Let's Talk About Education

84 Years Young

March 16, 2021 - By Scott Little - Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

EARJ is celebrating its 84th anniversary this week with both virtual celebrations and on-campus activities to mark the special occasion. Over the past 84 years, there has been one constant at EARJ: change.

From its humble beginnings in a small house in Ipanema in 1937 to the opening of the Gavea campus in 1971, to the opening of the Barra campus in 2014, this change has been fueled by our goal of providing a world-class education to students and the resulting growth in our student population as we have succeeded in achieving this goal.

Not satisfied to rest on our long list of achievements, we have continued to make school-based decisions based on pedagogical research and best practice to continuously improve. It was with this in mind that EARJ adopted the International Baccalaureate’s Diploma Programme in 1982 at the Gavea campus and was authorized for the IB Diploma Programme at the Barra Campus in 2019. Most recently, EARJ has become an IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) candidate school for the 2020-21 school year and will become a candidate school for the Middle Years Programme (MYP) for the 2021-22 school year.

While our earlier developments might be described as evolutionary in nature, these recent curricular changes in becoming authorized as an IB continuum school are truly transformative. Our adoption of an inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning will take the critical thinking and problem-solving skills of our students to a new level and will ultimately lead them to some of the highest-ranking universities around the world.

So that brings us up to date on the changes at EARJ, right? Well, not quite. The 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years have been years like no other and the impact that the pandemic has had on education has required EARJ to rethink what a school is and where/how learning takes place. The emergence of distance learning introduced disruptive innovations to the classroom like Zoom/Google Meet and introduced the concepts of synchronous and asynchronous learning for the first time.

While some might suggest that we will simply return to our previous way of doing things once the pandemic is over, we know that disruption doesn’t work that way. For the past year now we have been continually evaluating the impact of this disruption on teaching and learning and recalibrating how we do things to successfully meet the needs of our students, both on-campus and from home along the way. So, while some of the adaptations we have made over the past year are destined to fade away, others are here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.

So where do we go from here? Onward and Upward. We are not here today celebrating the 84th anniversary of EARJ as a result of complacency. Rather, it’s because we have changed as a commitment to our mission of providing an education which inspires creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and the confidence to excel in an ever-changing global community and our vision of being globally recognized as an international school.

With this in mind, EARJ will continue to transform learning by providing a unique, challenging, and diverse educational experience for students that move from individualism to collectivism, from the idea of a physical classroom to an invisible classroom, and from teacher-led to student-driven learning. It’s an exciting time and we thank you for choosing EARJ for your child’s educational journey.

“I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.” 

Georg C. Lichtenburg

Scott Little
Barra Upper School Principal

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