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.
Sekolah Yayasan Pendidikan Jayawijaya, Kuala Kencana, Papua
by Sandra Beardmore, PYP Coordinator.
(There were many aspects of change, program and school development as we travelled the road to PYP Accreditation, I share a small slice in this article.)
In 2012 Sekolah YPJ, Kuala Kencana, Papua, became an IB PYP Candidate School and began its unlikely journey as an Indonesian National School to become a fully accredited IB PYP School. Unlikely because we were compelled to deliver the Indonesian National Curriculum, all our teaching staff are Indonesian teachers with no International or PYP experience and the language of instruction is Bahasa Indonesia. Traditional content and pedagogies were the norm, one could say a fixed mindset, and the concepts of homeroom teachers and inquiry based learning, unfamiliar. It was a very ambitious goal requiring an enormous amount of change. Was a marriage, a union, a fusion between these two disparate approaches to education possible? It seemed akin to mixing oil and water, but we took the positive approach of looking for possibilities, connections and solutions rather than getting caught up in the potential trap of “impossibilities”. We resolved to “Make the PYP Happen” in our school.
At every turn there was new learning, new language, adaptation and challenge. Ongoing and consistent professional development and a team approach were key ingredients. A willingness to embrace change was an essential component to building capacity for all staff. But even small changes can be confronting and we were embarking on large scale changes in many facets of teaching and learning, leadership and school organisation. To facilitate such change, developing a sense of partnership, trust and collaboration cannot be given enough emphasis. A team of Expat educators worked alongside the elementary (SD) teaching and leadership teams to develop a plan of action, organise and present ongoing professional development workshops about aspects of the PYP, build teamwork at various levels and develop a culture of collaboration. It has been a very steep learning curve for all, a curve we continue on, albeit more gradual now.
In terms of program we began with the National Curriculum 2006 with the Kompetensi Inti, Kompetensi Dasar, set subjects, set amounts of time per subject and so on, quite a prescription. There were no indicators to give an idea of what the Kompetensi Dasar might translate to in terms of program content, scope and sequence of subjects across grade levels. The subjects were isolated islands and we needed to connect them conceptually within the framework of the PYP. Indicators for each curriculum area were developed over time and mapped across the 6 Transdisciplinary Themes. From the various contexts of the themes and the mapped curriculum content we worked collaboratively to create our first units of inquiry. During the process teachers were learning how to write central ideas and lines of inquiry. They attached key concepts, Learner Profiles and Attitudes, and identified the Transdisciplinary skills which would support student learning. Implementation was a trial and error process and planning sessions involved reflective conversations around successes, failures, frustrations, pedagogy and strategies. It was challenging to say the least. Of course, there were degrees of resistance, but there was also enthusiasm and commitment. For change to be sustainable it has to be done gradually over time, celebrating successes and breakthroughs no matter how small, to build confidence, knowledge and skills. One step at a time … having successfully developed and taught our first units was a great start toward reaching our goal.
Then, after two years of developing units and consolidating practices we were faced with the challenge of the new National Curriculum 2013. Much discussion centred around avoiding it or embracing it. So we came full circle, embraced it and reviewed our existing units. The changes for Curriculum 2013 not only involved changes centred around content in the form of the Kompetensi Dasar. There was also a change of thinking about approaches to education. There were changes to the basic framework and structure for Sekolah Dasar.
Section C of the Regulation of the Minister of Education, “KERANGKA DASAR DAN STRUKTUR KURIKULUM SEKOLAH DASAR” (translated) focused on Improving the Mindset with the following changes:
“1) teacher-centered learning patterns become learning centered on students.
2) teacher centred instruction (teacher to student) to become interactive teaching and learning (interactive teacher-students-community-natural environment, sources / other media)
3) isolated learning into networked learning (learners can gain knowledge from anyone and from anywhere that can be sourced via the internet)
4) passive learning into active learning (active student learning strengthened with inquiry science learning approach)
5) individual learning into group learning (team-based)
6) single source learning into multimedia-based learning tools
7) whole class teaching into the looking at the needs of students by strengthening the development of the each student’s potential
8) single subject learning (monodiscipline) into multidisciplinary learning
9) passive learning to critical learning
B. Characteristics of Curriculum 2013
1) The 2013 curriculum is designed to develop a balance between the development of spiritual and social attitudes, curiosity, creativity, cooperation with intellectual and psychomotor abilities.
