Q.1: What was the philosophy behind adding electives at the high school level?
Ans. We wanted to carry forward and really evolve the limits of what a high school education could offer. Doing that entails a core concept that I believe should be a fundamental part of education: “Choice”. We believe in giving students the freedom to express themselves and see their passions through and turn them into reality. A host of different electives serve to complement the traditional high school education. By adding additional courses, we plan to promote interdisciplinary study while also giving students the opportunity to academically explore many different avenues to perhaps promote new passions or compound upon existing ones. Through this, we envision a truly liberal arts experience for students that will allow them to adapt to an ever-changing world through innovative and academically and recreationally engaging courses and modules.
Too often in Pakistan, we see students boxed in by the expectations of society into two or three “successful” disciplines. Disciplines that are seen as “safe”, we wanted to redefine those ideas to prepare students not just in terms of future security, but also to incorporate that sense of security with their passion to create a comprehensive educational experience. Now the conversation has moved past traditional subjects into nuanced interdisciplinary modules that will prepare students for specific opportunities that they either want to be part of, or to create themselves.
Q.2: Could you talk a bit about some of the electives and their execution?
Ans. We wanted to make sure that the electives didn’t just add coursework for the sake of it, but rather they were valuable additions. At Kaizen, we believe in equipping students with practical skills. These electives are a way to extend that practicality through experiential learning that leaves our students with memorable experiences and lasting skill sets that will aid them moving forward.
Electives like “Mindfulness and Wellness” serve as an opportunity for students to self-reflect and meditate. We hold skills like self-reflection in high regard and believe that this is a great avenue for students to manage stress. Self-reflection is a crucial and important aspect as we believe that it is crucial to critical thinking and challenging pre-conceived notions and perspectives in favor of personal development. Final projects included presentations and a student also made a sculpture to give physical form to her learnings from the elective, projects like these speak to the very core of how we envision education at Kaizen, a learning experience that will follow the students not just until the end of high school but will see them through the bright future that they craft ahead for themselves.
Q.3 What is your favorite elective and why?
Ans. “Development of Critical Thinking Skills” is my favorite elective. Not only does the elective teach valuable lessons through an interactive mode of education that is thoroughly engaging, but it equips students with a crucial skill. As information and perspectives expand through an increasingly digitized world, we believe in equipping our students with the lessons that will help them to critically evaluate situations and reach their own informed conclusions.
Q.4 How will the new additions equip students better for future opportunities?
Ans.“Research” is an elective that is particularly relevant when thinking of future opportunities, whatever field one goes in, the knowledge to analyze information and put it into practical contexts through credible research is the difference between an idea and its execution. Our students look towards the future and embody a passion to change society for the better, we look to enable that passion through electives like “Research”. Combining electives like research and “Enhanced Writing Skills” can lead students to further their skillset by learning how to write Research Essays, something that both the natural and social sciences often require.
On top of learning and experience, this initiative will also add a diversified tangent to the student’s college apps. It will help students along in their respective career paths while also serving as proof of their ever-determined nature to colleges that they’re applying to. A student interested in mathematics or computer science could take the “Numeric Electives” to double down on their studies on top of their regular classes. A student who is primarily interested in Political Science can also take the same elective to focus on research skills and tools through mathematical models. This kind of accessibility and the possibilities that it affords will help our students find their respective paths as they push on ahead onto college.