Personalized Learning Merged with Modern Technologies
Thursday, 01 April 2021
“Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself,” the famous Chinese proverb, is printed on every Ecole F.D.I.’s handbook and this is there not only to decorate a page.
Student’s autonomy equally complemented with teacher’s responsibility serves as the main school’s strategy towards a successful learning.
École F.D.I., Maths and Sciences Academy, is a centre for academic support and coaching founded in 2006 in Brussels by Younes Boutara, an engineer who has been teaching maths and physics in various Brussels schools. Since then, a tiny school of one class has turned into a multi-functional educative centre, helping young people to tackle their learning difficulties and guiding them through academical and even professional choices.
There Is Always a Solution
The main mission of Ecole F.D.I. is to bring help to students of different ages who cannot follow their studies in ordinary schools for various reasons such as learning difficulties, gaps due to medical reasons, high potential or foreign language. Instead of a mainstream curriculum, the school focuses on and prepares its students for “jury central” (CEB, CE1D, CE2D, CESS) or admission exams allowing the direct entrance to the French-speaking Belgian universities.
The latter option is still not well known among the Belgians, though undoubtedly handy, especially for young people coming from foreign countries and struggling with the validation of their diplomas. Even facing the recent lockdown, the school was remotely preparing candidates from various countries to get access to Belgian universities, including the programs like civil engineering or medicine. Ecole F.D.I. is also known for GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) preparations.
What does F.D.I. stand for?
It describes a step-by-step technique which can be used to handle any test or exam with a quick pre-evaluation of given questions by marking them as Easy (F, Facile), Difficult (D) or Impossible (I). The “F or Easy” questions should be solved first in order to win time, points and self-confidence, while the “I” ones should be left for the end to avoid getting blocked and discouraged at the beginning of the test. “It is only a question of time and a bit of effort when the ‘impossible’ tasks become the ‘possible’ ones,” adds Younes smiling, having discovered this method more than 20 years ago.
3 Dimensions of Ecole FDI
Twice a week, Ecole F.D.I. is open for pupils coming from other Brussels schools to join the “local” F.D.I. students. These remedial or reinforcement sessions are held in small groups, supervised and guided by experienced F.D.I.’s teachers. The task of the latter is not only to re-explain the ununderstood chapters and answer subject related questions but also to clarify everyone’s individual goals, identify missing links and to find a different way to one’s comprehension. Creating a stimulating and collaborative environment is one of the key points to make every student feel equal, supported and progressing.
Raising awareness oflearning as a cognitive and meta-cognitive process is another specific axe of Ecole F.D.I. Beside active learning techniques applied during the classes, the “learning to learn” seminars, webinars and individual sessions are regularly organised for students, their parents and teachers.
Since 2018, Ecole F.D.I. has been representing a cognitive training program BrainRx helping students with poor focus, weak memory and other learning challenges. “Behind almost every academic problem, there is a cognitive weak point that we can identify and work on it. Strong cognitive skills, like visual processing or working memory, are crucial not only for successful learning but also for any kind of mental and even physical activity, like drawing or playing tennis”, says R.Varnaite, certified coach and coordinator of the BrainsUp program at Ecole F.D.I..
Yes! to Technologies
Integration of modern technologies to teaching and learning process, E-learning or hybrid classes are something that Ecole F.D.I. has been developing for several years.
Younes Boutara in class
In 2019, the school started a collaboration with “TASE Solutions”, a hi-tech centre for architects and engineers. The main idea of this partnership was a wish to engage students’ motivation and curiosity by bringing a traditional classroom into a modern real-work environment. Younes Boutara and Emmanuel Petit, the CEO of “TASE Solutions”, are convinced that “getting out of the box”, in terms of learning space, can make a big change offering more sense to learning, inspiration and willingness to excel in one’s studies.
A recent project of “Ecole F.D.I.” and “TASE Solutions” is digital literacy (MS Office 365) training and certification for different social and professional groups: pupils, students, seniors, as well as medical, educational, commercial professionals or public sector staff, organised in French and English languages.
Since the beginning of its existence, Ecole F.D.I. has been creating a multicultural community of local and expat families searching for alternative or complementary education solutions. There are no miracles – success requires discipline, hard work and patience, both for a student and for his or her teachers. However, learning in Ecole F.D.I. is considered as a team game leading not only to academical achievements but also to the discovery of one’s potential and self-confidence.