2) Schools are part of a community that provides a planned learning experience in which learners apply what is learned in school to the community and to utilize the community as a learning resource.
3) Develop attitudes, knowledge, and skills and apply them in various situations in schools and communities.
4) Allow sufficient time to develop attitudes, knowledge, and skills.”
The key areas of the National curriculum section D are:
- The work of individual teachers is transformed into a collaborative working approach.
- Strengthening school management through strengthening the Principal’s management capability as an educational leader.
- Strengtheneing of facilities and infrastructure for the benefit of management and the process of learning.”
These positive changes could be readily translated through identifiable similarities with the PYP approach to learning and teaching. This made the transition from a National School to a PYP school readily justifiable through clearer connections and gave us the freedom needed to explore ways in which we could deliver successfully on both fronts.
With renewed impetus we set upon embracing the task of redeveloping (and creating new) indicators in all curriculum areas and developing new units for each Grade level. We took a fresh look at the Transdisciplinary Themes and, in Grade level teams, remapped the new curriculum indicators, wrote new units and a created a new Program of Inquiry. The benefits of having taught the “old” units for two years and the many hours of professional development the teachers and leaders had engaged with, was evident in the discussions taking place throughout this collaborative mapping process. As they say, “practice makes perfect” and it was certainly much easier the second time around. The teachers had a greater understanding of the key concepts, the Learner Profile, Attitudes and Transdisciplinary Skills, which resulted in a more purposeful distribution of these across the new units. All these new units were successfully trialed in 2014-15 and changes made in response to reflective discussions throughout the teaching of each unit. During that year several teachers took part in Harvard’s online Making Thinking Visible course and shared their learning through presentations at Staff Meetings. Strategies from these presentations were discussed at collaborative planning meetings and incorporated into the class program, enriching learning experiences and strengthening literacy connections within the units. We felt quite a degree of achievement and recognized that we had made great progress over the past 2 and a half years. At the same time we acknowledged that there was still much to do and consolidate in order to reach our goal. Further guidance in the form of an Evaluation Report would be a welcome document to help shape future developments, clarify goals and professional development needs within the school to support the continuation of our journey.
In March of 2015 our IB PYP Consultant recommended our school for an Accreditation Visit. Our visit was scheduled for September of 2015. Of course the prospect of our visit brought feelings of great excitement, along with feelings of trepidation. Could we be successful? Had we managed to emulsify the oil and the water? The 6 months between March and September would pass quickly, especially with a 6 week holiday break in the mix! As you all know, preparation was full on and continuous for all our Elementary staff in the 6 months leading up to the visit. Each person had a role to play and a responsibility to contribute to the success of the school. Each person showed commitment to being fully prepared and felt proud to be part of Team SD, KK.
In November 2015 we received our official notification from the IBO ….. our Team was successful …. We had “Made the PYP Happen” …. we became an Accredited IB PYP school. We appreciate the feedback we received and continue to work to be the best school we can be …. there will always be things to improve on, new learning, fresh perspectives ….. because gaining PYP Accreditation is not a destination but an interim prize on a continuous journey in education.
We are Sekolah YPJ, Kuala Kencana, proudly Papuan, proudly Indonesian.
Bahasa Indonesia is our language of instruction
We continue to mix the water with the oil, if we stand still we will separate, and we have worked too hard to allow that to happen.
Reference: “SALINAN, LAMPIRAN, PERATURAN MENTERI PENDIDIKAN DAN KEBUDAYAAN
NOMOR 67 TAHUN 2013 TENTANG KERANGKA DASAR DAN STRUKTUR KURIKULUM SEKOLAH DASAR/MADRASAH IBTIDAIYAH”
As part of our school’s commitment to create a community of lifelong learners, we held two induction sessions, for parents new to the IB programme and for teachers new to our school and to the IB programme as well.
During the session with parents, we discussed the pace of change in the 21st century and the challenges our children have to face. The first/morning session was for pre-elementary parents. Mr. Dylan Braithwaite, one of the expat teachers in the pre-elementary unit, with a strong background in play-based learning, shared how the IB programme is implemented in the pre-elementary. He explained that Inquiry in the early years is framed within three basic principles:
- Curiosity comes first. Curiosity comes naturally to young learners and should be encouraged and supported through learning daily experiences.
