I hope you are enjoying a good Parents Weekend break. This week I visited Le Rosey. The school was founded in 1880 and has only had four directors in those 132 years. The current directors are a couple who have owned Le Rosey since 1980. Le Rosey demonstrated the biggest commitment to international diversity, and is one of the few schools that place improving education in the arts at the top of their strategic plan as means to improving emotional intelligence and leadership. Don’t worry, it also has a sports requirement. :)
Le Rosey is a boarding school of 400 students grades 7 to12, and it caps students from any one country at 10% (40 students) of the school. This cap keeps any one culture from dominating the feel of the school. New students always room with students from another country; but after the first session, students can pick their own roommates. Like the two other Swiss schools I have visited, they felt that making their dorm expectations clear and strictly followed was the key component to different cultures living well together. Rosey, like Leman and Aiglon, had daily room inspections.
Le Rosey is fully bilingual, meaning that students take an equal number of courses in English and in French. There is ESL support during the first year and kids can choose which courses they take in each language. On top of their bilingual program, students have to study a third language for at least four years. When the Director heard me struggle with French, he quipped “oh, you Yankees.” I was about to tell him that I was actually a Red Sox fan, but I knew that was not what he was referring to.
Le Rosey’s top item on its strategic plan (“Le Futur” it is called) was to improve the arts program. The plan said:
“The practice of the Arts develops both a child’s emotional intelligence and creative qualities which are essential to a growing number of professions. . . . An education in the Arts favours Roseans’ psychological balance and creative imagination and their ability to relate to surroundings with the help of the five senses. The Arts enrich our appreciation of culture something which sets the most imaginative leaders apart.”
Two of the steps in this plan are: requiring the study of arts through the 10th grade, and building a new art center. (On a side note, Le Rosey will not require art after the 10th grade because of the pressures of the IB diploma and the French Baccalaureate . Students chose one of those two programs.)
In my travels Le Rosey is one of the few schools to put the arts at the top of its strategic plan and so clearly connect the learning of the arts to emotional intelligence, the increasing importance of creative imagination, the appreciation of different cultures, and to leadership. Le Rosey’s plan connected with a conversation I had with Martha during a recent hike. I was remarking how math was the universal language, in that people all over the world used a similar system. She agreed and quickly said, “math and visual images.” Of course, she’s a movie-maker, so she has that bias, but it did strike me that images were the other medium that people from different cultures share easily. Her comment helped me better appreciate Le Rosey’s plan.
Le Rosey coincided with two of Yong Zhao’s (Leading the Way…) core skills of the new century:
- creativity, interpreted as both ability and passion to make new things and adapt to new situations; and
- emotional intelligence—the ability and capacity to understand and manage emotions of self and others.
Visiting these schools has also exemplified Zhao’s criticism of national exams and encouragement to develop the independent strengths of individual schools. He writes:
“What is needed is a diversity of talents rather than individuals with the same competencies. …. This requires us to move away from not only adopting international standards but also national standards and testing. Each local community may have something special, something unique to offer on the global market. An international curriculum or national curriculum can only serve to destroy local traditions and strengths.”
Rosey–with its focus on the arts and its international diversity, and Aiglon–with its strength in expeditions, both offer something unique.
It’s worth noting. Let me know what you think.