I recently attended the 2018 IB Global Conference in Singapore. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the International Baccalaureate Organisation. What started as an innovative experiment in 1968 has now evolved into an accepted and dependable world standard of teaching, learning and assessment. With the HSC, we are indeed fortunate to have two high quality senior curriculum offerings sitting alongside each other with students in both programs at AISHK achieving great success and acquiring attributes that prepare them well for future study, employment and, indeed, life itself.
The presenters at the IB Global conference were many and varied. There were inspirational keynote speakers such as Dr Pak Tee Ng, Dean of Leadership and Learning at the National Institute of Education, Singapore. Dr Ng spoke passionately about the changes currently taking place in education globally. He urged school leaders in the audience charged with the important work of facilitating change to consider ‘mindful change, not reckless experimentation’. In particular, Dr Ng’s contention that the most effective change in any organisation emerges from ‘a position of strength rather than a position of desperation’ had special resonance for me as we aim to impart a similar message to our students to adopt a strength-based mindset to their own learning journeys.
A common theme running through the conference was the notion of student ‘agency’. A number of presenters from within the Asia Pacific region shared their experiences of how their schools are re-aligning their purpose and empowering their students to own and engineer their own learning and share this learning in new and innovative ways. Other presenters spoke of their collaborative and flexible learning environments where re-designed classroom spaces have fostered greater student agency, collaboration and enhanced learning. Our own AISHK context mirrors many of the approaches used in these schools where curriculum planning, professional learning, teaching and student assessment are all accomplished collaboratively.
A prime example of such collaborative learning occurred earlier this week with our Year 11 IB students working on the Group 4 Science Project. This is a compulsory inter-disciplinary, collaborative investigation completed by all IB Diploma students. The project fosters significant scientific investigation and inquiry, research and application of scientific skills. The group 4 project allows students to appreciate the environmental, social and ethical implications of science and technology and allows them to understand the limitations of scientific study. The emphasis is on the processes involved in, rather than the products of, such an activity. The students will be presenting their findings from their projects in the early part of Term 2 and we look forward to our Science department sharing a snapshot of these findings in Dhanara.
Chris McCorkell | Dean of Studies, Secondary