Do you remember how you used to learn about history? I remember memorising so many dates, so many names of heroes, so many names of places and so many other things that I had to memorise to pass the history test. But did I understand why the Diponegoro War happened? Why our beloved country is the way it is now? Why history can influence our life in the future? I am not so sure about that.
In our grade 4 unit of history, with central idea: “Understanding the history of a nation allows us to reflect within ourselves and build future nationalism”, the teachers were thinking about what would be the best way of provoking students inquiry. What would be the provocative activity to get them wonder, and thinking about what’s going on?
At the beginning of the unit, teachers dressed up as college activists with loudspeaker on, they gathered students and provoked them with yells and chants such as; “Turunkan pemerintahan! Turunkan harga sembako! Turunkan harga beras! Turunkan harga minyak! Turunkan presiden! Kami mau reformasi!”
Students were surprised with what’s going on, they followed the teachers to the Multi Purpose Hall, where there were some teachers, dressed as Indonesian armies, tried to block the mob. They all went through the big door, where there was a big paper with “Gedung MPR” posted on the wall. Inside, there was a podium in the middle and students sat on the floor, with the pretend college activists still yelled and chanted all those provoking words.
Suddenly, a very sad well known Indonesian song “Gugur Bunga” echoed and built a sacred ambience around the hall room. A teacher, dressed as President Soeharto gave his last speech of resignation. The Indonesian armies and police officers were behind him. It was the day when Indonesian Reformation happened. It was May 21st 1998.
The college activist cheered with happiness, followed by the students. It was like the day of victory.
And then what?
After the activity, students asked questions like; What was that? What just happened? What is reformation? Is that what happen to our country? Why the president did resign? Why people of Indonesia have all that demands? Why people of Indonesia wanted the president to resign? Can that happen again?
Actually, that were the questions that the teachers are waiting for! That is, a provocation activity all about. The goal to make students interested to the unit was succeeded. From that moment, the teachers and students went back to trace the Indonesian history, starting from May 1998 event, Indonesia’s Independence day event, and went a long way before that.
Students will think about Indonesian History, as an event that they never will forget because they experienced the events. And they don’t have to memorise the dates because they sure remember because they understand. Because history, is in the heart of the people, is in the heart of the students.
Marsaria Primadona (Pima)
Courtesy of Year 4 Teachers
The PYP prepares students to become active, caring, lifelong learners who demonstrate respect for themselves and others and have the capacity to participate in the world around them. It focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both within and beyond the classroom.
With the support of the five essential elements: Knowledge, Concepts, Skills, Attitudes and Action here in GMIS we focus on student-directed learning. The children do not compete with others; instead they compete with themselves. During our Inquiries we gauge the potential of each child and gives individual tasks to enable every child to move towards achieving his/her potential. Thus in our classrooms we have differentiated learning.
We spend about five weeks on our units of inquiries, which breaks down to about a week and a half per line of inquiry. If students are really excited about one line of inquiry, we’ll spend two weeks on that one and less on the others. We believe in Student Voice and Choice and giving children time to produce something that demonstrates acquisition of knowledge and understanding.
We follow summative and formative assessment strategies. As a Unit of Inquiry (UOI) progresses we give students formative tasks to assess conceptual understanding, and before the UOI ends, we give our students summative tasks like pencil paper tests, quizzes, presentations, show & tell, classroom theatres, projects, experiments, etc. to assess their learning in the UOI. We also have self, peer and teacher assessments in the classroom, supporting holistic learning. This makes all teaching and learning stress-free and enjoyable, as every assessment task is an interesting yet challenging one. Taking action is a big part of PYP and a big part of exploring ways of showing tolerance to each other. Through small action everyone can make an impact. Our units highlight a broad conceptual understanding. Students follow their areas of interest / set goals, explore and become life-long learners. We also request the parents to encourage and motivate their children simultaneously at home. For example, we ask them to record the action taken by the child and submit to the teacher at the end of the unit of inquiry which encourages them to bring a change through small actions and become lifelong learners.
