The EARCOS Triannual JOURNAL
A Link to Educational Excellence in East Asia
Featured in this Issue
EARCOS Teachers’ Conference 2015
Theme: “Language for Life”
- Challenging Assumptions: How well are international schools preparing students to succeed in an interconnected world? - Personalizing Learning and Teacher Expectations
The EARCOS JOURNAL
The ET Journal is a triannual publication of the East Asia Regional Council of Schools(EARCOS), a nonprofit 501(C)3, incorporated in the state of Delaware, USA, with a regional office in Manila, Philippines. Membership in EARCOS is open to elementary and secondary schools in East Asia which offer an educational program using English as the primary language of instruction, and to other organizations, institutions, and individuals. Objectives and Purposes * To promote intercultural understanding and international friendship through the activities of member schools. * To broaden the dimensions of education of all schools involved in the Council in the interest of a total program of education. * To advance the professional growth and welfare of individuals belonging to the educational staff of member schools. * To facilitate communication and cooperative action between and among all associated schools. * To cooperate with other organizations and individuals pursuing the same objectives as the Council. EARCOS BOARD OF TRUSTEES Margaret Alvarez, President (ISS International School) Thomas Farrell, Vice President (Kaohsiung American School) Tarek Razik, Treasurer (The International School of Beijing) Stephen Cathers, Secretary (Korea International School) Anna Marsden (International School Suva) Diane Lewthwaite (Fukuoka International School) David Toze, Past President (International School Manila) Norman Hudson (International School Kuala Lumpur) David Condon (Canadian Academy) James McDonald (NIST International School)
Letter from the Executive Director
Dear Colleagues: The end of the school year is near, and 2014-2015 has flown by. I hope everyone will have a smooth end of school. This is the time of year when so much is expected and workload is pushed to the limit. Breathe and try to stay relaxed during Mad May! The Spring Heads’ Institute in Vientiane, Laos, will have 40 school leaders in attendance, which is a good turnout for this retreat! We strive to increase attendance at this event each year and hope that next year will be even better. The 2015 EARCOS Teachers’ Conference (ETC) had 1100 registered delegates. Sutera Harbour in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, proved to be a great venue for this year’s event. Once our delegates arrived in KK it was a wonderful venue. Our keynoters John Wood, Anne Sibley O’Brien, and James Stronge were well received. We had a host of excellent presenters including presentations from our own teachers. A total of 175 presentations! Please see the conference write-up in this issue. We continue to support Neil and Ferdi of Jakarta Intercultural School. A vigil was held during the conference to show teacher and EARCOS support. Our EARCOS staff of Bill, Elaine,Vitz,Ver, Robert, and Edzel should be thanked for their tremendous efforts in organizing thousands of details. We hope you all have a great break this summer (northern hemisphere) and have time for family, friends, travel, and reflection. Our board and staff continue to work to make EARCOS a caring, supportive, and dynamic community of international schools. Please check out our website to see all our sponsored events and read about my travels throughout the EARCOS region. Please visit E-Connect, the EARCOS blog, initiated by our own Bill Oldread. Happy Holiday!
Office of Overseas Schools REO: EARCOS STAFF Executive Director: Assistant Director: Vitz Baltero Ver Castro Robert Sonny Viray Editor: Bill Oldread Associate Editor: Edzel Drilo
Dick Krajczar Executive Director Connie Buford (ex officio) Check out our updated website at www.earcos.org and read our E-Connect blog at earcos-connect.tumblr.com
Richard Krajczar Bill Oldread Elaine Repatacodo Edzel Drilo Rod Catubig Jr.
