Given the difficulties (political, corporate and logistical ) that we face as a company sponsored school based on a mountain top in Papua, we at Yayasan Pendidikan Jayawijaya Tembagapura often find ourselves feeling isolated from the greater IB community. Movement off the mountain is difficult at the best of times and when it comes to trying to get a group of students to be able to visit another school or exhibition, it is neigh impossible. Luckily, here in Tembagapura we have two IBO schools, our own YPJ TPRA and the Mount Zaagham School (MZS), which provides opportunity for collaboration. While the make-up of our two schools is very different with MZS providing education for the children of the expat workers at Grasberg Mine and PT Freeport and YPJ being the school for national and Papuan students; we do share a compound, community and the PYP. With these direct connections, the existence of interschool collaboration is a natural occurrence.
Because of the aforementioned isolation, interschool collaborative learning has significant meaning for bridging the social and educational gaps between our schools and providing much needed collaborative opportunities for our teachers and students. The understanding that our two schools are able to achieve more working together than is possible working in isolation and that the combined effort and resources of our two schools will produce better outcomes than relying each as a single school have led to some very successful collaborations between us.
A great example of this collaborative practice is the recent Kartini Day celebration in which our two schools worked together to create a program in which students grades in one through nine from both schools came together in a celebration of the ideals and values that Raden Adjeng Kartini stood for. One of our teachers Aron Vaughn worked closely with the Art and Bahasa Indonesian teachers from MZS to create collaborative activities such as mural painting, plays and dances that brought our two schools together for a wonderful celebration of the theme of Equality: All Life is Valuable. To all accounts, it was a great success with students and teachers from both schools learning and celebrating together.
Having the opportunity to collaborate with another IB school has afforded other benefits to our teachers and students such as:
-A greater ability of students to view situations from others’ perspectives.
-Creating an environment of active, involved, exploratory learning.
-Encouraging diversity understanding.
-Establishing an atmosphere of cooperation.
-Students develop responsibility for each other.
-The development of tolerance.
-The development of the ability to adopt perspectives and the understanding different from their own points of view.
Taking the opportunity to bring diverse students, teachers and schools together and providing opportunities to construct understanding through a collaborative atmosphere is at the heart of the PYP and one that we look forward to continuing in the coming years.