MD Cognita Spain explains the educational model of the future in La Vanguardia

Today La Vanguardia published an interview with Luisa Tristán, Managing Director of Cognita Spain, where she examines the need to transform the current educational model into a system which meets the requirements of a future that is presently yet unknown to us:

  • ‘‘The speed of change is exponential; we have to educate our students for a reality we don’t know.’’
  • ‘‘The teacher must become an engineer of learning, and design experiences that help students work with knowledge; and students today are digital natives.’’
  • “Experiential and project-based learning turn the student into the main figure of the educational model.”
  • ‘‘Our ‘WorldReady Experience’ model, designed for students ages 16 to 19, helps the student reach their maximum potential and prepare for the real world.’’

Below we have included the complete interview, which you can also view at La Vanguardia


La Vanguardia / Monographs / The Best Education Centres

Luisa Tristán, Managing Director of Cognita Spain

‘‘The speed of change is exponential; we have to educate our students for a reality we don’t know.’’
Cognita, a leading group in education, is a growing family of 68 schools, with more than 30,000 students in Europe, Asia and Latin America. The five schools that the Cognita Group has in Spain (The British School of Barcelona, Hastings School in Madrid, The English Montessori School-TEMS in Madrid, El Limonar International School Murcia, and El Limonar International School Villamartín of Alicante) are considered among the best international schools in the country. The British School of Barcelona (BSB) is the most important Cognita school in Spain and has three campuses: one in Sitges and two in Castelldefels, one of which will be opened in the coming months.

As an expert in strategic management in the education sector, how do you see the future of education in general and in Spain in particular?
We are experiencing a change in era that requires a total transformation of the educational model based on three determining factors: the speed of change is exponential; this requires us to educate our students for a reality that is yet unknown to us (3 in every 4 students that are currently in Early Years Foundation Stage will end up working in professions which don’t exist yet). Knowledge is accessible on mobile devices; consequently the teacher must become an engineer of learning, and be able to design experiences that help students work with knowledge. And students today are digital natives; hence, they have different ways of learning and behaviour that we have to integrate into the pedagogical design. In Spain, this change has already started and has successfully been introduced in some schools, like The British School of Barcelona (BSB), where experiential and project-based learning turn the student into the main figure of the educational model.

What changes have the Cognita schools in Spain undergone since you took the helm?
The success of education at the five Cognita schools in Spain cannot be conceived without their coming together with the Group’s extensive family of schools around the world: all of our schools share best practices in adaptation so that our students reach their maximum potential. My main objective is to ensure that each and every one of our students in Spain benefit from a ‘‘Cognita Education’’, where we add the development of skills and a global mentality to academic excellence.

How is this future vision that you mentioned before translated into the BSB curricula?
The school has undergone a radical change in the past two years, not only in terms of its facilities and expansion to include a new campus in Sitges and the new Pre-University centre that we will soon open, but rather in the provision of a holistic education and the implementation of an educational enrichment programme that is quite in line with life skills acquisition, beyond what is strictly academic. This educational vision is implemented throughout all curricula and reaches its height in the model designed for students 16 to 19 years of age, something we call “WorldReady Experience”: combining A-Levels with the International Baccalaureate Organisation Diploma, skill development programmes (communication, critical thinking, teamwork) and tutors that help the student reach their maximum potential and prepare for the real world.

What benefits does receiving an international education from the early years have for a child’s schooling?
Our schools in Spain follow the British curriculum and at BSB the International Baccalaureate is also taught. The students hail from about 50 different nations, which, in addition to foreign language learning, gives them a global perspective that shapes their character and turns them into citizens of the world, tolerant of different cultures and capable of carving out a future career in any part of the globe. Immersion in this international educational model from the earliest age translates to the development of an open mind-set and lifelong values of coexistence, thereby facilitating their access to universities around the world.

Read article in La Vanguardia