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Excellent Workshops based on multiple intelligences

Attention to diversity is one of the challenges of the Areteia Educational Project, which aims to create a context of success for each student, accepting and working on weaknesses, but above all, encouraging the strengths and talents of each student.

In this way, in accordance with the fundamental principle of the Educational Project which states that all pupils can learn, though they need not all do it in the same way, Areteia applies Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences with the creation of the Excellent Workshops.

The theory of Multiple Intelligences developed by Gardner states that there is not one intelligence but multiple types, and that we all possess similar abilities, though some of us are more skilled in some things than in others.

Areteia began this initiative in the 2010-2011 academic year, and with time it has become one of the pillars of the school’s educational project. On the one hand, the Excellent Programmes enable the pupils to learn about a subject, and on the other hand, they enable the development of each pupil’s potential to the maximum, so that through their strengths they reach excellence. Each student is assigned to a Workshop related to the type of intelligence in which they stand out.

Luis Garcia, headmaster of Areteia, helps us to better understand this. “For more than 20 years we’ve been holding events and organising one-time activities to motivate the students to show the best of themselves, and after the successes achieved, we believed it necessary to go one step further and organise these activities within the curriculum and the school day, with the objective of going further in this wonderful task of maximising the best in each pupil. For this reason, since 2011 we have incorporated the Excellent Workshops in our Educational Project and begun to work on them”.

Art techniques workshops

“Outside the curriculum, but at the same time perfectly linked with the pedagogical objectives, on Friday afternoons within school hours we break out of the school structure and work on the workshops. We put the Primary pupils together, and the ESO, Baccalaureate, and Vocational Training pupils together, who are then in turn divided up according to the workshop they’ve been assigned”, the headmaster says.

The choice of Excellent Workshop is agreed on between the tutor, the pupil, and the family, and is supervised by the school’s Psychopedagogy Department. This decision is made during the first few weeks of the year, in which the tutor of each group presents Gardner’s 8 Multiple Intelligences. An analysis is then made of each pupil’s potential to agree on their participation in the most suitable workshop for them.

ESO Science Experiments Workshop

Luis Garcia adds that “year after year we survey the pupils to draw valuable conclusions about the satisfaction achieved in each workshop and, based on these conclusions, we redesign the offer for the following academic year”.

It is difficult to highlight certain workshops above others, though we can confirm that “the Sports; Self-defence; Science Experiments; Rock; and Singing programmes etc. are the most popular, while the Video; Photography, and Radio and Readers programmes are chosen by fewer pupils, but with a higher level of motivation and potential to progress.”

The Excellent Workshops, based on Multiple Intelligences, help to promote the objectives of the Areteia Educational Project, and form a real Learning Community. “These workshops create particularly motivational moments for the students, and also for the teachers, given that they can share their hobbies, tastes, and skills, etc. with the pupils. It is, ultimately, about favouring an experience of being able to contribute, to be useful, to be competent, to be good, and to build.

In this way, the school becomes greater because it provides its participants with happiness and learning”, Luis Garcia concludes.

ESO Rock Workshop

What do our pupils and teachers say about the Excellent Workshops?

  • The Comics Workshop is a space in which a group of pupils who like drawing get together to work on this hobby in a fun way. To do this, exercises are recommended in which they can develop a feeling for human anatomy, proportion, movement, and narrative, which help to stimulate and mould their creative dimension. David Segovia, Teacher
  • The Comics Workshop is a calm space with nice people where I learn and improve in something I like. Miguel, 1st Baccalaureate B pupil.
  • I like drawing and learning from my teacher, I want to be an artist and I love my classmates. Fiorela, 2nd ESO A pupil.

