I hope you all had a lovely and refreshing half-term break. I would like to thank those of you who attended our Parent-Teacher Meetings on Wednesday 16 October. A strong and collaborative relationship between home and school is essential to support our students’ progress and wellbeing. Looking at the few weeks ahead of us until the next break, the calendar is extremely busy with a variety of ‘events’, including –but not limited to and depending on the year group - MAP tests, end-of-term assessments, Parent-Teacher Meetings, World Children’s Day, the Tanzania expedition, Qatar National Day celebrations and, next week, our first Juilliard visit of the year with Raphael Peacock bringing his Drama expertise to school.
As mentioned last half-term, we firmly believe in the value of lifelong learning and it is certainly an ambition that we intend to instil in our students and wider school community and foster within our teaching teams. As your children enjoyed the last day of their half-term break yesterday, our entire Secondary School teaching team spent the day exploring what concept-based curriculum means for us at NAISAK. The IMYC, or International Middle Years Curriculum, was introduced last academic year in Years 7, 8 and 9. The intention is now to learn from our experience with the IMYC, and create a concept-based curriculum in all subjects that is specific to our school, will ensure rigour in all subject areas and therefore offer a solid progression to IGCSE. Time was spent as a whole team but also in subject areas. Teachers debated notions of micro- and macro-concepts, conceptual understanding statements and benchmarks. The objectives of a concept-based curriculum are to make sure that students are aware of the underpinning justification of their learning and build the ability to transfer their learning from one situation to another. The journey is only beginning but enthusiasm fuelled by a consensus that such curricular approach will bear the intended fruit was palpable throughout the day. I will keep you updated on the progress towards our final product.
I will finish this week’s article with two quotes that Todd Wain, our Director of Sport, shared with the Secondary team as he led us through this first collaborative day on concept-based curriculum.
‘Whenever we ask teachers why students need to know what they’re teaching, we get a variety of answers. For some, the topics or facts seem important in and of themselves. “Kids must read and learn Hamlet because it’s one of the most significant and well-known literary works in existence,” an English teacher may say. But, most often, we hear teachers say that the content they teach should help students lead productive lives in the future. They want students to be strong thinkers, problem solvers, readers, writers, and speakers. They want kids to see the world differently, and to be empowered to act differently, because of what they have learned. It seems that the goal of all learning—not just Concept-Based learning—is transfer.’
Julie Stern (2017), What are the Essential Elements of Concept-Based Curriculum Design.
‘Information flows faster and more freely than ever, and because we are better connected than ever, the barriers to learning are being dismantled. How we learn, and from whom we learn, has been transformed. Our reliance upon anointed experts and authority figures has diminished, while our capacity to learn from each other has spiralled.’
David Price (2013), Open: How We’ll Work, Live and Learn in the Future.
Head of Secondary