Nowadays, in a fast changing world, it is not easy to teach students how to be empathetic, how to be sympathetic, how to be kind, to be tolerant, to be optimistic, to be courageous, etc. TV shows, cartoons, computer games and Internet websites and the social media are strongly influencing students’ behavior. But we teachers, as thinkers and caring individuals, strive hard to find the best way how to inculcate moral values so our students make a difference in line with IB PYP goals to prepare 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.
Today’s education should not be focusing only on increasing knowledge of students and developing their skills but to prepare them for a fulfilling life in the future. Life demands more than knowledge and skills.
So, what is our school doing to prepare the students to become active, caring and lifelong learners who demonstrate respect for themselves and others and have the capacity to participate in the world around them?
Aside from the transdisciplinary themes with central ideas and lines of inquiries that are wonderfully planned, the teachers also found out one of the best ways to inculcate moral values and that includes the IB learner profile and PYP attitudes through reading books. Books are the best tools to teach the students with moral values. There are scenarios that can help them realize that they need to put everything into perspective – others are not lucky enough – they have nothing to eat, live in a difficult and abusive life, no shelter to live in, no parents to guide them, no friends to play with, no toys to play, no cars to ride on, etc.
Four novels are specially chosen for grade 3 students to read. They are Charlotte’s Web, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, Justin Case and Nancy Drew.
These novels are ingrained with fundamental values – for every child to discover and enjoy.
These novels are carefully chosen to help launch meaningful discussions with the students. They work best as subtle discussion starters (rather than direct ‘lecturing’ on the learner profile and PYP attitudes) – to make the value system stick, students need to come up with the conclusion themselves. So, teachers make sure to follow–up a read aloud with some open–ended questions. They include books because they believe that reading books is the best way to encourage the students to make a difference, take action whether small or big, create a positive change in the world they live in, and also for academic success.
My students started reading Charlotte’s Web, and they were able to apply what they have learned in our first two units of inquiry, which focused on rights and responsibilities and animal adaptation – which each child who has a pet should be responsible to give love and care because animals have rights too. All my students said that they are against animal cruelty, that each animal has the right to live – I laughed at this. But others were asking- how about the animals that we eat? Is that also animal cruelty? Students had long discussions and arguments about this issue. They gave out their best reasons and persuaded others that it is animal cruelty or not.
After reading Charlotte’s Web, we watched the movie version. Students came up with the conclusion that the book was a story of friendship between Wilbur and Charlotte – that a true friend is going to risk his/her life for one’s own good. After watching the movie, students were asked who among their classmates was their best friend. They wrote a letter to their best friend and stated why their friendship is true and to be kept. After giving the letter to their best friend, students were asked to reply to each other’s letter. While giving the response letter, they sang a song about friendship.
|You’re My Best friend
Many people say true friends are hard to find
But I know I’m not that kind
They come and go and sometimes leave us behind
Like a wind that passes by
(Cause)When you need a friend
That you can depend
You can count on me because you’re my best friend
When you’re feeling down and your heart is hurt
You can call on me and
I’ll be there for you friend
Good things may come and then bad things may go
Like a birth a long time ago
You’re like the ship that’s sailing across the sea
To the waves that’s so unkind
(Repeat Chorus) Hold
The second novel that they read was ‘Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.’ Before they started reading, we had some learning engagements. Students filled in a prediction chart, watched videos and looked at pictures about what happened during World War 2 and the aftermath of the explosion in Hiroshima. Then they answered the four question on a Y-Chart: what did you see, what did you hear, what did you feel and what do you worry about – to give them background of what really happened during the war. Most of the students wrote that they were really scared and sad at the same time. They wondered how the people back then survived the explosion and how they rebuilt their lives after the war. Most of them were also worried that another war may happen though other parts of the world are having conflicts.
The students filled in the Y – Chart after watching videos and looking at the pictures of the aftermath of World War 2.
Our Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes center
Reading the novel, students were able to describe Sadako using the IB learner profile and PYP attitudes. Students pointed out that Sadako learned to stay positive and courageous despite having been inflicted with a debilitating disease. Students also learned that they have to be determined, never give up and always hope that everything will be alright in God’s will. They learned how to empathize with Sadako’s struggles.
The third novel that students read was Justin Case. They were very excited to start our activities and find out the things that happened to the main character because it is a story of a boy who worries a lot. The boy is a worrywart and most of the students were able to relate to him. The students were asked to describe Justin as well as the other characters in the story using the IB learner profile and PYP attitudes. Since Justin likes to describe his teacher and writes down his experiences in school, they were also asked to describe their teacher (others wrote poems about their teachers) and penned down their experience on their first day of school.
Students, together with their parents, are reading their first day of school experiences and their descriptions of their teachers just like what Justin usually does.
The last but not least novel was Nancy Drew. Most of the students loved the novel because it is suspense-filled and is about solving dangerous mysteries. Students loved it because one should be a risk-taker and thinker to find clues and be knowledgeable to be able to solve the crime or mystery.
It is really essential to inculcate in the students the IB learner profile and PYP attitudes, and one way to do this is through reading. Through reading, students learn important life lessons. Having a respectable behavior is a must at a very young age. This can help the students make a difference, be open-minded and tolerant about differences in beliefs, cultures, traditions, etc. If students around the world are open–minded and tolerant, our world will be in safe hands and world peace will just be around the corner.
By: Freitz Gerald Talavera
Grade 3 Classroom Teacher
BINUS SCHOOL Simprug
Action is integral to PYP. Here in Mentari School Jakarta, we have plenty of grandiose events we are proud of. From small actions in the classroom, where children made good choices about how they behave with each other, to large scale projects that happen after intense learning and leave a deep impression on children.