Ms. Pooja Yadav Homeroom Teacher Grade 4 GMIS-Bali
Being able to communicate effectively is one of the most important aims for me . I usually find the students shy to speak up in front of a gathering or group and I find games are simply a great way to foster learning by boosting students’ critical thinking skills. In our first unit Who We Are I make the students play board games. It gives them an opportunity to work through acting appropriately in various situations. Social skill activities need to be embedded into everything we do. Many students need help with social skills. Using appropriate social skills means doing the right thing and knowing what the right thing is to do, it’s responding appropriately and thinking about the feelings of others.
These role play cards focus on the character traits relating to our unit Role Models which helps them to choose and relate to their role models.
A fun way to help young people to develop deeper social understanding.
These fun role-play scenarios enable young people to practice and reinforce both verbal and non-verbal cues in simple scenarios
Ms. Reena Dhar, Homeroom Teacher Grade 2 GMIS-Bali
When I was young, my mother used to tell me that I have 100 moles on my feet. In the Philippines, having 100 moles on their feet means a person likes to travel and discover new places or someone who finds it hard to stay in one place. I am that type of person because I grab every opportunity that entails travelling. My first travel experience as a student was when I was in 4th grade. I signed up for the Girl Scouts in the Philippines (known as Pramuka in Indonesia). We would go on overnight camps in the mountains. We would build a bonfire, sing our scout songs, cook our own food using firewood, learn to navigate and sleep in tents. We would also meet scouts from other schools and make new friends. Even now, the memories of these camps are still clear in my mind. Being a Girl Scout has taught me to be creative and independent.
For high school, I moved to a Catholic school run by the St. Paul Sisters so my travel experiences were far different from what I had had in elementary. My trips this time were inclined to the Christian way of life and related to caring for the needy. We would go to prisons to give C
hristmas gifts to the prisoners. We would visit homes for the aged and listen to the old folks’ stories. Most of the time, we went to orphanages and performed for the children and distributed gifts. With these experiences, I realised how lucky I was to have a home and family who took care of all my needs. I realized that the prisoners, even though they had done something bad in the past, still needed to be cared for. I learnt that our grandmas and grandpas should be appreciated and given time despite our busy schedule. My friends and I continued organizing trips like these even without our teachers or the nuns telling us. Now that we are all professionals, we conduct medical and dental missions (for those who have become doctors and dentists) or give free spiritual or legal advice (for those who have become priests, nuns or lawyers) or offer any services to prisoners, orphans or the elderly.
College was the most exciting part of my travel journey as a student. For my social studies class in first year, we were required to live among three of the poorest sectors in our society – the factory workers, the farmers and the fisher folks. I chose the latter, so off I went to Laguna de Bay, a famous fishing area outside Manila, for four days. I lived in a very small ‘floating’ wooden house with my foster family. The bamboo floor had spaces in between so that I could see the water underneath. While there, I listened to how they survived every single day. Some days were lucky, there was a nice catch, but some days were totally unfortunate with just a few to sell in the market, allowing only a little money to buy rice and salt. In my anthropology class in 3rd year, we went to interview the minority group in Nueva Vizcaya called Gaddang. It was a great feeling being able to interact with them rather than just see them in books or photographs. I learnt that although they have different beliefs and practices, we still have to respect them and recognize their contributions in our society.
Right after graduating from college, I joined a non-governmental organization, GUIDE, Inc., that takes care of orphaned and special children. One of its aims is to motivate these children and develop their motor skills, creativity, self-esteem and sociability. The organization gathers donations from individuals and other organizations to hold 10-day summer camps for these children each year. My first camp was held in Marinduque, the farthest place I had been to in the Philippines that time.
