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”
Have you ever wondered how teachers like us do storytelling? What are the different ideas in storytelling? How will you tell a funny or a scary story? These are some questions that popped up in one of our coffee breaks.
To begin with,
What is story telling?
The National Storytelling Network defines storytelling as an action that involves a two-way interaction between a storyteller and one or more listeners. Storytelling happens in many situations, from kitchen-table conversation to religious rituals, from telling in the course of other work to performances for thousands of paying listeners. Some storytelling situations demand informality. Others are highly formal. Some demand certain themes, attitudes, and artistic approaches. The expectations about listener interaction and the nature of the story itself vary widely.
Our students define storytelling as:
And as teachers, we define storytelling as a way of expressing our feelings through story. Storytelling is enticing the listener to create mental images while we tell through words and actions. Storytelling connects the storyteller and the listener through imagination. Most of the interesting stories are about people. Therefore to make a story better to be understood, focus your story to real-life characters.
How do you choose a story?
The secret of a worthwhile story time is choosing the right book.
Children should be exposed to broad types of literature available to them in the classroom and as much as possible at home. Literature types include picture books, big books, concept books, chapter books, pop-up books, sensory books, nursery rhyme books, fairytale books, and folktale books.
How do you tell a story?
There are easy ways of telling a story to children:
- Reader’s position
The storyteller should be relaxed and comfortably seated or standing up.
2. Position of book
Hold the book and visual aids where children can view it well. Show the pictures slowly around the audience.
Use actions that go with the story to add interest. The body movement is an important factor in telling a story.
4. Eye contact
Use eye contact to relate to your audience. Let your eyes and facial expression help tell them the story.
Use a clear, natural speaking voice and vary the pace according to the story. Take time and never rush through the story.
6. Response of children/peers
Respect children’s comments and reactions, yet retain control of the group.
How do you introduce a story?
- Unlock difficult words that will be encountered in the story.
- Ask motivating questions related to the child’s experience that will arouse his/her interest in the story.
- Set the stage for the story and capture the children’s attention before you begin to read.
- Make the children sit well
- Begin by telling the title, author, and illustrator.
Storytelling presentation and activities in a creative way:
- Making a story book
- Comic strip
- Role play (puppet)
- Story cube
- See through story
Storyteller use projector screen as a tool to tell story.
- Story maze/ story map
As we end our coffee break, stories about work, family, students and whatever under the sun continue to flood our imagination. We hope you were able to get some ideas from one of our coffee breaks. So sip that cup of coffee and share your story with a friend.
By: Camelia Tjandra and Jose Noel Veloso
Grade 1 Teachers
BINUS SCHOOL Simprug
The 100th day of school celebration on Wednesday, 18th January, 2017 was a great experience for PYP 1 students. Parent, students and teachers worked collaboratively on many events. Parents and students designed individual 100th day t-shirt using materials from home and all students wore it on the day. Not only the students, but teachers also supported this event by creating examples of 100 objects and decorating school T-shirt. Living and nonliving things was the topic because it was related to the unit of How The World Works. Students participated in different activities related to the unit which was interesting since they could explore their knowledge and creativity. Making a 100th day of school hat was a favourite activity because they created a different look and unique hats. They practised their fine motor skill by choosing different accessories and decoration for their hats. In language, they read 100 words in English and counted 100 books in each class library. They arranged books from the tallest to the shortest book and made comparisons using appropriate language. The students also created a Bahasa Indonesia dictionary which consists of 100 words with pictures and sample of simple sentences. Drawing 100 living things and 100 non living things gave a chance for students to demonstrate their learning visually. The 100th day of school is one of the significant events which involves all students and the school community.
PYP 1 teacher/ coordinator
Sekolah Ciputra Surabaya
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.
By: Corita T. Silapan, Grade 5 Class Teacher and Level Head, BINUS SCHOOL, Simprug
During my first year of teaching primary children, I was very strict. As a new teacher in an exclusive school for boys, all immensely rich and spoiled brats where some come to school in a helicopter and with at least two bodyguards because they are sons of the president, senators or congressmen, I was warned by some of the senior teachers. I lived by the principle “First impressions last”, and my understanding was students need to get that impression that I am very strict on the very first day of school. By that I have to make sure that they get my message: “You have to be quiet every single day. You can only talk if I ask a question.” My classroom was like a military camp – every single noise made during individual activity was dealt with seriously. My lessons were straight to the point, meaning, there were no segue, purely business.
