The Private Educational Institution Boarding Lyceum of Natural Science

Principal’s thoughts of lyceum past, present and future

G. G. Konnycheva,
principal of LIEN

In everyone’s life there comes a moment to look back and reconsider different facts and events, think more carefully about future activities, define ways of further searching and attainment of truth.

You never know when this moment arrives, but mine already did. I am the principal of private educational institution “Boarding Lyceum of Natural Science”; this lyceum is my whole life’s work. And one of my most important goals is looking for means of making perfect education.

How do we make children so excited that they couldn’t wait to get to school in the morning and wouldn’t want to leave when the lessons are over? What do we do to make their gratitude expressions retain emotional tone long after graduation? So that after many years these already grown-up people would still have happy memories of their school times, of a school that not only taught them various foundations of science but also to achieve their goals and succeed in everything they do, a school where they would bring their own kids.

How do we make teachers proud of what they are doing? Not ashamed for failing to give something to their students? Feel protected and loved? How do we make them feel their link to the world of education?

These and many other questions have been bothering me for many years. During more than three decades spent in the field of education I frequently encountered hard-heartedness, callousness and excess formalism. With rising dismay I observed the education level slowly decaying from year to year, causing immense growth of the abyss between school graduates’ knowledge and higher education institutions’ requirements. And now really drastic measures are needed to bring everything back to normal: complete change of school education strategy. That’s how boarding lyceum was born, a school where children would be able to get decent education.

At the same time, I had an idea of individual study work with tutors in my mind. Not the lessons associated here today with paid education service, but helping students digest the most difficult study material individually. And these tutors are the same teachers who will be happy to explain difficult for perception educational material, will help to solve a difficult task. But there is a necessary condition: student must first attempt to understand the material yourself.

Individual lessons along with the mandatory physics tests I used to conduct for my students together formed a basis for boarding school education technology.

Eventually the lyceum started to grow more and more famous. Parents were happy to bring their kids to such a school where their kids will enjoy studying and get really good chances of joining a higher education institution later.

But it was not possible to accept everyone and admission-related questions emerged.

The traditional competitive selection based on results of pre-admission tests didn’t seem a good idea – what if only learners with good marks in previous schools will make their way, leaving others (especially those with big potential) behind? That’s why we decided to judge our applicants not by the level of their knowledge, but by their desire to learn.

That’s why 2 weeks of each August are spent on test lessons for kids from different schools. During these lessons teachers carefully observe their study progress. Even if a student starts with bad marks but strives to fix them and achieves significant success – he or she is guaranteed to be enrolled in lyceum, where in new surroundings it is way easier to make study efforts.

Thus, lyceum gives children a fair second chance if they were not successful in their previous schools, no matter why. And it’s up to our teachers to help them succeed in their study here.

The main idea of the lyceum is minimizing waste of time in education process. Every minute of a lesson has to be dedicated only to learning and increasing students’ motivation. Primary goal of such a system is to make the initiative come from both student and teacher, thus substantially increasing study efficiency: this is promoted by a wide range of modern study techniques, such as project lessons or interactive lectures. Here every teacher can implement his own creative ideas. A teacher who came up with a new idea will never be said here “no”. He will definitely be helped. Therefore, so many talented teachers work at the lyceum, who always have something to learn and who enjoy learning from others.

We managed to organize study process in such a way that our teachers constantly enhance their skills. Not long ago all our pedagogical staff decided to familiarize themselves closer with informative technology; as a result, lyceum has become one of the first education institutions in Saratov where almost all teachers actively use computer technologies during classes. They can’t even think of organizing their lessons without a projector anymore!

As soon as this objective was complete, a new one appeared instantly. How do we teach our learners to see benefits of knowledge? How do we make children feel the “taste” of success in their studies? We have to develop the talents that nature has given them as much as possible. In order to do this we have to reveal these skills first, or even better – help children reveal them. That’s where our psychologists kick in and organize various events (tests, conversations, counseling, etc.) with individual study programs being developed alongside. Lots and lots of clubs are there to help children find themselves: if they want to sing, dance, or play in the lyceum theatre – best secondary education teachers are there to help them learn to do it professionally.

But even that is not enough nowadays. How can today’s student possibly build a career in adult life? First thing we have to do is teach student to set goals and accomplish them using certain knowledge and skills. In other words we have to help them form “project thought”. And there we have project activities being integrated into lyceum study process; special study course “Project technology” is being developed; students’ projects receive high grades in different contests, competitions and conferences; teachers gladly share their creative discoveries, actively participate in various seminars and give master classes.

In other words, on our way to creating a perfect school me and my colleagues face more and more problems every day. But we will never stop in our aspiration to create such a school – school of our dreams! Therefore our mission is developing social and pedagogical partnership between all education process subjects and creating educational environment “Intellect cultivation school”.