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General Educational Objectives
The following characteristics and developments in students are paramount:
There is a priority theme for each year. In accordance with the Austrian Framework Curriculum, the teaching content comprises various topics that are taught on different class levels according to the level of development and maturity of each age group.
Usually, students form small working groups which are then instructed with different teaching and learning methods. They work independently, whereby all didactical principles are incorporated. Old and new methods are equally applied.
After all students are introduced to the topic together, they work through the experimental phase, the processing phase and the practice phase in small groups, with a partner or individually. Finally, they present and reflect on the results.
Conceptual focal points
As a non-denominational private school, our Christian focus is part of our pedagogic concept. Apart from this, the following topics are also prioritized:
English as a modern foreign language is taught as a mandatory exercise starting in 1st grade. Also, one or two German classes are used for English instead each week. We are using the children’s instinct to play and their joy of talking to deepen their understanding of the English language. Depending on the students’ ability, they can start learning in 2nd grade (2nd semester) how to express themselves in writing as well. Some lessons in General Science and Mathematics are held in English to introduce children to the terminology and to repeat what has been taught. That way, it is easy for them to also express in English what they are currently learning at school.
Physical Exercise and Sports, Arts and Music may be taught in English depending on the teacher’s nationality.
Starting with 5th grade (which is still in planning), all subjects apart from German and Mathematics may occasionally also be taught in English.
It is our goal at MCA that all children (regardless of their first language) have a very good knowledge of both English and German after they have completed 4th or 8th grade.
Flexible Primary School Phase
It is our desire as a school to make the start of a student’s educational career as encouraging and positive as possible. That is why we have decided to introduce the model of a flexible primary school phase in which students of preschool, 1st and 2nd grade spend the school day together in one class.
Depending on their individual needs, their development and abilities, students have the possibility to go through the complete subject matter up to 2nd grade in one, two or three years.
The Austrian Education Act allows for one or even more changes from one school level to another. This makes the individualization of learning speed possible.
Our students live in a time which is characterized by digital media. We have decided to make digital media a core aspect of our school concept in order to support our students’ learning process with modern media and to demonstrate to them how to constructively use them.
It is important for us that children do not only learn how to use the devices, but also know how to create something with them. The abilities the children and young adults use to create something on their own help them in their future professional life.
We want to prepare the students of our school for the world of tomorrow – a world in which it is becoming more and more important to closely work with electronic media and which therefore requires a new view and a new approach.
After they have completed 4th grade, students should have achieved the following objectives:
Currently, there are two iPads that students are allowed to use.
We are convinced that digital media CAN BE an important tool of this time. Being able to use the devices is therefore a core competence which will become even more important in the coming years. It is our responsibility (together with the parents) to teach our children to correctly use these devices to be prepared for these future challenges and, as a consequence, to also teach them to creatively use digital media as a blessing and for the benefit of others.
Differentiation – Promotion of Talents and Supporting Students with Learning Disabilities
In regards to differentiation and individualization, the pedagogical concept is set up to guarantee the maximum learning progress of each student. In practice, the conceptual approach takes the needs of each child, their different abilities and talents as well as their previous knowledge on which we want to build on, into account.
Our team of educators is committed to promoting and supporting all children and youth of MCA; whether a student needs more time and support in order to achieve the learning objectives or whether a student’s abilities indicate that he/she could be highly gifted.
Our pedagogical team is able to respond to the individual needs of each student by giving different assignments, using teamwork, independent work, support classes, accompanying teachers and additional trainings for teachers.
In the case of students who need even more support than MCA is able to provide, we will search for additional support and promotion through other professionals inside and outside of our school. This has to happen in close cooperation with the parents. Any extra costs will have to be covered by the parents.
Culture of agreement
At the beginning of a student’s school career at MCA, parents and students discuss and sign an agreement regarding actions and behavior which is part of the students’ manual. In this agreement, important rules of conduct at the school as well as appropriate consequences in the case of violations (e.g. talks with the teacher, parents and the student) are laid out. Teachers are generally friendly but firm in their interaction with students. There is great emphasis on treating each other with respect.
School community/ School forum
We have a school forum at MCA which consists of two elected parent representatives, two teachers and a representative of the school board. This platform is a hub for all three interest groups (parents, students and teachers). It meets quarterly, but can be convened at short notice in urgent cases.
As a private school, MCA has a large degree of freedom and autonomy when it comes to choosing its educators. The team of leaders tries to recruit highly qualified people with a great commitment and an exemplary character. Educators who want to become part of the MCA team should also be willing to continuously develop their professional skills, learn new methods or deepen their knowledge in order to apply it even better.
There are different training opportunities for educators which are offered during each school year:
We, the teachers and leaders, participate in 30 to 60 hours of training each school year. We do this, because we want to be able to perform our challenging tasks with a high level of quality. At the end of the day, what is important is how we can continuously improve the level of teaching and which impulses actually reach the students.