The Jumeirah Village Triangle, UK curriculum school, which is presently under construction, will use a methodology created by R.E.A.L. Discussion. R.E.A.L. will provide teacher training to Arcadia's secondary staff in Atlanta, as well as provide curricular materials for student use in humanities subjects.
The agreement was signed at the University of Pennsylvania by Liza Cowan, the founder of the methodology, and Navin Valrani, CEO of Arcadia Education. Also present at the signing were Dean Pam Grossman, Vice-Dean Melissa Calvert, Dr. Bobbi Kurshan and Dr. Jenny Zapf from Penn’s Graduate School of Education.
The R.E.A.L. Discussion method builds common language around discussion by focusing on four foundational discussion skills: Relate, Excerpt, Ask and Listen. The system "equalises" ‘airtime’ among students, raises quality of student comments, supports student leadership, minimises anxiety and builds classroom communities.
Ms Cowan, a Harvard-educated English teacher, said today's "students need to graduate confident that their voices matter and [believe that they are] competent at engaging others with inquiry, evidence, and empathy. R.E.A.L. does just that."
Navin Valrani, CEO of Arcadia Education, also commented saying, “When I walked into Ms. Cowan’s classroom to attend a R.E.A.L. Discussion on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, I just knew that discussion would be a cornerstone of our secondary school offering. R.E.A.L. aligns perfectly with Arcadia’s values and ensures that no child will ever be left behind in a classroom discussion at Arcadia.”
Discussion based approaches to teaching are not new. Cranleigh Abu Dhabi, for example, has long promoted its Socratic approach to teaching. Universities have been using the discussion based methodology for centuries.