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Year 12 Parent Workshop – Life in the Sixth Form

18 December 2015

At our Year 12 Parent Workshop, we discussed ways in which parents can offer support at home for the IB Diploma Programme.

We talk a lot about time management and prioritising strategies with our Sixth Form students in order to help them to effectively navigate the different elements of the IB Diploma Programme. Taking a broad range of 6 subjects, writing a 4000 word Extended Essay, questioning their knowledge assumptions, and getting involved in CAS experiences all requires a carefully designed schedule! On Wednesday 9th December it was the Year 12 parents’ turn to think about how these different elements can be managed and to develop support structures at home and in school to help our Sixth Form students in this task.

The 2-hour interactive workshop involved a series of activities designed to generate discussion and sharing of ideas over how best to support the Sixth Form students. We began by working out how many hours per week should be given to activities such as sleeping, homework, tutoring, family time, etc. Have a go at doing this yourself to see what you would prioritise:

Parent Workshop

A card sort activity gave our parents an idea about the different elements of the IB Diploma and life in the Sixth Form by highlighting all of the different activities that our students get involved in such as sports activities, helping out at PTSCs and information evenings, the Saigon Enterprise challenge, community projects, Academic Mentoring, the Student Council…I actually can’t name them all here. One of the challenges of this activity is to decide which elements should be prioritised and which we would say no to (does Mr Turner really need help with his assembly?). The reality of time is that we never quite have enough of it, and sometimes our students find it really hard to turn things down, possibly even double booking themselves. The role of teachers and of parents is to help students when they are making these decisions and support the development of effective time management strategies. As one parent pointed out in the workshop, the next two years are a bit like a 1000 meter race requiring a sprint finish, and we need to make sure that we are ready for the sprint at the end.

A true or false activity about sleep opened a few people’s eyes and reiterated the importance of sleep in getting the brain ready for learning and for helping to consolidate the information that has been learned. Our Year 12 students have covered sleep in ILS and Psychology, and understand the biological processes that help us to learn. A tired brain is not a ready-to-learn brain!

We also had some time to discuss the ways in which parents can support their children, our students, at home, and the attendees came up with the following list. I hope these ideas prove useful to all of our BIS parents.

  • Allowing your child to make decisions about their learning and allowing / supporting them to make mistake

  • Being aware of and reminding your child of their deadlines, and talking about these wit them to help to produce timelines for each project and prioritise

  • Planning family time carefully

  • Making sure they go to bed at a reasonable time (enough to get 8 hours sleep per night) to get enough rest

  • Making sure that your child has a proper meal each evening at a set time to help them organise their routine (helping them to balance their relaxation and working time)

  • Reminding your child to disconnect their social media and limiting time for gadgets

  • Having a proper study area that is not in their bedroom. The bedroom should be a relaxation and sleep space.

  • Checking that your child is on top of their homework by discussing their school work with them and ensuring that they are encouraged and praised for the effort they are making.

Lauren Binnington / Head of Sixth Form