The importance of mother tongue language in education
A consequence of the ever-increasing popularity of international schools is the growth in the number of children learning in a language other than their first. This can open opportunities for the individual but, as Carolyn Savage explains, continuing to develop the mother tongue is vital to enhance learning.
Dawn of the Makerspace era?
Despite widespread concerns over declining library usage, the impact of instant access technology and budgetary constraints, Uma Shankar Singh believes libraries are of vital importance and are set to remain exciting and innovative areas in school.
Teaching analytical thinking and writing for Linear A Level and IB Diploma
Click for 2017 – 2018 training:
This two day course, run in association with Infinite Learning, Dubai examines a consistent and repeating methodology for developing Year 12 & 13 students as independent learners, capable of writing, speaking and thinking under pressure, ready to leave school successfully.
Using Outdoor Ed techniques in the classroom
David Gregory is a specialist Outdoor Education instructor who has also worked in schools and as a teacher and form tutor. Here he suggests a powerful technique used on outdoor courses and trips could be applied in class to really good effect.
Three steps to wellbeing in school
Trinity All-Through School in London has been planning and implementing a three-step strategy to address the needs of student wellbeing. As Rob Thomas, the school’s Executive Head Teacher, argues, this work is a timely response to the mental health needs of young people.
Cornish to Kiwi
Roz O’Shea had already taken the plunge to “go international” when she left the UK to teach in SE Asia. Moving on she found what she considers to be her true calling – teaching Health Education based on a completely different set of cultural ideas in New Zealand.
Philosophically speaking: P4C
Philosophy for Children – P4C – is attracting the attention of an increasing number of international schools around the world. One organisation supporting the programme is the British based charity, SAPERE (Society for the Advancement of Philosophical Enquiry and Reflection in Education). ITM recently spoke to SAPERE CEO, Bob House, about their latest international initiative.
6 top tips to prepare your students
The first set of linear A levels have come and gone in the summer of 2017. There are challenges, but the new regime is a great leveller and if students are prepared well, they will have every chance to shine. Andy Homden offers six tips for successful teaching of linear courses.
“Making them ALL smile and sweat; Why? What? How?”
April 13-16, 2016 and one hundred and twenty PE teachers assembled at Surrey Sport Park in Guildford, England to attend the annual ECIS PE conference. This conference has been at the heart of professional development for international Physical Education teachers for the past 28 years. It started in 1988 in Birmingham, England at the main ECIS three-day conference.
Hemingway described writing as having to “ sit down at a typewriter and bleed,” and for many pupils writing is perceived as a painful exercise. Dave Smith has stumbled into a role that finds him dispelling this perception and making writing ‘cool’ and accessible.
Sam Howey-Nunn, has been inspired by two remarkable women, the 19th Century computer pioneer, Ada Lovelace and the actor, Zoe Philpott. Sam and Zoe are now collaborating in the production of a a new touring show: “Ada, Ada, Ada”. ITM caught up with Sam to find out more about Ada Lovelace, and how her life is being portrayed in this new performance.
All too often we hear employers complaining that schools do not sufficiently prepare students for the careers they wish to pursue, nor for the workplace. Patric Elder looks at the new International Baccalaureate career-related programme, which is designed to combine the rigour of the IB with the demands of the workplace.
Inspiring a love of learning in students is a challenge all teachers face and often relish. Vicky Hill describes an unconventional and innovative approach to developing a passion for learning at Island School, Hong Kong, which has proved effective and very enjoyable for all involved.
Teaching for deep understanding in secondary schools
Jennifer Wathall, Head of Mathematics at Island School, Hong Kong suggests in a new book that the key to winning students to the subject lies in the explicit development of their conceptual mathematical understanding.
Building a body of knowledge
The idea of building a memorised body of knowledge has become unfashionable. If we are living in the Knowledge Economy, the knowledge is at our fingertips and accessed on-line. The cloud, it is said, has changed everything: what children are learning at school now will be outdated by the time they leave university, so why bother? Progressive thinkers would regard the learning of more factual knowledge as less important than the development of transferable skills, creativity and critical thinking.
Learning independently, linear assessment and language
Why is the ability to learn independently so important? Andy Homden suggests that unless students learn to think for themselves, take the initiative and display the kind of self–discipline that gets things done, they will neither fulfill their potential nor be ready for the expectations of higher education and the world of employment. But – they have to be shown how.
The importance of knowing how
Students become independent learners when they know how to do things, but the ability to master increasingly complex tasks at secondary level, takes both time and practice under the right kind of supervision. Planning and then writing an informed and relevant academic answer using properly marshalled evidence in the form of an essay is such a task.
Flipping the class with Edmodo
Independent learning, virtual learning, differentiation and many other terms are sometimes used in discussions about how we best cater for the needs of students without considering how we make things work practically. Raheela Shaikh provides a helpful explanation of how she has developed her “Flipped classroom” style to make it work in practice.
Predictive testing in British International Schools is an important mechanism used to inform them about the expected progress of individual students and groups. But is this measurement of added value robust and accurate? A comparison of raw results between different departments can be misleading. Eddie Rowe raises some questions about the use of objective testing to make comparisons between departments in the same school and the validity of such testing to measure a school’s ability to “add value”.
Reflecting on a British style international education in the 70s and 80s, human rights and criminal lawyer Sasha Haldane identifies a number of different factors at school that prepared her for the legal profession: the inspiration of a charismatic principal, the enthusiasm generated in the school’s debating club and the application of critical thinking developed by the study of a “different” kind of history course. She hopes her own children will have similar opportunities at school in the 21st Century.
Online learning, e-learning, virtual education and computer based instruction are just some of the terms used to describe the delivery of part or all of a course using a computer. Not surprisingly, the exponential growth of online learning is a source of lively debate and, it has been suggested, explains, in part, the increase in home schooling or home education in many countries across the globe*. Charlotte Seewald, Assistant Director at the University of Nebraska High School, identifies some of the key characteristics of the successful online learner.
The experience of direct learning
Question: How do four year olds learn?
Answer: In any way they can!
Everything at that age is new. All learning experiences are direct – audible, tangible, visible. Children learn by tasting and smelling. The engagement with the immediate environment is direct, and learning is by total immersion. Andy Homden argues that this kind of Direct Learning should play a much bigger role as children progress through primary into secondary.
After two stints teaching Biology in Indonesia and Singapore, Jon Avon makes a strong case for the value of fieldwork. With interest in environmental studies dwindling in Grades 11 & 12 (Years 12 & 13) he thinks that it has never been more important to get students out of the classroom and into the field. In his view nothing motivates students to take an interest in ecology more than a well-conducted field trip. The preparation and responsibilities can be daunting, but the return on the hard work is well worth the effort. Here he offers advice for getting on the road in the right kind of way.
Meet some inspirational scientists on line
If you want to encourage your students to take up science at a higher level, BBC Radio 4’s Life Scientific might just provide the inspiration. Presented by Professor Jim Al-Khalili, it is a rich resource for teachers and students of science in Grades 10, 11 and 12 (UK Years 11, 12 & 13). Teachers of ToK (Theory of Knowledge) will also find the series extremely useful. Professor Al-Khalili interviews some of the world’s leading scientists. How did they choose their branch of science? Did it choose them? What influenced them at school? Did family members encourage them? What difficulties did they overcome?