Critical Thinking in Translation/クリティカルシンキング – 批判的思考

Critical Thinking in Translation/クリティカルシンキング – 批判的思考

Principal's Blog
Critical thinking is an interesting word when it appears in translation. It is commonly referred to as one of the key skills needed to prepare children for the 21st century, which seemed like such a long way away, but now happens to be nearly eighteen percent over. For this reason, we are no longer just preparing children for the 21st Century. We are living it and should actually be preparing for the 22nd Century. As part of this preparation for a rapidly changing world, we send our children to school to learn, but learn what? They learn content that is divided roughly into academic disciplines, but as a parent, it is not so much what your child is learning that should interest you, as most of it can be Googled,…
Read More
Three challenges when raising your child/子育てする上での3つの課題

Three challenges when raising your child/子育てする上での3つの課題

Principal's Blog
A new-born child, unfortunately, is not accompanied by an instruction manual. In fact, we are lucky it doesn’t, as who would we trust with the authority to dictate such a deeply personal task as raising a child? Even if we were to find someone that we could trust with the directions, from the time the child is born to the time they leave home, much will have changed with the world and surely the child-rearing manual would be out of date. Can we use what we already know, from our experiences in our own lives to prepare our children for an uncertain future? In the absence of clear directions, we listen to a range of people to try and make the right choices for our children, for our families. I…
Read More
Exploring deeper ideas of culture/目につかない文化

Exploring deeper ideas of culture/目につかない文化

Principal's Blog
Despite our obvious cultural differences, we are more similar than we realize. In order to understand this, students need to learn to search for deep meaning, for aspects of their own identity that may not be readily apparent; aspects that may not be obvious; qualities beyond their awareness. Students need to search beyond the facts of themselves, their surface-level appearances. They need to search deeply for who they are as individuals and what they share with their fellow human beings. A need for such a search has far-reaching implications for how we approach teaching and learning in our schools and is a step toward a more peaceful and sustainable planet.  Culture can be understood as an iceberg, an often-used metaphor, where only a small percentage of what makes up the…
Read More
A Child’s World and Language Learning

A Child’s World and Language Learning

Principal's Blog
Young children develop language in order to make sense of their world through a process of inquiry. In order to support our children to develop their language, we need to support their inquiry, for it is a parallel journey.  You only have to spend a short time with young children to notice the steady stream of ‘why’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘who’, ‘how’ and then yet more ‘why’ questions. Children develop the ability to engage others in their attempts to make sense of the world and, as inquirers, need to participate in socially authentic ways (Lindfors, 1999). We need to take our children’s inquiries seriously, and engage the conversations authentically, investigating their worlds, as they investigate ours.  The Reggio Emilia approach to childhood education stresses that we must actively seek out the…
Read More

Supporting learning at home – routines

Principal's Blog
As we start another school year we consider the relationship between the child, school and home. Oftentimes, the conversation focuses on homework - the nature of the tasks that students are required to do outside of the school day. However, another important element is routine. In the photo above, students take part in a regularly scheduled reading time while at school. Routines help us manage our time. What regular times do you set aside for specific tasks at home? You can negotiate these as a family. A structure to support learning at home will help your child and over time, help them see the value in time-management. It is a strategy that they will learn - setting aside specific regular times to work on important matters. You are training them to manage…
Read More
HIS 2017 Graduation Principal Address

HIS 2017 Graduation Principal Address

Principal's Blog
HIS 2017 Graduation Principal Address Congratulations to you, the Class of 2017. As you come to the end of this important stage of your lives, this part that you may have thought would never end, we hope that you are feeling confident about the challenges that you will face over the coming years. Now that your schooling has ended, you are confronted with the harsh reality that you will now be treated by society, in many ways, as adults. This takes some adjustment. You have to review your own place in the world. After the stress of the final DP exams, when your world may have seemed to shrink into a recurring loop of study, stress and exam, the feeling of freedom and relief that you had expected when the…
Read More
Patterns in conversations and what they can teach us

Patterns in conversations and what they can teach us

Principal's Blog
[caption id="attachment_1194" align="alignnone" width="750"] Going further with your conversations. These two questions are posed to an Early Childhood 3&4 year-old class at HIS.[/caption] Our brains seek patterns. It’s the way we make sense of our world and it is also the way we learn. Conversational patterns are an important part of our world, particularly as they govern the nature of our interactions.  As we learn language initially from our earliest interactions, the ongoing conversations between parents and young children have a strong impact on not only our language development but of our view of the world and our place in it. We know that children of parents who speak to them a lot develop larger vocabularies. This seems like common sense. However, as Bari Walsh from Harvard Graduate School of…
Read More
HIS Teachers – What qualities are important?

HIS Teachers – What qualities are important?

Principal's Blog
The question about what makes a great teacher is an interesting one, particularly as we don't really know the answer. It is also an important one as much research suggests that the individual teacher is the single most important factor related to impacting learning in the classroom (For example, see Hattie, Visible Learning, 2009). As an IB school, experience teaching in an IB program is an advantage of course for teachers joining our school, along with their breadth of experience, however one of the most important qualities that a teacher can bring to HIS is a genuine interest in the student as a person, as an individual. This is also one of the most important qualities our students look for as you can see in the comments in the video above.…
Read More

Life at HIS: How does the IB impact learners?

Principal's Blog
[caption id="attachment_807" align="alignleft" width="300"] Our students - making a difference in the world.[/caption] The question of choice for parents in an educational context is centered on the question of how we want our children to relate to the wider world. I have two children who passed through three of the IB programs and I would like to relate an experience which was my very first exposure to the possibilities inherent in an IB education. I was teaching in Brunei Darussalam at a public secondary school and my daughters attended the International School of Brunei (ISB) which had the IB’s Primary Years Program (PYP). My younger daughter, four-years-old at the time, was in Kindergarten. Time came for a student-led-conference and I attended like the dutiful father I was hoping to be.…
Read More

Life at HIS: Using the language of you’re learning

Principal's Blog
When we come to school, we only have a very limited time to interact in the language of our learning. At HIS, the language of instruction is English, except for our Japanese language classes. At school, we need to use the language of instruction - an important choice for language learners (which is everyone). In our units of inquiry, we are all learning through language. For example, if we are learning about optical art, we use English to develop our understandings of this type of art form, including its specific academic language such as the related vocabulary. English is also used to demonstrate our understanding in assessment tasks. For this reason, we need to use English in the classroom during the learning process. If we don't, academic language proficiency will not…
Read More