Real Learning For a Real Future: The Modern Approach to Teaching and Learning |

Real Learning For a Real Future: The Modern Approach to Teaching and Learning

The Aquila School in Dubai is a brand new school which opened in September 2018, and offers a high quality international British education with modern approaches to learning

Posted on

27 June 2019

Last updated on 3 July 2019
The Aquila School in Dubai

Traditional (or conventional) methods of teaching rely heavily on recitation, rote learning, worksheets and pre-planned lessons, with constant assignments and testing.

Progressive educational practices focus more on the individual child’s needs rather than assuming all children are at the same level of understanding. Aquila’s approach to education is broad, balanced and innovative; children are encouraged to direct their own learning through collaborative group problem solving, questioning, explaining and demonstration techniques.

There is an emphasis on cross-curricular learning, so that children make links between different subjects. This enables them to apply their skills and knowledge in a meaningful context, facilitating the development of essential critical thinking and communication skills. All of this is underpinned by academic rigour.

Rather than follow the more traditional ways of teaching, teachers at The Aquila School are empowered to tailor their teaching to the interests and needs of their children.

“Our teachers are incredibly talented and passionate about teaching the modern Aquila way - they essentially ‘start from scratch’ with every lesson, and they think very carefully about what their children learned today, and what they need to learn tomorrow, so planning is very much adapted to the children, lending a sense of immediacy; we teach the children what they need to learn ‘right now. This makes learning far more engaging and ensures our children truly develop a love of learning,” says Wayne Howsen, Principal.

Aquila provides unique ‘real world’ opportunities for learning

Such as a hydroponics farm where children learn to cultivate their own produce. Students even organised the school’s official opening event; traditionally, this would be the responsibility of the school’s staff, however, Mr Howsen was adamant he wanted this to be organised by the children.

This is an example of an educational approach the school integrates into its curriculum called Mantle of the Expert, which uses real life contexts to generate purposeful and engaging activities for learning, and in this case, the children were tasked as a team of experts working for a client (the school) on a commissioned project.

As a new school that is still establishing its reputation, external validation of the quality of the provision The Aquila School offers is also important.

In April 2019, The Aquila School was rated as Outstanding by British School Overseas (BSO), a UK Department for Education regulatory body that assesses and monitors international British schools, across all of its eight areas of assessment. The school opened in September 2018, and to be graded as Outstanding this early on in a school’s operation is very rare, if not unheard of.

Wayne Howsen commented: “Our team work tirelessly to ensure that every child makes as much progress as possible and is genuinely empowered to make decisions about their own learning. We are delighted that – within our first year of operation – we have been given the very highest rating possible from British School Overseas. Their recognition of the relevance of our engaging curriculum and commitment to progress, while ensuring that children are safe and happy, are a fitting testament to the excellent work of our committed and talented staff.”

For more information, or to arrange a tour, please contact +971 (0) 4 586 2700, or visit

The Aquila School in Dubai
The Aquila School
Sponsored by
The Aquila School
Aquila is a school based on ‘individuality’ and ‘maximum choice.’ At all stages, students will play a central role in their learning through exercising choice. Offering wide choice ensures students’ needs are best met and engagement levels are high.

Dubailand, Dubai (opposite Sky Court Towers)