Purely business. That was my relationship with my students was like. No personal conversations. No sharing of experiences. No storytelling. No connections. I admit I was quite satisfied because I was not getting tired from teaching. Noise gives me migraines. I knew there was something missing, but I did not dwell much on the thought. When the school year ended, I celebrated. I thought I was successful as a primary teacher. The following school year opened, and most students were visiting their former teachers. No one came to my class. That hit me hard. I thought I must have misinterpreted the senior teachers’ warning. True enough, I did.
Fast forward. Like any other stories, I’m sure you can surmise what happened next. There was total transformation. Through the years, I have developed a stronger personal connection with my students and vice versa. I read books and articles on fostering positive student-teacher relationship. I learned to praise students; be sensitive to their individual differences; include them in decision –making; give them support and constructive guidance; listen to their stories of fear, anxiety and happiness; and share my own personal stories with them. It is always noisy during class discussions, but I call it “positive noise.” It still gives me migraines, but I always have paracetamol or mefenamic acid on hand.
I want to share the most successful learning engagements I’ve done so far in terms of “getting personal” and being more connected with my students. Most of them are related to our units of inquiry:
Grade 1, Who We Are:
We were learning about family traditions, and I made a book titled “When I Was A Little Girl”. It contained information about our family activities when I was young. I also included some of our real family pictures depicting the activity. The grammar focus for this unit was past tense form of verbs, and I was able to link it to the unit. For every page of my book, there was one sentence about an activity I did with my family when I was young. For example, “When I was a little girl, I went to the beach a lot”, “When I was a little girl, my father taught me how to play chess”, “When I was a little girl, I slept every afternoon because my parents said it would make me tall.” While I was telling the story, the children giggled and whispered to each other. They couldn’t believe seeing photos of me while I was young. I gave the children their chance to share their family practices among each other, and I was glad to witness the learning engagement that transpired- children all happy and excited.
Grade 2, Where We Are In Place and Time
The focus of this unit were choices and decisions involved in a journey, changes experienced because of a journey, and impacts of journey on individual. I made a slide presentation of my journey to Indonesia, the first country I’ve ever traveled to. My slide presentation had the background song “Journey” by Lea Salonga and the students were surprised to know that the singer of Mulan’s theme song is from my country, Philippines. I shared with them why I made that choice (later on they learned that one of the reasons is “economic”) and the changes I experienced such as cooking and doing laundry on my own, learning to speak Bahasa Indonesia, living in an apartment for the first time, and having to adjust to the Indonesian culture. The students were shocked to know that it was my first time to ride an airplane! After the discussion, many of them approached me and asked me to tell them more stories about my journey. They asked how I like living in Indonesia. I reckon they were happy to hear the positive things I said about their country.
Grade 4, Who We Are
Last Christmas with my father (Showed this photo to my students)
I am not sure whether my deceased father would be pleased or vexed with me for always using him as an example in this lesson. This unit is about body systems and impacts of choices of lifestyles. I would share a personal story to my students of how my father used to be a chain smoker who loved to eat just meat all the time. At the age of 57, he was diagnosed with colon cancer. Two years after, he succumbed to the disease. I think telling the children a real story of the suffering of someone close to me was more convincing and had a more impact on their decision to live a healthy life. There was a lengthy discussion after this as children recounted how their family members also suffered from diseases.
There are other ways of teachers sharing more of themselves and connecting with the children. For example, sharing with the students how your weekend went and asking them how they spent theirs will set a positive mood for the week. The experiences need not be always positive. The students need to know that in real life, there are always desirable and undesirable events. Another example is filling in this activity sheet on the first day of school and sharing your responses with the children (e.g. favourite food, book and childhood memory, an accomplishment I am proud of, person I look up to, etc.). Starting with it will also help shy students open up.
It’s been 13 years after that alarming realization, and I have changed a whole lot as a teacher. I still live by the principle “First impressions last” but in a totally different approach – not a commander but a friend, a counselor, a guardian, a mother, and a storyteller to the children. I still celebrate success every end of the school year, and I feel these successes are more genuine.