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Competencies & Character Traits

What is Learning at Colegio Maya?

Here at Colegio Maya we ask ourselves this very important question every day, “What is most important to learn?”. It drives our decision-making processes and allows us to adapt the learning program to the needs of every individual learner. We believe that learning in schools has a history of being unnecessarily complicated, disconnected from the real world, and not deep enough to inspire the type of learning students really require to tackle this complex world. We believe in providing deep inquiry experiences and a rock-solid foundation in numeracy and literacy for every student. With our approach to learning, we believe students will find success wherever their path may lead.

To achieve deep, meaningful learning we at Colegio Maya set up all of our learning experiences based on 4 D’s and 3C’s.

Learning experiences are guided by our 4 D’s


What is learning and how do we do it?


What’s worth learning and how do the pieces fit?


How do we teach for learning and create learning cultures?


How do we know what we’ve learned and let others know?

We can never be effective in making learning happen until we decide what it actually is, and use a simple, common language to define it. At Colegio Maya we define learning as follows:

Learning is a process that leads to a sustained and demonstrable consolidation or extension of conceptual understanding, competencies, or character:

Conceptual Learning is happening when students are:

  • Connecting new, potentially disruptive, knowledge to prior understanding and to important concepts.
  • Constructing and re­constructing theories of how things work and why things are the way they are.
  • Testing their evolving theories in different contexts to refine them so they have increased explanatory power and to see when, where and how they apply.

Learners understand that…

Competency Learning is happening when students are:

  • Deconstructing and analyzing expert performance and comparing it with their own.
  • Identifying the adjustments they need to make.
  • Practicing a skill in order to refine it and make it increasingly automatic.

Learners are able to…

Character Learning is happening when students are:

  • Considering what particular dispositions and values create a more positive world
  • Acting as a result of these considerations when trying to create a more positive world
  • Reflecting on the effects of these actions.

Learners demonstrate OR Learners valueOR Learners are

We focus on the learning that matters most. Our learner profile looks like this:

At Colegio Maya, we are capacity builders, working with our students to develop them into self-directed learners who consistently demonstrate:

Conceptual thinking: they are experts in working with significant ideas. Specifically, they are able to:

  • Identify issues
  • Frame conceptual questions
  • Gather and analyze information
  • Form hypotheses
  • Test and modify these hypotheses in a range of contexts

Critical Competencies:  they are experts in the application of the key skills necessary for success. They are able to:

  • Self Manage - (direct their own guided inquiry processes, be organized)
  • Collaborate - (collaborate effectively and efficiently in diverse contexts)
  • Communicate - (use the language fluently and precisely for a range of purposes within a range of contexts, reading, writing, speaking, connecting)
  • Think Critically - (research, inquiry, questioning, problem-solving)
  • Be Creative - (innovate, tackle complexity, curiosity, imagination)

Positive Character: they are experts in the business of being human. They consistently demonstrate positive learning dispositions and core personal values: They are:

  •  Principled (Integrity, Honesty, Trust)
  •  Resilient (Perseverance)
  •  Reflective (Self Awareness)
  •  Caring (Empathy, Service)

This page has aim to give a very simple introduction to how we approach learning at Colegio Maya. More detailed information can be found inside our parent, teacher and student portals. We are proud to be members of a global movement aiming to create schools that help students learn deeply and connect to the real world. Please feel free to take a look at the Common Ground Collaborative movement here and ask any further questions you may have.