Neuroscience and Emotional Intelligence; the scientific basis and the engine of change
The creation in 1999 of the San Patricio Foundation represented not only its official entry into the world of social responsibility, but also its combination with educational innovation. It was especially since the school’s 50th anniversary in 2008 that the school’s permanent commitment to research ways of improving education and learning found in the foundation the perfect space to develop.
The rapid changes in knowledge society and the scientific advances on brain function mean that San Patricio has chosen to base its approach and application of educational innovation on the scientific knowledge offered by neuroscience on the learning process, and the importance of people’s emotions for the acquisition of knowledge and skills. Both issues are focused on the application of methodological improvements that directly affect a more meaningful learning of students.
Thus, multilingualism and emotional intelligence projects (i3e) emerge as the basis for a methodological change focused on improving learning, and the project to implement ICTs as an instrument or tool to contribute to it. The artistic project and the development of many other programmes initiated earlier emerged immediately afterwards, focused on improving specific skills of students. Especially those which the Spanish curriculum does not give sufficient importance to, such as oral expression in public, debate, or the preparation and presentation of research works.
From the 2012-2013 academic year, the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) Programme was implemented in the El Soto Secondary and Baccalaureate Centre. The alignment of the IB model with the philosophy and methodological renewal of San Patricio, as well as the strategy to increase the internationalisation of education offered to its students, made this model a perfect fit. The academic and personal success achieved by all students of the first IB year is evidence that this was the correct decision to make.
These were years of much work but also of many joys, among which must be pointed out the granting of the “2013 Initiatives that Educate Award”, by the MEP (Model European Parliament) to the San Patricio Foundation’s debate programme, awarded by the ATRESMEDIA Foundation in the category “Values and Teamwork”.
We should not forget to mention the creation and organisation of the Educational Innovation Congress ENAP (Teaching to Learn) since 2012, held annually in the Tagus de Toledo school (this school was soon after incorporated into the San Patricio Institution). The ranking of this event and its external recognition reaffirmed the Institution status as educational leader at a national level.