Roman Rüdiger

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2014
buddY e.V. Forum neue Lernkultur


This profile was prepared when Roman Rüdiger was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2014.
The New Idea
Many outstanding schools have always understood that pure teacher-oriented learning cannot tap the full potential of children. They focus instead on peer education and resource orientation, i.e. the belief that schools cannot teach competencies but that schools, turning teachers into coaches, have to give children space to develop them on their own and teach them to each other. However, the actual change of school cultures towards peer-based learning has been limited to either singular institutions with dedicated principals or special chains of schools like Montessori Schools. Roman Rüdiger changes this in three ways.

Through the buddY initiative, he has developed a mechanism that allows each and every school to turn into such a peer-based institution. These schools start from what students know (and not what they don’t), and they allow each student to explore and develop, beyond cognitive skills, the essential emotional and social changemaking skills of teamwork, leadership and creativity. Through a very clever combination of partnerships and alliances, smart marketing that conveys excellence and an inclusive approach that demands high commitment and investments from schools, Roman Rüdiger has managed to reach tremendous scale. To date, Roman Rüdiger has reached 1,400 schools, over 15,000 teachers and over 500,000 children.

In addition, Roman has understood that successful education is determined not primarily in school but at home. After having identified key stumbling blocks to student success both within and outside of the school, he is broadening the focus of buddY to support parents to become teachers/coaches, too.

Roman’s third level of innovation is to use his peer-based approach to engage and educate the wider ecosystem around education and parenting, from reforming teacher education to consulting future employers.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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