A new school opens in Lithuania.
A new style modern educational establishment is opened in Vilnius, Lithuania, based on Tavistock group relations methodologies and sound pedagogic principles.
Two graduates of the Tavistock Institute’s Group Relations Leicester conference and the Practitioner Certificate in Consultancy & Change programme (P3C), Ruta Gustainiene and Stephen Lee, have established a new school called Guliverio Akademija in Vilnius. The school’s approach rests on integrated research-based contemporary pedagogy and Tavistock Group Relations methodology. The school is regarded as a learning organisation; it uses study methods for understanding inter-ethnic and inter-group relations. This approach helps teachers, parents and children and partner organisations acquire a sense of belonging, taking up a role as a member of the whole, discovering the meaning of the group, one’s role in the team and contributing to the well-being of the whole ‘system’.
The School engages with all sectors of society in a common task of educating children. The development of this new school community, in a post-soviet context, is guided by Tavistock Group Relations and systemic thinking in the conduct of meetings, the formation of sub-groups, the development of identity and the use of authority and power. The approach to education is based on collaboration in the system and formation of partnerships. The contrast with the old soviet system places the school as a significant intervention in the wider Lithuanian society.
Staff, students, parents and contractors (caterers, uniform designers, cleaners) are all participants in learning in this school organisation. Group Relations methods are taught to enhance staff understanding of group dynamics and classroom management. The school supports students in recognising their individual strengths and developing their skills to participate in groups in a variety of roles. Parents are part of the learning community through workshops and seminars that engage them actively in the culture and leadership of the school.
The school’s leadership provides many opportunities for staff, parents and students to explore and develop new leadership models based on collaborative decision-making. Gulliver Academy uses modern pedagogical methods that make learning fun for children, helping to explore, to experiment, to take risks, expand the boundaries of knowledge and learning for collaborating in order to realise the full value of the individual in the group, in the school system and in the wider Lithuanian society. An important pedagogic principle of school is to teach children responsibility for their actions and share knowledge towards a common goal.
The Gulliver Academy uses modern pedagogical methods that are less structured and less prescriptive than the methods traditionally used in Lithuanian schools. These methods help teachers and students alike to understood relationships between subjects. Integrated subject learning in primary school provides an excellent basis for later specialised training in high school.
Children and young people are encouraged to develop positive character traits that strengthen their self-confidence and successful interaction with others. The school does not subscribe to the view that children need to be controlled. It believes that children are curious, creative and talented. The school Guliverio Akademija aims to create an environment where every child and every school team can feel good as well as achieve the highest possible learning results.
The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations salutes the establishment of an independent organisation that is based on Tavistock development principles of individuals in group, systems and social contexts. The Tavistock Institute has appointed Dr Mannie Sher to represent it on the School Council of Guliverio Akademija.