The BHS Method: A Transformative Approach to Education

In the 21st century, the traditional educational paradigm is increasingly recognized as insufficient for preparing students for a rapidly changing world. The BHS Method™ offers a revolutionary alternative, focusing on holistic development—academic, social, and psychological. This article explores the BHS Method™, its origins, principles, and profound impact on students, providing a comprehensive overview of how it redefines the educational experience.

What is the BHS Method™?

The BHS Method™ is an innovative educational philosophy designed to help teenagers excel academically, socially, and psychologically. Unlike traditional methods that often treat students as passive recipients of knowledge, the BHS Method™ views students as whole individuals. It prides itself on creating a dynamic learning environment where every student feels part of a family. This inclusive approach fosters meaningful connections across the entire school campus, breaking down barriers of grade levels, genders, and social cliques.

The Core Philosophy

At its heart, the BHS Method™ is built on helping students grow in all aspects of their lives. This is achieved through a unique blend of academic rigor, social integration, emotional intelligence, mental health support, and an open community environment. These five pillars ensure that students are not only prepared for academic success but are also equipped with the skills and confidence to navigate life’s challenges.

Origins of the BHS Method™

The BHS Method™ was conceived by Akida Mashaka, an American entrepreneur from Los Angeles, California. Akida’s vision was shaped by his personal experiences with the United States and Barcelona education systems. Frustrated by the outdated and rigid methods he encountered, both as a student and as a parent, Akida was determined to create a new paradigm. His educational background is impressive, with a degree from Harvard Law School and a top-ranking position in psychology from Morehouse College. This unique blend of legal expertise and psychological insight provided the foundation for his revolutionary educational model.

Amanda Slefo, an award-winning teacher from Chicago, played a crucial role in transforming Akida’s vision into reality. Her experience at Evanston Township
High School equipped her with the skills and insight needed to develop the BHS Method™ into a practical and effective educational approach. Amanda’s leadership and dedication have been instrumental in guiding both students and staff through this transformative journey. As the life force behind the BHS Method™, she ensures that the principles and values of the method are consistently applied.

The Five Pillars of the BHS Method™

  1. Academic Confidence
    The BHS Method™ emphasizes academic confidence by providing a supportive and personalized learning environment. Small class sizes allow teachers to give individual attention to each student, ensuring they feel seen and heard. This approach encourages students to develop their own voices and express their opinions confidently.
    Critical thinking is at the core of the BHS Method™, with students encouraged to question their assumptions and consider different perspectives. The curriculum is flexible and adaptable, designed to evolve with the changing world. This prepares students to handle diverse challenges and create their own solutions, rather than relying on pre-determined answers.
    Students have access to a learning platform where they can interact with class content before and after lessons. This promotes independence and allows them to deepen their knowledge at their own pace. By empowering students in their learning journey, the BHS Method™ helps them develop the skills and confidence needed for academic success.
  2. Social Integration
    The BHS Method™ fosters social integration by creating a community where students feel connected and valued. The open-plan design of the school encourages interaction across different grade levels, genders, and social groups. This breaks down traditional barriers and promotes a sense of belonging.
    Language integration is a key aspect of social integration at BHS. Since English is the main language spoken at the school, English lessons are provided for international students. This helps them integrate into the school community and build meaningful connections with their peers.
    After-school clubs play a significant role in fostering social integration. Clubs such as the board game club, volleyball club, music production club, and debate club provide opportunities for students to connect with others who share their interests. These activities help students build deeper connections and develop a sense of community.
  3. Emotional Intelligence
    Emotional intelligence is a crucial component of the BHS Method™. The school environment is designed to nurture compassion and empathy, with teachers modeling these behaviors. This creates a supportive and caring atmosphere where students feel confident to ask for help and collaborate with their peers.
    The BHS Method™ teaches students important life skills such as conflict resolution, communication strategies, and emotional regulation. These skills are integrated into the curriculum and reinforced through daily interactions. By fostering emotional intelligence, the BHS Method™ helps students develop strong interpersonal skills and build healthy relationships.
  4. Mental Health Support
    Recognizing the importance of mental health, the BHS Method™ provides comprehensive support for students. The school has a qualified counselor on staff who is integrated into the community. This approach ensures that students feel comfortable seeking help and support when needed.
    In addition to counseling services, the BHS Method™ offers a health elective where students learn strategies for managing stress and balancing their lives. This class empowers students to recognize and address their emotions, promoting overall well-being.
    The supportive atmosphere at BHS creates a sense of belonging and purpose for students. This nurturing environment helps them develop resilience and confidence, preparing them to face life’s challenges.
  5. Open Community
    The BHS Method™ stands out for its open and inclusive community environment. The school is designed to feel like a home, with the main body resembling a large, open living room. This creates a safe and welcoming space where students can learn collectively and in a community.
    Classrooms are designed as individual rooms with their own personality, surrounding the central living room. This layout fosters a sense of belonging and allows for both group learning and individual focus.
    The open community approach encourages the exchange of ideas across cultures and ages, enriching the learning experience. Students are constantly challenged and supported on their educational journey, creating a harmonious and dynamic environment.

