The School at The Royal Academy is a co-educational, residential school and will have students from grades 7 to 12. The School aims to create a student community that is balanced and diverse in terms of the national character and cultural experience. The student selection process at The School is constantly evolving. However, diversity and equity are cornerstones of the selection process with representation from all 20 Dzongkhags. On March 6, 2016, the first batch of 60 students arrived at The School. Today, there are 212 students from grades 7 to 11.
The School aspires to equip learners with the skills and qualities required to actualize their inner potential. Self-actualization is not an endpoint in itself, but is rather the state in which a person can act responsibly with wisdom. Whichever area the learner pursues – artistic, technical, physical, academic – when they graduate, they should have the rigour and resilience to propel themselves through the learning process and discern their way forward. Learners should also develop a sense of purpose which guides their decisions and actions. They should be alert and sensitive to the needs in their communities – both human and environmental – and should be continuously applying their skills and knowledge wisely in order to become a contributory member of their communities.
The first Learning Phase of the academic year, Gomdri, is a period where significant time is invested in developing Roadmaps and recording the Backstories of all Learners. New students are introduced to the philosophy, the Five Areas of Development, Skills, Processes and Watermarks. Understanding their Backstory and creating individual Roadmaps is the focus during this cycle. For older students, the focus is on updating their Backstory and existing version of their Roadmap. The Backstory will reflect the life experiences through the course of the previous academic year and the breaks between academic years.
Yardak forms the second learning phase and the content of Learning Experiences focuses on strengthening pre-knowledge gaps identified during the first phase. The gaps are identified using Domain Roadmap progressions. Mentors communicate with parents in this Learning Phase about their children. Adults in the role of Domain experts, Domain Heads and coordinators of the Five Areas of Development meet regularly during this Learning Phase. These meetings help to plan and design Learning Experiences that helps to Raise the Bar for children. This ongoing process serves as a basis for continuously updating and assessing Roadmaps. Mentor-mentee meetings, both in a group and one on one, form important methods of updating student Roadmaps. This process shapes the individualised Learning Experience for a child and the content used in Learning Experiences.
The third to fifth Learning Phases further enhance development and growth in the Five Areas of Development, Concepts and Domain content, Skills, Processes and Watermarks. Creation of new knowledge is the focus, based on community aspirations from collective Roadmaps. Meetings within mentee groups, Domain experts, Domain heads and coordinators continue in this phase ensuring the evolving nature of the Roadmaps. Learning Experiences are designed in such a way that students are provided opportunities to demonstrate and achieve their indicators of success.
The learning process leads toward living in harmony with nature. This develops a sense of respect for nature instead of a need to subjugate nature and the natural processes. The learner will develop a sense of harmony with nature. Furthermore, the Learning Experience need not necessarily be within a classroom or a time period. Learning could take place in a natural environment such as through Nature Retreats. Mentor-mentee groups decide on the location they would like to visit for the retreat, plan for the trip and develop a detailed itinerary for six days. This approach to learning as part of life and its activities helps to inculcate the mindset of learning continuously from a variety of experiences. A learner growing up in such an environment retains their child-like curiosity to learn, engage and reflect.
At The Royal Academy, Roadmaps are an important tool of assessment. Students play a vital role in proposing indicators of success in their Roadmaps unique to their individual aspirations.
Teachers carry out continuous assessment of the students, using a variety of assessment tools such as observations, classwork, reviews, and projects. The assessment is based on teachers’ qualitative observations. Although important, the knowledge gained by students is not the only focus of assessment. Understanding of the process of learning and the acquisition of skills during this process will be the key focus of assessment at The Royal Academy.
Technology plays a crucial role in the process of recording, collecting, and creating reports and progress letters for that academic year.