Now that I’ve become a teacher, I want my students to have the same experiences as I had. I want them to be in the ‘real world’ and not confined to the comforts of their classrooms. Experiential learning must be part of education. However, it must be authentic and not just only doing ‘hands-on’ activities. The children must be guided and reflection must always be part of every experience. Being an IB educator is like going back to my childhood because I experience a lot of exciting things, and what adds to the excitement this time is the fact that I plan the activities with my BINUS SCHOOL Simprug colleagues. Let me share with you some of the most memorable, meaningful and authentic experiential learning settings and situations I’ve experienced since becoming an IB educator:
How We Organize Ourselves
Our students went to MPR-DPR Building, the seat of government for Indonesian legislative, to listen to one of the Indonesian parliament members talk about how the legislative branch of the government works. Our students participated in a tour of one of the museums inside where they learnt about the work of past leaders. There was also a question and answer forum in the room where the official meetings are held. The students were allowed to sit on the government officials’ chairs.
Sharing the Planet
We learnt about different local and global issues, and one of them was pollution. Our students participated in a field trip to Bantar Gebang where all the garbage in Jakarta is dumped. There the students saw mountains of trash and realized the impact of their actions on the environment. As part of their action, our students had a Charity Fair at school where second hand items brought from home were sold at a very cheap price. The money they collected was used to buy rice, oil, sugar and canned goods for the children at the local school inside Bantar Gebang. The project was an application of their learning that a person’s self-worth is reinforced and reflected in doing service to others.
Our students come from middle to upper class families. They have their own cooks, nannies and drivers. In an instant, most of them can have the food that they want. In Chiang Mai, our grade 4 students had a different experience. They gathered the vegetables that they needed from a farm, washed them, dressed the chicken, cut all the other ingredients and made fire to cook their food. Eating the food that they prepared themselves was an unforgettable experience for them as it taught them to be patient and independent. Not only that, they learnt to appreciate and respect the people who make food for them; from the farmers who plant the fruits and vegetables and raise the animals, to their nannies and cooks who serve them the finished product.
How We Express Ourselves
Our Grade 5 students went to Bali for an immersion programme in preparation for their exhibition. They spent two meaningful days at the Green Camp, where they were taught how to decorate bags and make greeting cards using plants and recycled materials such as newspaper. The children realized that works of art do not only come from expensive materials. To be able to create an authentic work of art, an artist must be a thinker and an inquirer. One question students asked was “how do we turn these materials into artwork?”
How the World Works
During this unit, we learnt about the different sources of energy, and one of them was the sun. The children inquired about the conversion of energy, they found out that the sun’s rays can be converted to heat energy which can then cook their s’mores. Learning that the sun is a renewable source of energy, the students recognized that solar cooking can be beneficial as it does not use our limited natural resources, thus it is good for the environment.
Who We Are
As their summative task, the students conducted a campaign in school to promote healthy lifestyles. However, the unit did not just end there. As part of the action component, the school organized the “Healthy Green Walk and Ride” which aimed to raise awareness of the strategies people can follow to adopt a healthy lifestyle. These included promoting healthy living, and in doing so preventing illness, and reflecting on personal habits and making action plans.
These experiential learning engagements have proven to serve as a powerful motivator for our students. I have witnessed how effective they are in stirring up excitement, inspiring students throughout the learning process and practical experiences, broadening their perspective on lessons in the classroom and building motivation towards different subject areas. Experiential learning offers great opportunities for students to gain deeper understanding of the lessons being taught. Instead of just reading about the lessons, students can interact with each other and with their teachers in a less formal environment, where they have the opportunity to enrich their education with actual experiences. Most importantly, these authentic experiences provide opportunities for students to develop positive relationships and global citizenship, as well as provide opportunities to become internationally-minded which is the aim of IB.
I am grateful for my teachers who gave me opportunities to develop myself by providing me with great learning experiences. I am thankful to IB for their non-stop work on educating teachers on how to provide the most authentic learning experiences for the students. Lastly, I thank my mom for letting me explore the world around me. For the record, she still tells me I have a hundred moles on my feet.
By: Corita T. Silapan
Grade 5 Class Teacher and Level Head
BINUS SCHOOL Simprug
Numbers, numbers, everywhere! But what are they for?
