The 2015 Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prize was awarded to Gesamtschule Unterstrass (Unterstrass Comprehensive School) in Zurich, Switzerland.
Zurich-based Gesamtschule Unterstrass (a private comprehensive school) with its founder and principal Dieter Rüttimann receives the 2015 Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prize. Photo: Donat Bräm
For over 34 years, Gesamtschule Unterstrass (Unterstrass Comprehensive School), a private school in Zurich, has dedicated itself to collaborative learning, drawing on elements of neuropsychology and cognitive psychology. This approach stresses ongoing training for teachers and places particular emphasis on reciprocal teaching, with older students teaching younger children. Gesamtschule Unterstrass has been chosen to receive the Best Practice Prize in recognition of its “Self-Management and Socially Responsible Action” project, which focuses on the sensitive period of adolescence.
Socially responsible behavior as part of the curriculum
This innovative project is adding interdisciplinary social skills to the school’s curriculum. As this idea is put into practice in the classroom, the emphasis is on various types of mixed-aged learning, with the focus on socially responsible behavior and self-management. When they teach younger children, adolescents need to manage themselves subordinating their own impulses and responding to the immediate needs of younger pupils. They learn to regulate their emotions and concentrate on achieving their goals. Leading a mixed-age group of 4- to 12-year-old children, for example, requires relationship skills such as the ability to solve conflicts (conflict management) and to listen and interpret (communication strategies). Taking on such responsibilities allows young people to grow.
“Adolescents, and especially those with social deficits or problems with self-management, who teach and mentor younger children discover and develop executive and empathic skills”, says Dieter Rüttimann, principal of Unterstrass Comprehensive School.
2016 Best Practice Prize
The 2016 Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prize is awarded to ICS-SP in Nairobi, Kenya for their unique approach combining agribusiness with skilful parenting in East Africa aimed at improving early childhood development, parenting and agricultural practices in rural areas.
2014 Best Practice Prize
The Serenity Harm Reduction Programme Zambia was awarded the 2014 Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prize for its evidence-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to address severe needs of trauma affected children and their families in Zambia. More
2013 Best Practice Prize
The Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prize 2013 went to Germany’s ELTERN-AG organization. For nearly 10 years, the ELTERN-AG has been offering support to families in difficult circumstances. It began in 2004 as a university-based project in Magdeburg, initiated by Meinrad Armbruster, professor of educational psychology and child and youth therapist, and his students. Today it is a nationwide intervention program that has achieved great success and earned positive evaluations – a course for parents based on the principles of self-help. More
2012 Best Practice Prize
The Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prize 2012went to the Off Road Kids Foundation in Germany. For nearly 20 years, the Off Road Kids Foundation has been helping children, young people and young adults in Germany who find themselves living on the streets. More
2011 Best Practice Prize
During her career as a teacher, Christiane Daepp realized that children are good listeners and problem-solvers. On this basis, Daepp founded the “Ideenbüro” program (“ideas office”) in 2002, in which schoolchildren help their fellow pupils to solve problems. More
2010 Best Practice Prize
Opstapje e.V. and a:primo have taken an innovative support model for children and families and successfully adapted it to local conditions in Germany and Switzerland.
Families who are economically and socially disadvantaged often do not have the abilities or the resources to give their children the necessary prerequisites for a participation in the education system. More
2009 Best Practice Prize
Father Johann Casutt († 2012) successfully adapted the Swiss model of vocational training for young people to suit the circumstances of Indonesia. For this he was awarded the Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prize 2009. Even while training to become a Jesuit priest, Johann Casutt from Horgen in Switzerland wanted to become a missionary. More