- Embrace the mess. Embracing the mess here means that early-years learning happens in various ways of exploration, trying things out, making sense of how things work out or not, observing what’s around them and so on. This learning doesn’t come in a neat and clean environment, instead students need to have more opportunities to ‘play’ it out.
- Practice reflections. Practicing reflection means making reflection a regular part of learning to make sure we can make the connections within ourselves, with peers and with the world.
The next session was set up to give the participants ‘real’ learning experiences. We started with a test, the kind of test we did when we were young. Everyone was familiar with the ‘test’ and knew that it would only require the correct answers of factual information they could memorize.
An interesting thing happened in the next stage of the session, when these parents were asked to come up with their ideas of what a good learner looks like. At this stage, a new learning experience was obvious as this task required a whole set of thinking and communication skills. The participants started to show creativity, to show courage in expressing individual thoughts/opinions in the form of a diagram/picture and communicating ideas with others.
One of the questions coming from parents was about how to access all these IB terms and words, and how they can use them at home. The link here provides all the 5 Essential Elements used on a daily basis with brief explanation for each and suggestions on how parents may use it to have conversations with their children at home: https://goo.gl/fplPM6
To summarize the session, the parents felt really positive about the IB programme and how Sekolah Ciputra has implemented it in day-to-day teaching and learning. They realized that it is important for us to keep a strong partnership between home and school so that the students can benefit from it.
The other induction session was for the new teachers. Having had the opportunities to immerse themselves in the day-to-day planning, teaching and assessing, these new teachers were ready with the new learning and brought questions they wanted answered and issues they wanted to clarify and understand better.
A good practice in an inquiry approach is to start with prior knowledge, which basically means that the learners try to make connections with what they already know.
We used blob figures as one media of choice for a reflection. These blob figures are really helpful for any reflection purposes, each with its own action so the learner can choose which blob represents his/her reflection.
The main discussion throughout the sessions is based on this PYP Curriculum model:
This model summarizes what the IB PYP curriculum is and how it underpins planning, teaching and assessing for teachers.
Our school is committed to professional development of all staff. We will have in-school IB PYP workshops on January 20th – 21st, 2017 to further develop our understanding of concept-based teaching and learning, inquiry and assessment approaches.
Building a collaborative culture is no easy task and building a collaborative culture around professional learning in a school is a particularly challenging task. The typical day in the life of a school finds teachers’ time constantly being monopolized by the demands of students and parents, and the myriad administrative and extra-curricular duties that they routinely perform. While most teachers will readily admit that ongoing professional learning is not just a necessity for them to ensure that their practices are current and relevant, but essential to their well-being as professionals. Most also admit that not enough time and attention is given to professional learning for teachers in schools. Yet, professional learning and collaboration are essential in any organization that seeks to renew and re-energize its members on an ongoing basis. The need to belong to a group and to connect with others is not only a human instinct, it is through connections with others that we grow and learn in our professional as well as our personal lives.
As a school leader I am all too aware that my vision of the kind of school we aspire to be is nothing without the collaborative efforts of a strong and dynamic team. To articulate a vision, to garner support for that vision and to engage others in working collaboratively to realize that vision, requires four essential components – a clear understanding of what collaboration means and why it is useful to an organization, structures that allow people to come together around shared interests, providing the resources necessary for people to explore their interests and flexibility in terms of what form the collaboration will take. Within these four essential components there should also be a common thread of connection. At Sekolah Ciputra, our school’s action plan was that common thread. We had identified formative assessment, differentiated instruction and concept-based teaching and learning as areas of focus in our school’s action plan.
Vision of Sekolah Ciputra
Students of Sekolah Ciputra are proud of their national identity, embrace the spirit of entrepreneurship, celebrate cultural diversity and possess the skills, integrity and resilience to participate in a changing global society.
Armed with a newly revised vision and mission and a focused action plan, our leadership team set out to build a shared sense of purpose among staff by developing structures that would allow teachers to have a voice in designing their professional learning and to actively contribute to each other’s professional growth. The consensus on our team was that the traditional Tuesday afternoon PD sessions were becoming sessions where teachers were passive recipients of learning that had been planned for them and delivered during sessions where attendance was mandatory and participation was typically less than enthusiastic.