East Asia Regional Council of Schools Brentville Subdivision, Barangay Mamplasan Biñan, Laguna, 4024, Philippines PHONE: 63-02-697-9170 FAX: 63-49-511-4694 WEBSITE: www.earcos.org (L-R) Robert Viray, Dick Krajczar, Edzel Drilo, Rod Catubig, Bill Oldread, Ver Castro, Vitz Baltero, and Elaine Repatacodo
In this Issue
2 6 8 9 10 11 12 14 16 18 22 23 24 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 38 40
EARCOS Teachers’ Conference 2015 ImaGINation 2015 SENIA - Reflection on ETC 2015: Language for Life Faces of EARCOS Curriculum - Laboratory work versus online demonstration - International School Manila - Where Safety Comes First - Successful MS Science - Project Based Learning Action: a Team Effort - Seven Ways to Support Your Curriculum Coordinator - Becoming a Particle Physicists in Two Days Through Accelerated and Authentic Learning Service Learning - Developing a Service Culture Service - Global Issues Network: Dialysis Chapter Community Service - Cebu International School - Liter of Light EdThought - Challenging Assumptions: How well are international schools preparing students to succeed in an interconnected world? - Personalizing learning and teacher expectations Poem - An Ode to Coding by Jason Ohler Press Release - Helping to Save Mongolia’s Heritage - Rivers of Words - Ruamrudee Int’l School Open New Doors to the World - Taipei American School MS Dance for Kindness - ISE Student Awarded Top Prize in Junior Dublin Literary Contest - Developing Leaders Who Make a Difference around the World: The International School Leadership Program (ISLP) - NIST Concert Choir to Perform at Lincoln Center in New York Student Writing - Angela with Straight Black Hair - A Superficial Schism Green & Sustainable - Onwards and Greenwards Student Gallery - Elementary School Art Gallery Campus Development - New Performing Arts Center at Shanghai American School’s Pudong Campus
Front cover photo
Sunset at the Pacific Sutera Harbour
Photo by Inover De Jose Castro, EARCOS IT Coordinator
EARCOS and CIS - Institute On Higher Education Admission and Guidance
EARCOS and CIS are pleased to announce the first INSTITUTE ON HIGHER EDUCATION ADMISSION AND GUIDANCE in Bangkok. October 2-3, 2015 Shangri-La, Bangkok, Thailand visit www.earcos.org
The EARCOS Action Research Grant
In an ongoing effort to implement the EARCOS Strategic Plan, specifically Strategy E, to conduct, communicate, and archive relevant data and research to identify and enhance exceptional educational practices, grants will be made available to encourage our teachers, administrators, and professional staff to conduct action research to improve educational practices for the purpose of enhancing student learning. Action research is a reflective process, conducted in the school setting, to solve a real problem, or to improve and enhance the instructional process.This research may be undertaken by an individual, or by several people collaboratively. It is our belief that the results of such research will impact not only the researchers’ practices but also those of others with whom they share their findings.To that end, grantees will be expected to publish their findings, which will be made available to all EARCOS members on the website. Some researchers may elect to present their work at a subsequent ETC, ELC, or publish it in the EARCOS Journal. Please visit the EARCOS website for more information. www.earcos.org
Contribute to the ET Journal
If you have something going on at your school in any of the following categories that you would like to see highlighted in the Fall issue please send it along to us: Faces of EARCOS - Promotions, retirements, honors, etc. Service Learning Campus Development - New building plans, under construction, just completed projects. Curriculum - New and exciting curriculum adoptions. Green and Sustainable - Related to campus development or to curriculum efforts. Community Service Student Art - We showcase outstanding student art in each edition. Student Writing Press Releases Thank you for your help in allowing us to highlight the great things that are going on in EARCOS schools.
Inside back cover: On the Road with Dr. K Back cover: Approved EARCOS Weekend Workshops SY 2015-2016
Spring 2015 Issue 1
EARCOS Teachers’ Conference 2015
“Language for Life“
Can you think of a more inviting location to hold a conference for 1100 teachers than the Sutera Harbour Resort in beautiful and enchanting Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Borneo? The weather was outstanding, with not a drop of rain, and the hospitality shown by the staffs of the Pacific and Magellan Hotels was exemplary. The theme of the 2015 ETC, “Language for Life,” focused on literacy, esl, library, special needs, counseling, and technology. For the first time, the Special Education Network in Asia (SENIA) collaborated with EARCOS to fold their annual conference into the special needs strand. This blending of special needs practitioners with literacy and early childhood teachers allowed for discussion and collaboration in areas of mutual concern. Our three keynote speakers, John Wood, Anne Sibley O’Brien, and James Stronge energized audiences with passionate stories of their life work enhanced with personal insights. John Wood is the founder of Room to Read, an organization that believes world change starts with educated children. John left his position as director of business development at Microsoft to found Room to Read, raising $350 million from a “standing start” and reaching ten million children by 2015. Anne Sibley O’Brien is a third-culture kid who grew up in South Korea as the daughter of medical missionaries, graduating from Seoul Foreign School. She has written and/or illustrated 31 books dealing with diverse children and cultures. Anne shared her wonderful insights into cultural identity and her own personal journey. Our final keynote presenter, James Stronge, educational consultant and distinguished professor at the College of William and Mary, shared research data that empirically demonstrates a direct, measurable link between teacher effectiveness and student success. He insisted that the question we should be asking is not whether a teacher is highly qualified but whether a teacher is highly effective. In addition to the powerful keynote speakers, 160 workshops were on offer, presented by excellent special presenters and teacher practitioners. The conference provided excellent in-depth professional development opportunities to the more than 1000 teacher delegates. As always, the warmth, hospitality, and responsiveness of the Sutera Harbour staff was exceptional. We are very grateful to Deputy CEO, Gerard Tan, Lian See, General Manager of the Magellan, Yeow Hock Siew, General Manager Pacific, and Nora, Arleen, and Fina. We look forward to seeing many of you at next year’s ETC to be held at the International School Manila where we will highlight physical education, visual and performing arts, design technology, technology, film, counselors. See you there!