The most important part of PYP action is daily classroom practice although this is not always made explicit. Nevertheless the power also comes in encouraging good daily choices to turn into daily actions. Smaller everyday actions can provide ongoing reflection and develop in depth pattern of thought and action.
Living the IB learner profile and PYP attitudes gives a clear idea of the morally articulate and ethical people who should arise from IB schools. They are caring and thoughtful about the world. Also because values and thoughts are not taught in separate lessons but with a coherent and integrated approach.
Action in PYP has three components: choose, act, reflect. Students choose an action, actually do it and reflect on its efficacy. This reflection may lead a new choices and the cycle begins again.
It is important that children learn to make good choices, to think for themselves and take responsibility in a realistic way that is age appropriate. Actions can have enduring impact when they affect a student’s inner conviction which requires genuine choice and genuine responsibility.
Actions therefore help develop students’ personality. Big actions can be time consuming but they can be also rich learning experiences for many children. Everyday actions can be carried out regularly. Even the smallest of choices can be powerful in developing habits of making thoughtful choices, and sustaining to carry them out over a period of time.
When big and small actions are combined with any programme of inquiry, it develops students who are emphathic to global problems to become global citizens.
Small, everyday actions can happen at home too. This is a good point for parent involvement. Here is MSJ, we let parents report to us action that they notice at home. That action is not only recognised and applauded but acknowledged across school. This is done by putting up visual examples of students action on the school board that says, “Mentari Takes Action”. Action gets contagious this way and children are making good choices not only at school but also at home.
Mentari School Jakarta
There are multiple ways you can integrate art into your unit of inquiry. You can incorporate it as an expression of human creativity and imagination, or as a form of communication. The latter is the method used in my school’s Program of Inquiry in our ‘How We Express Ourselves’ unit in Year 4.
After categorizing artworks into 1D, 2D, 3D, and 4D dimensional formats, the students saw that art is deeply woven into human life. They saw, for instance, 2D art as accompanying illustrations in every chapter in their school books and 3D creations in their own classroom – items that they usually sit and write on without giving much thought to them. Although that was already a fun eye-opening phase of their UOI, what followed was even more exciting. The students came to a realization that art is a form of communication that transcends cultural and language barriers. One excellent example is the art of illustration or pictures. Trying, with shaky results, to decipher written public signs in foreign languages, they immediately realized that the internationally used text-less picture signs in public places such as airports are a brilliant use of art that is also very effective to convey messages to people from different cultures who speak different languages. As my classroom is currently a home to children of five different nationalities, they discovered that art was also a way to help them understand each other better.
The next excitement was when the students found other purposes of art such as to preserve a civilization’s history, a cultural identity, a standard for beauty, and a medium for product marketing. It was a truly wonderful learning experience for both the students and myself.
At the end of the Unit of Inquiry, I found that integrated art is a superb tool to develop the students’ Communicator and Open-minded profiles. The possibilities for classroom activities where students have to strategize ways of communicating ideas, feelings, or even instructions are limitless and students always come out of every activity with more understanding, with the occasional admiration, of each other and of different cultures.
Meidiana, Year 4 teacher, Jakarta Multicultural School (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I hope that you have all had a successful start to the new school year! One thing that we want to focus on this year at Bandung Independent School is our new Guiding Statements, approved by the School Board in May 2016 after a lengthy process of review involving all community members, including a Vision Mission Values review committee made up of teachers, administrators and parents. Throughout the process we were mindful of IB Programme Standard A: ‘The school’s published statements of mission and philosophy align with those of the IB.’
Yesterday, on 19 August we all enjoyed the first assembly of the year. After welcoming new students and staff we focused on our new Vision – ‘At BIS, it is our vision to nurture individual potential and be an internationally-minded school of excellence.’ In mixed level groups, students decided how we meet our vision through the PYP attitudes. Each group was given one attitude and prepared a short skit to demonstrate how we work towards our vision through their particular attitude. What does it mean to nurture individual potential? How can we be internationally minded? What exactly is a school of excellence? Next week’s assembly will focus on our new school values.
It is very important to us that students as well as staff and parents understand the new Guiding Statements and can connect them to their own role in our school. We will be thinking of ways of creating a sense of ownership of and commitment to our new Vision, Mission and Values. We would be interested in hearing ways in which other schools have ensured that community members understand their vision, mission and values.
Mary Collins, Elementary Principal and Deputy Head, Bandung Independent School
“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)
The first week of school is the most important week of the school year and it is always be exciting for both teachers and students after the holiday. This is the time for teachers and students to make an adjustment. Everything was well prepared to welcome those days. Everything was made to attract the students to play and learn
At the first week of school the students made their agreement. They wrote their agreement on a big piece of paper and put their colorful hand prints on it. We called it ‘Give Me Five’
- Respect each other
- Take turn
- Keep ourselves and others safe
We tried to make our days more relaxing and less stressful with fun activities that required arts and games. We read stories, created our ‘jar of stories’, played together at the big playground, made friends and shared holiday experiences. We sang IB learner profile using ‘twinkle-twinkle little star’ tune. We used movements to represent the profiles. They loved it so much, for it’s easy listening.
The students also explored and created IB learner profile in the classroom. They made it using their understanding and of course their language. They discussed, wrote, and put them on the window so they could see and read it everyday.
Our first week of school was awesome. Students enjoyed their times to play for learning and of course they had fun.
“The best way to make children good is to make them happy.”
— Oscar Wilde, author and poet
EY 2 Teacher
Sekolah Victory Plus