We began by surveying teachers about what format they would like to see their professional learning sessions take and what specific aspects of formative assessment, differentiated assessment and concept-based teaching and learning they wanted to explore in greater depth. In addition to being asked questions about format and topics of interest, teachers were also asked to choose whether they intended to participate as a facilitator, a co-facilitator or an active participant. The intention behind those questions was to tap into the expertise and passions that we knew existed on staff but which went largely untapped and unrecognized in our traditional PD sessions. We also emphasized the word ACTIVE as an implicit expectation that participation in the groups would not take the form of “sit and get” learning and that everyone would be expected to contribute to the learning.
Teachers had no shortage of ideas about what they wanted and needed in terms of professional learning. Everything from book studies and coaching clinics to demonstration classrooms were identified as suitable formats. In terms of topics of study, teachers gave suggestions of specific book titles and posed questions such as “how do I document and track student learning effectively and efficiently?” It was clear to us that teachers were very much aware of what they wanted and/or needed to learn and that our traditional one-size-fits-all approach to PD was not meeting their needs. What was very exciting was the number of teachers who were willing to step forward as facilitators or co-facilitators of learning.
With a staff of 104, it was not easy to narrow down the range of interests indicated by our teachers; however, with the focus on our action plan, it became a little easier to narrow the choices down and still give teachers the opportunity to engage in learning that is relevant and meaningful to them. We also agreed that while the initial groups will be formed according to the survey results, participants would be allowed some flexibility after the first meeting to change groups if they felt that another group better met their needs, whether in terms of format or topic. In the end, the shifts were minimal and teachers have settled into working through their chosen area of learning with their colleagues.
As our leadership team considered giving teachers more autonomy over their professional learning, the issue of accountability arose. How would we account for the time spent in learning groups and ensure that everyone was contributing to the learning? The answer came in a fortuitous suggestion from one of the teachers. The suggestion was that we should not only use this opportunity to work in small groups, but we should let our students and their parents see that we embrace and model lifelong learning. Out of this suggestion arose the idea of placing bulletin boards in our hallways with brief summaries of what we were learning, along with teachers engaged in collaborating with each other. We currently have three bulletin boards in our hallways to which teachers are adding snippets of their learning, along with pictures.
It is still too early in the process to declare this a resounding success but early indications and the displays show much promise in terms of collaboration and engagement among teachers. Teachers are learning from and with their colleagues on a range of topics and are proudly declaring their learning to the entire school community.
Our leadership team is engaging actively with this process and our plan is to continue to monitor, to support as needed and to be open to changes where teachers feel there is the need for change. The groups that have been formed are not intended to remain intact all year. As learning goals are met, teachers can move on to form new groups focused on different or deeper levels of learning. The key is to give teachers the professional respect, autonomy and support to collaborate with each other as professionals in determining and meeting their professional learning needs. By nurturing this spirit of collaboration and engagement with each other, we are confident that we will thrive and grow as a learning community.
PYP Coordinating Principal
Sekolah Ciputra Surabaya, Indonesia
“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”
We all believe that character is very important in life. We also educate our children to have good character—honesty, responsibility, selflessness, and many others. Good character is seen as vital to success in life. More studies show that there is a connection between good character and good scores. According to James Heckman, a US Nobel Laureate and economist, performance virtues are more predictive labour market success than IQ.
Then how do we educate our children to have good character? Many programmes are developed to instil character into young people, but according to one research from Jubilee Centre for Character and virtue, size of school, standardized test achievements, and accreditation level of a school has no correlation to the high level of moral character. What is needed for character education is a school-wide ethos, embedded in everything the school does, and with teacher support. Good links with parents and their agreement on the importance of character were also important. In short, character is more effectively “caught” than “taught”.
