Liberal arts & sciences
At ALASCA we offer a curriculum inspired by the principles of liberal arts & sciences. But, what does this mean, exactly? And what are the implications of this approach for our students?
The liberal arts & sciences approach offers a perspective on what a curriculum should aim to teach students. In this view, an emphasis is placed on offering a broad intellectual foundation and the tools to think critically, reason analytically and write clearly. These proficiencies have become basis necessities to navigate the world's most complex issues, to address future innovations and to tackle challenges that are unknown as of yet. At ALASCA we've opted to build a curriculum that places an emphasis on the depth and breath of general knowledge, instead of deep specialization. We've also included modern - some would say 21st century - skills, like design and digital skills, collaborating with others and creative problem solving skills.
The Liberal Arts & Sciences tradition emphasize an interdisciplinary approach to learning and problem solving, because it aims to equip students to deal with real social and academic issues that do not always fit the classification of standard academic disciplines or regular school subjects. At ALASCA we, therefore, often work with thematic 'modules' that contain contents from several school subjects. For example, first year students take a module about the city of Amsterdam, in which subject knowledge from geography, history, philosophy, visual arts and biology is integrated. We also offer interdisciplinary units in our IB Diploma programme. For instance, we offer an interdisciplinary unit, or module, called "Mankind, society and technology". This module contains content knowledge from ToK, psychology, language and literature, and visual arts.
The liberal arts & sciences also often place an emphasis on the great issues and big ideas of our time, choosing to expose students to the big issues of their time, instead placing a focus on their own private experiences and direct surroundings. At ALASCA we expect students to zoom out, look at the bigger picture and gain a larger perspective on our world. We challenge them to develop an investigative approach, combined with a critical attitude. The philosophy themed module offer great tools to help students develop these qualities and skills, as do modules like "Globalization, Poverty & the Environtment" and "Big History".
Lastly, within liberal arts & sciences curricula a lot of attention is often paid to ethical awareness and morality. ALASCA-students are also expected to not only analyze real world problems and moral issues, but to play their part in fixing those problems as well. Students are asked to participate in service learning projects, in which they work within their local communities to offer help, service and support to others.
In summary, the liberal arts & sciences approach gives our school a modern conceptual framework for a curriculum that supports our students to be the best thinkers, doers and change agents that they can be!