The BHS Spark™

Central to the success of the BHS Method™ is the concept of the BHS Spark™. This refers to the quality and culture fit required of teachers and administrators. Individuals who embody the BHS Spark™ are passionate, compassionate, and committed to the holistic development of students.

Instead of simply delivering information, teachers at BHS guide students to explore the possibilities around them. They encourage critical thinking by asking questions and challenging students to consider different viewpoints. This approach fosters curiosity and a love of learning, motivating students to engage deeply with the material.

Assignments at BHS are often adapted to align with students’ interests. For example, a student interested in video games might create a game character for an assignment. This personalized approach makes learning more relevant and engaging for students.

The flexible and evolving curriculum at BHS acknowledges the constant changes in the world. By fostering adaptability and critical thinking, the BHS Method™ prepares students to navigate their future journeys confidently.

How Do BHS Method™ Students Learn?

Hybrid Model

The BHS Method™ utilizes a hybrid model of learning, combining in-person instruction with independent digital learning. This approach makes the curriculum relevant to students’ lives and ensures that knowledge is applicable beyond the classroom.

Teachers at BHS strive to provide context for the material being taught, making abstract topics meaningful and engaging. This contrasts with traditional education, which often presents information without real-world applications, leaving students unmotivated and disengaged.

The collaborative learning environment at BHS encourages practical application and dynamic discussions. Students are given a voice in their education, allowing them to explore their interests and take ownership of their learning journey.

Collaborative and Supportive Environment

Learning at BHS is a collaborative process. Teachers are always available to answer questions and provide guidance, fostering a supportive and inclusive atmosphere. This constant availability helps students feel supported and understood.

The smaller class sizes at BHS allow teachers to get to know each student personally. This individualized attention ensures that every student feels seen and heard, promoting a sense of belonging and confidence.

Critical thinking is a key component of the BHS Method™. Students are encouraged to develop their opinions and share them with the class, fostering a culture of open dialogue and mutual respect.

Why is the BHS Method™ So Successful?

Family-Type Environment

The BHS Method™ is particularly successful due to its family-type environment. A student once compared the school to a home, highlighting the sense of safety and community it provides. The central living room area fosters collective learning and interaction, creating a welcoming and inclusive space.

This open-plan design breaks down traditional barriers and promotes relationships across cultures and ages. The result is a rich blend of ideas and perspectives, enhancing the learning experience for all students.

Individualized Learning Spaces

Surrounding the central living room are classrooms designed as individual rooms, each with its own personality. These spaces facilitate group learning and provide a supportive environment for students to explore their interests and develop their skills.

The unique layout of the school promotes both collaboration and individual focus, ensuring that students receive the support and challenge they need to thrive.

Holistic Development

The BHS Method™ is successful because it focuses on the holistic development of students. By addressing academic, social, and psychological needs, the method prepares students for all aspects of life. This comprehensive approach ensures that students are not only academically successful but also socially and emotionally resilient.

Adaptability and Relevance

The BHS Method™ acknowledges the constantly changing world and adapts the curriculum accordingly. This flexibility ensures that students are prepared for the future, and equipped with the skills and confidence to handle diverse challenges.

By making learning relevant and engaging, the BHS Method™ motivates students to take ownership of their education and pursue their passions.


The BHS Method™ represents a transformative approach to education, focusing on the holistic development of students. By fostering academic confidence, social integration, emotional intelligence, mental health support, and an open community environment, the BHS Method™ prepares students for success in all aspects of life.
Through the vision of Akida Mashaka and the dedication of Amanda Slefo, the BHS Method™ has become a revolutionary educational model. It challenges traditional paradigms and offers a dynamic and inclusive learning environment where students can thrive.
The success of the BHS Method™ lies in its ability to create a family-type environment, foster meaningful connections, and adapt to the changing world. By nurturing curiosity, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence, the BHS Method™ empowers students to navigate their future journeys confidently and resiliently.

Written by

Barcelona High School

Barcelona High School

Founded in 2020, Barcelona High School (BHS) is now ranked as the best international school in Spain. BHS is a non-traditional, dynamic and diverse international American school start-up, perfectly located in the center of Barcelona Spain, in the neighborhood of Gracia, easily accessible by all modes of transportation. BHS has an open and dynamic learning environment where students attend school as one big family across multiple nationalities, so students excel socially and emotionally, not only academically. Academic learning is further supplemented with social and creative activities, international speakers, and career and guidance counseling so students increase their emotional intelligence while simultaneously expanding their opportunities and finding their passions in life. Students graduate when completing the 12th grade and receive an official American High School Diploma which allows them to attend international universities throughout the world.

Find a school