and supportive environment OBS fosters a community built on respect, kindness and mutual encouragement and places the utmost value on the school to home partnership. Key to its offering is guiding their students as they further develop their creative thinking, problem-solving, inquiry, persuasive and design thinking skills whilst pursuing their passions. Fostering a growth mindset, self-assessment and learning how to learn and taking responsibility for one’s own learning are key to education at OBS.

OBS believes that it is also important to note the increase in low self-esteem, anxiety and depression in the youth of today, creating an even greater need for social responsibility and an education focused just as much on the social and emotional needs of its students.

The Guiding Light

Obersee Bilingual School is owned by Bold Brains AG, a Swiss EdTech company founded by Mr Uwe Feuersenger, a visionary with a passion for education. He brings with him a wealth of local and international knowledge, a network from academia, research, film, media and industry and leads a team of highly skilled teachers and engineers. His vision is to always anticipate the future and be several steps ahead.

Uwe is known for his critical views of the current approach of governing bodies towards digitalization in education. He believes that many current education systems are still oriented towards the past, characterised by passive information and knowledge acquisition and reproduction.

“Digitalization, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality open up new opportunities for us to make learning realistic, entertaining, and interesting. For the benefit of our children, we must be open to these new learning aids and if a school plans to use them, ensure that the teachers are trained and supported in their implementation.”

Inspired by Prof. Dr. John Seely Brown, Uwe’s vision is to combine the physical space (OBS’s new campus), the social space (the school community) and technology to enhance collaborative learning. While the construction of the new state-of-the-art campus is well underway, Uwe’s development team at Bold Brains is working on a revolutionary learning platform.

Preparing Tomorrow’s Global Citizens

OBS believes that learning is not always easy but that it should be fun and authentic. Its students follow a personal path which remains flexible until they start the pre-IB or Matura programme of study. Units of study be they cross-curricula or subject specific, centre around a “Big Idea” and are very much based on developing enquiring young minds and encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship.

The bilingual curriculum starts in Early Years and goes all the way through to the IB and Matura. The school’s timetables are flexible, allowing children to get into a flow, and teachers to really get to know each individual, academically, and emotionally.

Students at OBS experience a truly bilingual education taught by mother tongue teachers. In the primary they are taught in English one week and German the next whilst in upper school the students experience all subjects in both languages as they progress through the school.

The student life programme is progressive throughout the school and provides opportunities for both personal and social development by enabling the students to participate and grow their skills in areas such as e-sports, karate, Chinese, OBS-TV and music, and the arts.

Technology plays an important part in the life of an OBS student, be it to encourage participation, to deliver learning experiences in a fun way through gamification, to provide virtual experiences, to support in the acquisition of life skills, or to provide individual learning opportunities with instant feedback.

Community service is a central part of school life, enabling students to acquire life skills and become caring citizens with a developing awareness of social differences and environmental issues.

OBS students engage deeply, enjoy learning, and discover their passions. Some of the school’s students compete in national sports teams or are gifted musicians. Due to the flexibility of the OBS’s offering and online access to lesson plans and resources, students are able to pursue their talents without missing out on valuable learning.

Benchmarking Modern Education

Obersee Bilingual School focuses on providing a holistic, authentic and integrated educational experience that truly engages its students. The school offers a future orientated curriculum which is constantly evolving due to the changing reality. The list of OBS’ offering includes:

  • Languages, media, and drama
  • Mathematics
  • The arts
  • A blend of more traditional and of modern approaches to design and technology
  • The humanities
  • The sciences, with an evolving focus on Oceanography and Space
  • A modern sports curriculum that raises interest for traditional and new disciplines, promotes wellbeing of mind and body and that fosters healthy competition to build character and good sportsmanship through experiencing victory and defeat
  • Coding and applied Physics and Robotics
  • Mindfulness
  • Traffic School
  • An E-Sports Team that supports concentration and observation skills teamwork etc.

The school’s “Focus Year” in grade 10 provides students with an opportunity to discover new passions, explore an excisting passion, extend their learning in an area of interest or join the workforce by undertaking an internship. Partnerships with universities not only broaden the school’s resources but also allow it to adapt to the latest research and share best practice beyond the confines of the school campus. The school’s ultimate goal is to develop its own unique agile curriculum that caters not only for tomorrow but also prepares its students for the challenges they will face.

OBS was one of the first Schools in Switzerland to introduce:

  • Lego Education, which provides opportunities to combine art and engineering.
  • Aikido as a mandatory part of the curriculum
  • OBSession the latest innovation at OBS, the first School e-Sports Team in Switzerland

OBS also offers its students the opportunity to attend Model United Nations, the World Robotics Olympiad, the SGIS Student Leadership Conference and the Youth Forum Switzerland to name a few.

A Feeling of Belonging

OBS welcomes all students it is in a position to support, challenge and help realise their true potential. “We embrace cultural diversity and see our differences as learning opportunities,” says Uwe. School and social events at OBS celebrate both local traditions as well as traditions from the students’ home countries.

“Our explorations look to our host country as well as our home countries. We see ourselves as connected to the global community and as a result we assume a sense of responsibility to all we have a chance to impact however small,” he adds.

At OBS, learning is shared with peers and across grades and departments. We have set up buddy classes and our Kindness Tree and Wall of Fame are two examples of how we celebrate each other’s successes.

The school has an active student council as well as regular class council meetings. It believes that parents play an important role in helping build the community, whether they are supporting the learning or ensuring there are plenty of social and community events throughout the year.

Field trips and camps not only take learning outside the classroom but also strengthen established friendships and help develop new friendships. Through these activities, OBS students have been known to overcome their fears and discover hidden passions. Sports Day and the Swiss Clean up Day are examples of whole school events that encourage the feeling of belonging to a community.

Obersee Bilingual School is passionate about offering an authentic, relevant, and world-focused curriculum and supporting its students so that they feel confident to express themselves in both German and English. The school continuously challenges its methods and strategies to ensure that its learning environment cultivates imagination, critical thinking, and a different perspective, whilst allowing time for play/time to delve into one’s own interests. Moreover, OBS believes that taking time to discuss world news and the impact of media support an engaging learning environment. Finding learning activities that enable students to make emotional connections and where mistakes are seen as part of the learning process help ignite student minds. Visitors (be it people from education, the business world, the social sector, or the entertainment sector) help add to the authenticity of what OBS does.

Striving for Excellence and Preparing for Endless Opportunities

OBS, a young, innovative school saw its first class graduate last year. One of its students achieved the best Matura result in the German speaking part of Switzerland. Other Alumni have gone ahead to study at the prestigious ETH in Zurich and UK and Canadian Universities. Several of OBS’ Alumni have received scholarships and are pursuing their sporting talents whilst continuing their studies, be it Latin dance (Swiss champion), rowing, ice-hockey or golf.

Graduating from OBS gives one the opportunity to study at Universities world-wide or to embark on an apprenticeship which can lead to a job or further studies. Students that attend OBS’s Primary and US will be prepared for the careers of the future.

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