No classes, no professors: at 42, the students are the ones in charge of their success and that of their classmates, and is centered around a curriculum which is 100% practical and project based. In order to progress on the projects that are offered to them, they must rely on the strength of the group, giving and receiving information, alternating between training and learning. This learning method, peer-to-peer, removes the subordinate relationship of students. Each student is responsible for a part of the project’s success within the group.
Collaborative work is the basis for peer-learning. Confrontations are necessary in order to overcome project difficulties, be they individual or collective. Things that are obvious to some students are confronted with the doubts of others. Is this the best way to answer the problem before us, can we take a different route, how can we implement a solution in a more elegant way? These are the types of questions that students at 42 ask themselves on a daily basis when they are working in groups. These questions allow them to move forward and sharpen their skills, not by reproducing or learning the professors’ example by heart, but by searching, experimenting and defending their ideas. By entering 42, there is no more waiting for knowledge to be taught by someone who already knows it. They must be ready to go find it for themselves, to seek out their classmates in order to understand something before putting it into place and explaining how it works to others.
The learning process at 42 does not stop once a project has been turned in: it continues during its correction. The students correct amongst themselves the projects which their classmates have produced. No correction given at 42 is typical, no model which students must reproduce and learn by heart. In order to grade a project, the correctors base their decisions on the original instructions for the assignment and the formidable grading scale which goes with it. In the most extreme of cases, it is asked that they stop the correction upon detecting the first careless mistake. However, above all it allows them to identify errors and missing features. Rather than fearing a grading penalty, the open dialogue with the corrector allows the corrected to receive essential advice in order to progress. Those being corrected need to learn to defend their point of view and the solutions that they put in place. The correctors need to respond impartially and take in and understand the project that is presented to them in a short amount of time. The student’s final grade reflects the average of all the corrections in order to standardize the results.
42 exists today thanks to a strong concept: peer-pedagogy. The professor in a classic school system is replaced by a student community at the center of their education. It is thus only natural that in a structure like our own, that the students that want to can submit projects to their fellow classmates, that they themselves have created. It does not matter if this idea for a project is the result of knowledge that the student has already acquired, or that the student has chosen to to take interest in a subject that is new to him or her altogether. The community has access to an ensemble of projects that are increasingly large and grow in their wealth. The number and diversity of profiles has always been one of 42’s strengths. 42 is able to strengthen its ability to train students, by the students, by allowing everyone to leave a mark in the university’s history, be it through a technology fetish or an attractive novelty.