Phenomenon-based learning is a novel educational method which presents a real-life scenario, contemporary issue or a natural spectacle as the starting point for learning. Students and teachers are compelled to cross boundaries between various subjects in order to delve deeper while analysing and presenting a problem. Such a requirement provides a foundation for a more well-rounded education as it encourages merging humanitarian, artistic, and STEM disciplines to attain results. The primary principles and the driving force behind this method – curiosity and never-ending inquisition – give (back) the independence of learning to young students. Thus, the focus is placed on autonomy, community-building and the use of modern technology.
The method first and foremost commences with a broad overview of a larger phenomenon, such as the existence of the European Union. Students are introduced with various aspects of this institution: its history, economic implications, cultural significance, regulatory framework, etc. However, from this point onwards, students begin to lead the discussion. They are in charge of raising questions that are of interest to them, making personal observations, and steering the discourse towards a more nuanced subtopic or a problem that they deem needs solving. For instance, students can choose to work on the migration policies or examine the trade deal with the UK. The holistic approach of this method not only teaches children how to incorporate and evaluate differing perspectives and angles, how to decipher and assess the validity of information but also embraces the value of team-building and social skills. Phenomenon-based learning contextualises the existing school curriculum and brings relevance to the theory being studied. Students are expected to prepare one or two projects a year (depending on their grade), which they have to present and provide their conclusions or solutions at the end of the term. Correspondingly, the role of the teacher shifts as well: the teacher is no more provider of knowledge but rather a counsellor on how to obtain the information independently.