The Citizens of the World schools use a standards-based and academically rigorous teaching approach, known as constructivism.
Constructivism is a learning theory based on the idea that new knowledge is “constructed”on top of learners’ existing knowledge. According to the theory, students are not “empty vessels” that need to be “filled.” Rather, students’ existing knowledge serves as an important foundation for new learning. This approach to teaching and learning requires that teachers take the time to get to know students in depth, and to integrate what they learn about students into their instruction. In other words, a Constructivist classroom is a student-centered classroom.
Constructivism often involves project-based learning. Rather than a teacher demonstrating concepts or delivering information to the students, children work to “construct” their own knowledge by doing. Students often plan and conduct projects around given themes/concepts, later reflecting upon their own work with the teacher’s feedback. Students are guided by the teacher’s facilitation, not just direction, and their resulting work represents the skills and knowledge that they themselves have gained.
Individually Tailored for Each Student
Constructivist learning treats each student as an individual with unique strengths and needs. The year begins with an assessment of each learner’s ability level, against which individual progress is regularly measured. This is coupled with high expectations for all students, enabling students at all levels to thrive.
CWC also works from Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, which holds that intelligence is not a single, fixed measurement, but that there are several types of cognitive abilities and intelligences, including spatial, linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, etc. CWC teachers recognize and work with each child’s intelligences and learning style.
Smaller Class Sizes
CWC embraces the freedom granted to charters by making instructional decisions that reflect the constructivist model and by making budgetary decisions that allow for smaller class sizes.
A Record of Success
The constructivist model is not easy to implement, but when done well has proven highly successful at several locations, including Larchmont, Larchmont West, CWC Hollywood and others. CWC also embraces parent and community input and can quickly incorporate it, operating nimbly and responsively.
Art, Music, and Physical Education
Recognizing the value of the arts and their role in enhancing performance across subject areas, CWC Mar Vista will have art and music instruction multiple times a week by trained experts, as well as physical education.
Social Justice and Diversity
We intend to build a school that reflects the ethnic, racial, linguistic and
socioeconomic diversity of Mar Vista. Citizens of the World believes that children who have had experience of interacting with and learning from students who are different from themselves in some way (learning style, ethnicity, language, socioeconomic standing, interests) will be better able to function effectively in the 21st century and will view their neighborhood, city and world in a more informed, skillful and community-minded light.
Mar Vista is culturally diverse: 47% Caucasian, 27% Latino, 14% Asian, 8% African-American, and 4% other. CWC Mar Vista hopes to attract a student body mirroring the neighborhood composition.