27. January 2012 09:30
With 2011 a distant memory, and the New Year presenting a range of new opportunities for learning and exploration, we thought we’d take a look at some of the latest developments in education and predictions for the months ahead. And in doing so, one prediction that we were particularly excited to find came courtesy of a recent Forbes article, hailing a rise in outdoor education – something which is very much at the heart of our teaching philosophy at ICS.
With a dedicated outdoor Education centre available to our students, we are incredibly lucky to be able to offer our students a learning experience that isn’t simply restricted to the classroom. And even if these resources aren’t as readily available, we believe that these kinds of outdoor excursions are crucial in enabling students to hone in key skills such as team building, leadership training, management development and sustainability. As the Institute for Outdoor Learning highlights - outdoor learning doesn’t have a clearly defined boundary but it does have key themes, namely, valuing direct experience, real learning and inspiring new interests.
Whether it’s conducting your “coastal erosion” geography lesson on a beach or sending a class of children on a travel and learn excursion to CERN or a local Chinese restaurant, by demonstrating to your students that learning isn’t restricted to the classroom will encourage a set of inquiring and independent minds which will put them in good stead for a life beyond school.
What’s your favourite experience of outdoor education?
24. January 2012 10:30
The dawn of the Chinese New Year celebration for 2012 has arrived and today sees the start of many vibrant ceremonies, carnivals and traditions into early February. A very special aspect of Chinese culture is the food: in terms of family, community and also as part of regional and national identity.
To celebrate and better understand this culture, a group of eight ICS MYP1 pupils who are currently studying Chinese visited “Tian Fu”Sichuan restaurant near Westfield London at the end of last term.
During their visit, students were encouraged to practice the vocabulary they had learned in class to order their food and drinks. They had the opportunity to taste a variety of famous Sichuan dishes and get to know a little more about Chinese food and culture.
Prior to the dinner, all the students learned the basic dialogue in the classroom. When they sat down, they started to order drinks one by one. Everyone was very confident with the language and for those who were unsure of specific words, could use the photos in the menu to indicate their selection:
“I yao zhe ge”(I want this), “wo bu xi huan na ge (I don’t like that).
Everyone was very excited to see the dishes arrive at the table, and shared the food with each other.
All in all, the visit was a huge success. By encouraging students to practice what they have learnt in a real-life setting has really given them the motivation to learn more of the Chinese language and culture.
The trip was organised by the student's Mandarin Teacher, Lui Fang and English Co-Teacher, Amanda Sedlock
20. January 2012 10:00
On the first weekend in December ten eager students and two excited teachers ventured to Geneva to explore the greatest experimental physics research facility in the history of our race. We woke early, blurry eyed and barely conscious and boarded our trusty Easyjet flight to Switzerland. Ferried from airport to accommodation and onward to CERN we arrived surprisingly fresh and energetic, ready for our tour of the largest science centre on Earth.
With our enthusiastic Italian researcher-come-tour guide in tow, we wandered from laboratory to laboratory seeing particle accelerators that shoot protons at near light speed and the computer server that birthed the Internet. The students learnt about the international pursuit of the elusive Higgs particle and confirmation of Einstein’s famous work in theoretical physics.
In the following days we strolled the city seeing the UN, riding boats across the beautiful lake and indulging in all of the decadent chocolate treats this wonderful European city had to offer.
Upon our return we all agreed the journey was an outstanding success and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I will be planning this trip again in the coming school year at ICS.
Ryan Bishop, Science Teacher, ICS
19. January 2012 12:39
For the final week of the autumn term, ICS had its first official Language Week. In keeping with the principles of the IB, ICS has a language policy which promotes the maintenance of students’ mother tongue, which allows students’ to keep their cultural identity. Furthermore, intercultural understanding is a key component of the ICS philosophy.
As part of this initiative, on Monday 12th December students were given language lessons in a range of different languages, including Icelandic, Arabic, Chinese and Italian. These lessons were led by ICS students and the challenge was to teach students who were absolute beginners.
All of the language lessons were supervised by teachers, who were very impressed by the way our student teachers rose to the challenge.
Language Week continued on Wednesday 14th with a celebration of the work of William Shakespeare. All MYP students study a Shakespearian text, this year MYP 2 students have studied The Tempest and MYP 4 students have studied The Merchant of Venice. Students worked in groups to adapt a scene from a Shakespearian play using modern language and settings. This approach allowed students to recognise the timelessness of Shakespeare’s themes and characters. The students performed their adaptations at the end of the day and teachers were impressed by their imaginative response to literature.
All in all, the week was a huge success and it was great to see how involved our students got in all the activities.
Joanna Cooper, IB Diploma Co-Ordinator, ICS