The Year 1 students wanted to find out what numbers do, so they went on a ‘Number Hunt’ around the school. They used their observation skills to capture numbers in their natural environment (with a little help from an iPad). Back in the classroom they demonstrated their thinking and communication skills when they discussed the function of the numbers found. We discovered that numbers help us to play; to order, to measure, and to organise ourselves.
By Karen Rudian
Year 1 Curriculum Leader
Global Jaya School
Children are born with natural curiosity. They crave for understanding about the world around them. They ask questions and seek for answers everywhere in order to satisfy their thirst. One of the ways is through reading.
Many children read the same books over and over again, and parents might see that as a repetitive act. There is something in the text that is bringing children back time after time. Research shows that repeated reading of favorite books can boost vocabulary by up to 40% especially when the text is read aloud. How does that happen?
Surprisingly, it is there in text itself. The text available in books is different from everyday conversation that children have with their parents and peers. Research finds that there are so many unique words existing in books that don’t exist in everyday speech.
Therefore, not only are children introduced to new topics around them, but through reading they also learn new words that are generally outside the scope of children’s everyday lives. Books also contain a variety of sentence structures that would be beneficial for children to learn as well as more complex sentences that children don’t encounter in daily conversation.
Psychologists have also explained that people remember information better when it’s in the form of stories because stories help us visualize things more vividly.
However, the question is “why do children lose or why don’t they develop a reading habit?”
One of the reasons may be because people in their surroundings don’t read.
Recent research says that it takes more than two months on average for a new behavior to become automatic. At school of course we have language programs and Library lessons that can encourage the students to develop their habit of reading. However, of course to develop a reading habit, we can’t just rely on lessons that only take an hour every week. Therefore, classes will also need to set their own sustained reading time for students in order to make sure of the development.
What can parents do at home in this matter?
Parents also have a very important role in developing this reading habit. We can help the children by setting a reading program or giving around fifteen minutes reading time for children at home, letting them indulge themselves in the world inside books.
What is the most important thing that needs to be there? The presence. There are many researchers who talk about involving parents in children’s reading habit, from reading aloud to children to just simply reading with them. Children enjoy the bond parents form with them, being excited over the same thing.
It is always a good start to provide children with good books around them in order to provoke their reading habit. But what is more valuable is our presence when they actually read. Let them tell us what the story is about, or what they have learned from the story, or simply their experiences that are similar to the stories they read.
Reading time is more than just fifteen minutes silent reading for children. It is their time to develop their knowledge and skills as well as to create a bond with people around them. Therefore, make it worthwhile.
(Melina Maria – PENABUR Banda Primary)
Human are created with uniqueness, potential and minds that keep on growing by their experiences and environment. They go through all the journeys that we call learning to gain the ultimate understanding about life and themselves, so they will gain different understanding about themselves. With the influence of culture, family background, experiences and national principles, how can they adapt to one another with attitude and gratitude so a peaceful life can be achieved in diversity?
One way we can achieve it is through the education especially civics (PKN) in this era. Civics education now focuses on character building. To supplement this, other lessons in education also focuses on character building according to the new curriculum (K13). Civics is the center of all lessons. Civics education is centered on Pancasila which is based on Indonesian national principles and basic philosophy of Indonesian citizens as a diverse nation in ethnicity, religion, and language. The goals of Civics education itself are not just to create a good citizen but also to create a nation that is superior and capable of staying united and maintaining a peaceful life in diversity.
It is important for everyone to realize that Civics education is not only applied at school, but also in the society and family environment. They also have an important role to educate the younger generations to have manners at home as well as in society, appreciate all cultures, especially their own culture, and also show responsibility towards their own beliefs as well as other beliefs by being devout and obeying their own religious values.
That’s why, it is important that we, at school, in the family, and in society; must collaborate together in educating those values until it is ingrained in younger generations. By internalizing Pancasila values in accordance with each of our own roles and not just by assigning the responsibility to only one part of the community (school / family / society), we can instill character to maintain a peaceful life in diversity that will be ingrained deeply and grow abundantly in the heart of the young generation.
By Sondy and Eva