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 for our students?
The liberal arts & sciences offer 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.
We emphasize an interdisciplinary approach to learning and problem solving, because we want to equip students to deal with real social and academic issues that do not always fit the classification of regular school subjects. In our curriculum 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 questions, instead of (only) focussing on their own experiences and direct surroundings. 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. Philosophy offers great tools to help students develop these qualities and skills.
Lastly, within liberal arts & sciences curricula a lot of attention is often paid to ethical awareness and morality. Our students are expected to not only analyze real world problems, 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 to education gives out school the tools to help our students to be the best thinkers, doers and change agents that they can be!