⏳ 6.03.2024

What happens when education becomes holistic?

Maxime Siffert, former student of 42 Berlin, reflects on his experiences within our peer-learning methodology.

A new era for education seems to have dawned at 42 Berlin, where traditional notions of learning are being challenged and redefined. The peer-to-peer methodology says  goodbye to conventional classrooms, structured schedules, and mundane homework assignments. Here, you embark on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment, with a unique twist.

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Learning at 42 goes beyond acquiring knowledge; it’s about mastering the art of learning itself. From day one, you’re entrusted with the autonomy to create your own learning path. Whether it’s deciphering complex coding challenges or delving into new concepts, the emphasis is not on sheer memorization but on understanding the underlying principles. 42 doesn’t put weight on  memorising formulas; instead, the focus is on grasping the ‘why’ behind every ‘how.’


At the heart of 42’s approach is a problem-solving mindset deeply ingrained in its educational philosophy. Here, challenges are not viewed as obstacles, but rather as invaluable opportunities for personal and professional growth. Nowhere is this ethos more evident than in the renowned Piscine, a rigorous month-long selection test  that serves as a crucible for aspiring students.


During the gruelling four weeks of the Piscine, participants are immersed in a high-pressure environment where resilience and resourcefulness are put to the test. They are tasked with tackling a series of increasingly complex coding challenges, often encountering setbacks and obstacles along the way. However, far from being discouraged by failure, participants are actively encouraged to embrace it as a natural part of the learning process. Each setback becomes a valuable learning experience, providing insights into areas for improvement and opportunities for skill development. Through trial and error, participants learn to adapt their approach, refine their strategies, and overcome obstacles with renewed determination. By embracing failure as a stepping stone to success, participants emerge from the Piscine not only with enhanced technical skills but also with a newfound sense of resilience and self-confidence.


The Piscine embodies the transformative power of embracing challenges and learning from failure. It instils in participants a growth mindset, where setbacks are not viewed as failures, but as valuable opportunities for growth and development. This mindset is not only essential for success at 42 but also for navigating the complexities of the ever-evolving tech industry beyond the confines of the school .


Central to this transformative educational experience is the supportive community of peers. While the journey may be solitary in terms of personal growth, you’re never alone in your quest for knowledge. Your fellow students are not competitors but collaborators, united in the pursuit of understanding and mastery.


What sets 42 Berlin apart is its focus on holistic learning. Beyond technical proficiency, students are equipped with essential life skills that prepare them for real-world challenges. Time management, resilience, and effective communication are just as vital as coding. The curriculum is designed to foster creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration – qualities that are indispensable in today’s rapidly evolving tech landscape.


But perhaps the most revolutionary aspect of 42 Berlin is its democratisation of education. The program is open to all, regardless of academic background or financial means. There are no tuition fees, no age limits, and no formal prerequisites. Instead, admission is based solely on merit and potential. This inclusive approach not only democratises access to education but also fosters a diverse and vibrant learning community.


As the student coach at 42 Berlin, I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power of this innovative educational model. I’ve seen students from diverse backgrounds thrive in an environment that celebrates creativity, curiosity, and collaboration. I’ve watched as individuals with little to no prior coding experience blossom into confident, skilled programmers. And I’ve had the privilege of guiding and supporting them on their journey of self-discovery and growth.


42 Berlin represents a new paradigm in education – one that empowers individuals to take control of their learning journey, embrace failure as a catalyst for growth, and unlock their full potential. It’s a place where passion, perseverance, and purpose converge to create a vibrant community of lifelong learners. It is a testament to the transformative power of education when approached with innovation, inclusivity, and a relentless commitment to excellence.


Maxime Siffert is the educational assistant at 42 Berlin. Formerly a student and having participated in a Piscine himself, he uses his experience to help students through the 42 methodology. Maxime is motivated to help shift educational paradigms, having felt the fallbacks of the conventional education system.

Maxime works at 42 with the mission of empowering students to excel, focusing on supporting them with time management, stress reduction and productivity to help them navigate the autonomous educational journey 42 Berlin provides.

Find Maxime on LinkedIn here

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