ESO Comic Workshop

  • For me, being part of the Sport Workshop has been a very productive experience, because I see pupils of different ages interact in one learning context, respect each other in the face of differences in terms of ability, and resolve conflicts which arise, with the older ones mediating, so that there is a healthy atmosphere of co-operation. Iván Cortijo, Teacher.
  • I chose the Sport Workshop because it was the one which stood out most to me. In this workshop, I can play and enjoy doing what I like: moving around and playing. And if I’m with my friends, even better. I feel that I’m part of a team. Also, thanks to the workshop I play sports which I wasn’t very good at, like basketball, badminton, tennis, etc. Juan, 4th ESO B pupil.
  • Friday afternoons are different and fun. It’s a way of becoming closer to the pupils, thanks to their aptitude for and motivation to take part in the activity. The environment is great, and students from different year groups interact, so it’s really enriching. Beatriz Moreno, Teacher.
  • In the Redecorate your World Workshop you can be creative and no one judges you. Paloma, 3rd ESO C pupil.
  • Friday afternoon is fun and there’s a good atmosphere. I do things which we never do. Adriana, 1st ESO B pupil.

ESO pupils in the Video Editing Workshop

Quality of education at NACE Schools

At NACE Schools, we meet the needs of 21st-century pupils so that they grow up happy and are prepared to live successfully in a globalised world. The involvement of our entire educational community and the constant improvement made to our procedures and methodologies enables us to achieve the maximum quality of education, which we refer to as Platinum Standard.

Platinum Standard is a tool which evaluates the level and the quality of education of each school in the NACE group, and helps them to improve. Daniel Jones, Chief Education Officer at NACE Schools, created this system with the aim of helping the schools to evaluate the quality of the teaching they offer, and to find the right strategies to improve in all areas of the educational project.


DaDaniel Jonesniel Jones holds a degree in Spanish and French Philology from the University of Nottingham, and a Master’s in Education from Manchester Metropolitan University. He has worked in the world of education since 1992, in a number of different roles: teacher, head of department, and head of studies, among others. From among his roles, his work as headmaster of a British school which in 2014 was named best British international school of the year worldwide, and as chief inspector of British schools in Spain, stand out. He is currently the Chief Education Officer at NACE Schools.


In order to determine this quality of education, the Platinum Standard is based on five key areas: the capacity for leadership and management; the quality of teaching, learning, and evaluation; the progress of pupils; the development of the values, attitudes, and wellbeing of the pupils, which are fundamental at NACE Schools; and the implementation of our value proposition.

According to Daniel Jones, “a key factor in improving teaching quality is the training of teachers to support them in becoming more effective. To achieve this, this year we have focused on the following strategies”:

  1. That every teacher has high expectations of all their pupils, whatever their abilities.
  2. Applying question techniques which encourage reflection and more profound thinking, ensuring the greater involvement and participation of pupils in the classroom, and encouraging debate in pairs and in groups.
  3. Creating motivating classroom projects with ambitious levels of challenge for different pupils, depending on their ability. A good example is the “EcoHomes” project carried out at Agora Portals International School, in which groups of pupils work collaboratively to design and build their own ecological house, and then give a presentation in English about their project. “The objective is to motivate and challenge”, says Daniel.
  4. Carrying out tasks which measure the individual progress of the pupils in every session, to evaluate what they have learnt and see which aspects they should improve each day.
  5. Creating “360 Feedback” methods between pupils and teachers so that communication flows both ways, and also among the pupils.

According to a number of studies, these strategies have a great impact on pupils’ learning in the classroom. That’s why they are being applied to increase and improve the quality of the education of each NACE school. Daniel Jones states that “the quality of the teacher is what has the greatest impact on the children’s learning”.

Similarly, Daniel points out that “every school should know which educational level it is at in order to know how to improve and what to work towards”. He explains that “NACE Schools is distinguished from other schools in its method of evaluation and support, to respond to the needs of both the pupil and the school. Key evidence of the Platinum Standard process is found in listening to the opinions of the pupils, parents, teachers, and management teams through interviews, surveys, and discussions. The aim is to create a 360º opinion system in which the entire school community participates”.

Finally, the four pillars of the NACE Schools value proposition define how we can achieve excellence in our educational project by building on what happens each day in the classroom”, Daniel adds.


