A HEAD OF THE CURVE

In­ter­na­tional School Ho Chi Minh City is help­ing its stu­dents to think for them­selves

Southeast Asia Globe - - Education Special -

In­still­ing in chil­dren a life­long de­sire for learn­ing has al­ways been ad­mirable. But no it is also es­sen­tial. The rise of the 'gig econ­omy', in which an in­creas­ing num­ber of peo­ple are em­ployed as in­de­pen­dent con­trac­tors rather than per­ma­nent staff mem­bers, and the ever-ex­pand­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties of ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence mean that stu­dents to-day will likely be forced to work in a range of jobs span­ning mul­ti­ple in­dus­tries through­out their life­time.

The In­ter­na­tional School Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC) un­der­stands that its role in en­sur­ing stu­dents thrive in this fu­ture is twofold: they must in­spire stu­dents to learn lim­it­lessly and equip them with the nec­es­sary skills to do so. Con­se­quently, the idea that stu­dents should be taught how to think, not what to think, is the foun­da­tion of ISH-CMC's teach­ing phi­los­o­phy and is found at the heart of the school's In­ter­na­tional Bac­calau­re­ate (IB) cur­ricu­lum.

Dur­ing early years' ed­u­ca­tion, stu­dents are en­cour­aged to learn through play in a 'mak­erspace' decked out with mov­able fur­ni­ture in or­der to lay the foun­da­tion for an in­quiry-based ed­u­ca­tion that awards pri­macy to es­sen­tial cog­ni­tive skills such as cre­ativ­ity and crit­i­cal think­ing.

In pri­mary school, learn­ing is con­nected across dis­ci­plines and to real-world sit­u­a­tions en­cour­ag­ing stu­dents both to use the full ex­tent of their knowl­edge to solve prob­lems and to de­velop an aware­ness of the world around them. This aware-ness is fur­ther de­vel­oped in the sec­ondary school pro­gramme, which pre­pares stu­dents for univer­sity by of­fer­ing abroad and bal­anced ed­u­ca­tion, whilst si­mul­ta­ne­ously ex­plain­ing to stu­dents the rea­son­ing be­hind such an ap­proach.

From their pri­mary years on­wards, stu­dents also work closely with a Tech­nol­ogy Spe­cial­ist and have ac­cess to a Mac lab and green screen for video pro­duc­tion. A new in­no­va­tion cen­tre that con­nects stu­dents with the na­tion% busi­ness com­mu­nity and col­lab­o­ra­tive learn­ing ar­eas with in­te­grated tech­nol­ogy at the school's state-of-the-art, pur­pose-built sec-ondary cam­pus fur­ther strengthen the school's com­mit­ment to en­sur­ing its stu­dents de­velop the cog­ni­tive skills re­quired for them to en­joy suc­cess­ful 21st cen­tury ca­reers.

ISHCMC un­der­stands, how­ever, that for a stu­dent to learn ef­fec­tively, they must first feel com­fort­able in them­selves and the en­vi­ron­ments in which they learn. The school has, there­fore, in­stalled air pu­rifi­ca­tion sys­tems in many of its class­rooms, with plans to in­stall such sys­tems through­out the whole school, and had its can­teen menu re-de­signed by a chef who has trained and worked in Miche­lin-starred res­tau­rants. What's more, ev­ery day, stu­dents en­gage in ten min­utes of mind­ful­ness train­ing, which in prac­tices such as med­i­ta­tion and mind­ful draw­ing. Stud­ies have shown that these ac­tiv­i­ties boost men­tal per­for­mance and clar­ity and im­prove a child's over­all hap­pi­ness, stand­ing them in good stead to deal with the stress of im­por­tant ex­ams and as­sign­ments in later life.

By em­brac­ing in­no­va­tion, ISHCMC has been able to con­sis­tently pro­duce 1B diploma re­sults that ex­ceed the world avenge. It is this at­ti­tude of con­stant self-re­flec­tion and im­prove­ment that will en­sure the school's stu­dents con­tinue to be suc­cess­ful in the years ahead. For when the world changes, ed­u­ca­tion must change with it - and no school un­der­stands this more than ISHCMC. •

ISHCMC equips stu­dents with the skills they need not only to flour­ish at univer­sity and be­yond, but to leave school as well-rounded mem­bers of the rapidly chang­ing world

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