Truly speaking, it is a bit difficult to exemplify good character in the middle of our society, where bad examples are rampant, but then again, we, as teachers, are committed to do our best, with the help of parents, to set good example to our children so that they can truly acquire the good characters they need in the future—for their own advantage. *(Ray – BPK Penabur Banda)
Having a chance to pursue higher education in Finland is such a privilege for me since as a teacher, I am aware the importance of education for myself. As well as being birth country of Nokia, Wifi Technology and Angry Bird, Finland is well known for their high quality education. Of course studying there is not without challenges, especially the weather. Experiencing -30 degrees Celsius and going to 8AM classes in total darkness are very extreme for me personally. Still, it is totally worth the fight considering the outcome.
Talking about the education in Finland, equality and trust are factors that I believe contribute the most to Finland’s known reputation for their education quality. Let’s take a look: the main objective of Finnish Education is to offer everybody equal opportunities to receive education and this objective is well supported by having free education for everybody starting from Day Care Services up to University level. Not only that, most education and training is publicly funded, there are no tuition fees at any level of education.
If we go deeper, we’ll find that in primary education, the school materials, lunch, and transportation are provided free of charge. While, in secondary education students only pay for their books and transport. In addition, there is a well-developed system of study grants and loans; financial aid can be awarded for full-time study in upper secondary education and in higher education.
As I mentioned above, trust is one of important elements in making the education great in Finland. Teachers are given trust to develop and manage their own lesson and class activity to achieve the learning goal as there are no particular ways of learning.
Another thing that I am very please about is to see plenty similarities between Finnish Education and what we are doing in SVP:
|Teaching style and class activities||Teachers are given trust to develop and manage their own lesson and class activity to achieve the learning goal as there are no particular ways of learning.||Teachers are given freedom to manage and modified their class activities guided by the Curriculum Coordinators. Planning is being done on a weekly basis and teachers are constantly challenged by the coordinators to deliver and create engaging activities that develop the student’s inquiry.|
|Teacher’s support to student||They are aiming for equality, where everybody learns and nobody is left behind.||Differentiated learning is being implemented, because we are aware that each student has different needs when it comes to learning.|
|Quality of teacher’s education||Potential teachers are selected carefully through University selection. The Teacher Education programme is known as one of the most challenging programmes to do and graduate from. It is compulsory for Finnish teachers to have a master’s degree as their educational background.||Currently there are many teachers pursuing their master’s degree and many of them have successfully graduated with a master’s degree. The school is trying their best to support teachers in pursuing good quality higher education. For example for the past 4 years SVP have been facilitating teachers who want to pursue their master’s degree by collaborating with a well-known university in Jakarta. Teachers are able to enroll in the programme and take the class in SVP’s classrooms after school hours. Teachers are really helped in this way, because they do not need to travel far. By next year the second batch of teachers who are taking this programme will graduate.|
|Teacher training||Teacher training is provided and funded by the Government annually. Thus, most of teachers have strong research backgrounds as their base for teaching.||As a practitioner of 21st Centuries Education and Differentiated Teaching, teacher’s skills and knowledge are one of the priorities in our school development. In SVP, teachers have weekly Professional Development meetings to be up to date and continue to be lifelong learners.|
|Learning Orientation||There is no national examination for students in basic education; teachers are responsible for assessment through an ongoing process of learning instead. There is only one national examination, which is matriculation examination. This is held at the end of general upper secondary education. The test result is normally used for admission to higher education (University or Polytechnic).||The learning is more process oriented instead result oriented. In SVP, assessments are beyond test. Teachers have ongoing assessment to monitor the constant progress of the students. The school has ways of reporting the student’s learning beyond just a report card, such as learning celebrations and student led conferences.|
|Learning Environment||To achieve 21st century learning in Finland, learning is designed to be fun and engaging. They are aiming to prepare the students to be ready with challenges that they are going to face in the future.||At SVP we are implementing the 21st century education system that encourages students to be creative, collaborative, communicative and critical in thinking because learning is beyond memorising textbooks or passing exams. Education should develop students to be inquirers and lifelong learners. Learning happens far beyond the classroom and the open learning concept is being well implemented in SVP. When students go for excursions, experts are invited to share their knowledge allowing students in SVP to learn beyond the textbooks or Google, so they will be equipped with relevant information that is useful for their future.|
In conclusion, according to my experience whilst learning in Finland. SVP is on the right track to provide the best education for our students. I am glad to know we are implementing a very similar approach to a country that is well known for their Education.
By Adelina Mulyani Go
Sekolah Victory Plus