  Fig.1: The NACE Schools Educational Project Value Proposition

Areteia welcomes the new academic year

We’d like to welcome the 2016/2017 school year! Another year on and Areteia opens its doors again, filling the school with life with the arrival of the new academic year. The headmaster of the school, Luis García Carretero, talks to us about what’s new for this new phase, the objective being to continue to grow and advance.

First of all, the headmaster assesses the 2015/2016 academic year, and defines it as a period full of successes:

“This year saw the consolidation of the educational modality Basic Vocational Training, something fundamental in order to attend to the diversity of our pupils. The first year of pupils graduated in Managing Outdoor Sports and Physical Activities, and the school began with the Sciences Baccalaureate, both of which were experiences met with great approval.”

“Many important moments stand out from the last academic year, such as the celebration of Children’s Day, the Christmas festival with the awarding of prizes and diplomas, Peace Day, Arts and Science Week, the end-of-year festival, the graduations, etc. Also worth mentioning is the school’s participation in the NACE events: International Music Week in Barcelona, NACEMUN in Castellón, the Academic Games in Villaviciosa and the Olympic Games in England.”

“Events such as the 1st Former Pupils Meetup, which brought together more than 100 pupils who have left Areteia during the 25 years that we have been in La Moraleja, together with the 4th Educational Innovation Day and the 1st Parents Meeting, were three moments of great open mindedness of the school, of connecting with new realities and accepting new challenges, like the “Areteia Emprende” conference programme, which included some outstanding speakers who showed their reflection and commitment to the pupils in ESO, Baccalaureate and Vocational Training. Lastly, we highlight the award given by NACE Schools in July to our colleague Rosalía Gómez Manzano, from Administration, in the category of “our values”, for being an example of commitment, efficiency and self-improvement for all the members of the educational community.”

After such a positive year, we expect no less from this new academic year we are welcoming. The fundamental objective is to better attend to and understand each pupil to help them grow.

For many it is a utopia, but we learnt a long time ago that utopia is good for moving forwards”, the headmaster assures us. In this sense, classes are divided into smaller groups in 3rd and 6th Primary to work in a more personalised way at both the midway point and end of this important stage.

In order to make the pupils the protagonists in the classroom, the school is developing the School Project, which will was presented in the Arts and Science Week in April: Mission GAIA, save the earth. This is a project which hopes to make Areteia an Eco school which is committed to protecting nature, our planet, and all the values this includes.

From among the most important new features for the 2016/2017 academic year, we emphasise the gradual introduction of new technologies as a way to improve learning. For example, through the platform Infantium via tablets which will be used in the classroom during the school day, as well as the new tablets model for 1st ESO.

Other new features this year come from the introduction of the LOMCE, enabling us to make the last few school years into phases focused on decisions about the future. The presence of a native teacher, to support the work of the teachers in the English Department and continue with the theme of a 100% pass rate in the Trinity exams last year, stands out.

There have also been some changes to our facilities. We believe that a school which is attractive and looked after is the first step in educating pupils to respect the environment and others. The Infant Zone has been refurbished with two grass areas, the pupils’ bathrooms have been improved, and we have planned the improvement of the pupils’ sports and leisure areas.

The new offer of the Excellent Workshops has been well thought out and planned based on the suggestions from families and pupils, and we have opted to expand our services in extracurricular activities, particularly in the field of psychopedagogy. In the second and third terms we will also offer certified training in the field of leisure and free time, which we will open up to schools in the area.

In short, the message is clear. Just as Luis García tells us: “Areteia is an opportunity for improvement, for growth, for evolution, for opportunities. Count on us: teachers, non-teaching staff, co-ordinators, heads of studies, management. We are at your disposal, we’re here for you, to make you better, freer, more responsible, fairer, more supportive, more competent. We are so glad that you’ll be forming part of the Areteia family. A new school year is a challenge, an occasion we cannot let escape, to be happier and to make others happier.”

Luis García Carretero

Headmaster of Areteia School

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