Learning in the Real World

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Learning in the Real World, a set on Flickr.

Taking the Grade 4 students for a walk around the neighbourhood, as always, turned out to be a remarkably simple yet incredibly powerful experience for us all.

With enough adults to be able to split the class into small groups of three and four, it was possible to go in different directions and focus on different aspects of life as we walked around. Students need to learn the “art of looking” and really benefit from being given a specific lens to look through when doing something like this. My group had selected the lens of “globalization” as their focus. Naturally, they found it hard to “see” globalization and that is where the role of the adult/teacher becomes so important. As we walked, I was able to help them see the evidence of globalization, such as Coca Cola signs and bottles, the rubbish caused by the packaging of multinational companies, Japanese cars and motorbikes, international construction companies and so on.

By the end of the walk, because the students had the chance to actually look for, and see, the evidence of globalization, their understanding of such a complex concept was much more advanced than it would have been if they were simply researching it on Google!

It is so important to give our students these experiences. The learning experiences they have just from something so simple are powerful on many different levels, as long as we, as their teachers, are aware of how multi-faceted learning actually is. I will list here just a few aspects of the learning I saw:

  • Increased conceptual understanding of globalization
  • Increased awareness of where they live
  • Increased ability to look for details and notice things
  • Increased curiosity about life
  • Increased ability to make connections to prior knowledge
  • Increased confidence about being out on the streets
  • Increased willingness and ability to speak to people
  • Increased understanding of how to ask questions
  • Increased understanding of how to take a good photo
  • Increased understanding of the etiquette of photographing people
  • Increased understanding of how to take notes
  • Increased resilience when walking in the heat

So, are you taking your students out and about soon?


Parent Workshops: The IB Learner Profile

“Live it, don’t laminate it!”

All too often, in IB schools, the Learner Profile exists in the form of displays and catchphrases, but doesn’t exist as a way of life, as a code of conduct or as an expectation for all stakeholders.

We’re not going to let that happen at ISHCMC!

Last week, we ran a session on the Learner Profile for parents. This is part of our ongoing process to breathe life into the Learner Profile by taking a good look at what it “looks like” around the school.

Here are some more photos of the work done by parents during the session:


Getting out of the room!

I found students from Ms. Rupal Joshi’s class working on their spelling in different locations around the school. Not too far from their classroom, but far enough for it to feel like a change!

“I trust them” said Rupal.

Many of us forget what a profound effect changing things up a bit can have on students. To us, as adults, it may not seem like a big deal. But, to students, getting out of the classroom and being given the chance to work in different spots around the school can feel like a very big deal. Give it  a try!

Grade 1 Trip to Snap Cafe

Grade 1 went to Snap Cafe as part of the culmination of their unit of inquiry. The focus of the unit was on the relationships between daily choices and our well-being. The students were given choices of food, drinks and play options. Teachers observed them to see if the unit had affected the choices they make.

Click here for all the photos.