Bill Oldread Assistant Director
Keynote speaker Anne Sibley O’Brien. Keynote title: The Formation of Racial and Cultural Identity, Our Own and Our Students.
2 EARCOS Triannual Journal
Candlelight vigil for Neil and Ferdi and the JIS cleaners.
Over 1,000 delegates attended the first day of conference opening keynote of John Wood.
Keynote speaker John Wood. EARCOS Donated $1,500 to Room to Read.
“My new favorite acronym is GSD – all day long! I almost quit my job to join Room to Read after John’s inspirational presentation, but then remembered that I wasn’t a Microsoft big wig…” Pete Kimball, Taipei American School
Keynote speaker James Stronge Keynote title: What Makes Great Teachers Great. Greg O’Connor preconference on Using mobile technology to support students struggling with the literacy requirements of school.
Spring 2015 Issue 3
EARCOS gifts– a coffee table book for all presenters. Discovering Sabah by Wendy Hutton.
Bonnie Singer preconference on Brain Frames: Graphic tools for Language, Literacy,Teaching, and Learning.
13th EARCOS Teachers’ Conference 2015
EARCOS teacher representatives meeting.
Pete Kimball from Taipei American School talking about the Operation Smile Foundation.
Stephen Shore workshop on Including Students with Autism and other Disabilities in the Music Curriculum --> Practical solutions
4 EARCOS Triannual Journal
Doug Goodkin workshop on Think of a Rhyme and Say it on Time: Language Arts and Music.
Jon Nordmeyer workshop on Collaboration: Co-teaching, Co-planning and Co-assessing English Language Learners.
Joel Presti workshop on A Great Global Conversation:The Redesigned SAT and What It Means for EARCOS Schools.
Theme: Language for Life
Matthew Glover workshop on Using Mentor Texts In Writing Workshop attended by almost 100+ delegates.
Inspirational talks from Carolina Minton-Frias, a grade 10 student of the Western Academy Beijing and winner of the SENIA Student Award 2015..
Dick Krajczar with teachers from Imternational School Suva at the welcome reception.
EARCOS teacher’s band rocking the night at the closing reception held at the The Magellan Grand Ballroom.
Spring 2015 Issue 5
ImaGINation 2015, The Middle School Global Issues Network Conference in Asia is a rousing success!
By Brian Ossmann, Secondary School Humanities Teacher
Last month, twenty-three schools from around Asia and over 225 students participated in the third annual Middle School-oriented Global Issues Network conference held at Stamford American International School in Singapore.
pines. The Benitez family, the youngest keynotes at the event at 12, 14, and 16, explained the need they saw in and around Manila and decided how they could help and be most effective. Their story inspired many people during the conference. In the afternoon participants heard from Pandoo Foundation. A favorite action from their keynote was when they decided that they wanted to combine forces with what they were doing for the conference (having students learn about their environmentally-focused game, Pandoo Nation) and turn it into an opportunity to start a grant for Librery Organization. Pandoo Foundation was so inspired by Librery Organization’s story that they wanted to participate in helping them as well! Students played a portion of Pandoo Nation and earned “badges” which ultimately equated to real-life funds to support Librery’s projects in the Philippines! The sixth through eighth graders generated over $SGD1400.00 for Librery Organization in about an hour. Two of the most impactful events from the conference were the activities that students took part in on Day 1 and the presentations that they made to students from other schools on Day 2. Middle school students were not exempt from raising awareness, participating in service-learning and fundraising for great causes while they visited Singapore. The Friday “off-campus” events offered them fifteen different options of activities and learning that occur right here in Singapore. Students participated in everything from water collection and protection of beach and mangrove environments to community building through lantern-making as well as food distribution. Students learned about Singapore-specific problems like migrant worker mistreatment and animal welfare in the region. On Day 2 of the conference, students were treated to a energetic speech by Spencer West who traveled from Toronto, Canada, to be with us and share his story of inspiration. Spencer connected with the students and was a very positive influence for all of the participants as they geared up to figure out solutions and present their own during the student-led presentations later that afternoon. After
The annual event was a culmination of student work and an opportunity for 225+ middle school students to demonstrate their ideas, projects, & solutions to like-minded, engaged students (and adults) from places as far away as Bangalore & Dhaka to Seoul & Tokyo. It was also an opportunity to have these young minds be inspired by others and encouraged to continue their work and projects! ImaGINation 2015 included four wonderful keynote speakers over two days. Each keynote speaker addressed their different passions and solutions that they have been working on within their own communities. They gave advice to students about how to proceed with their own plans. The advice given by all was to stay focused, find something you believe in, and to continue with your goal even if others are telling you “no.” Students heard from Librery Organization who told them about their current library building & education projects in Manila, Philip6 EARCOS Triannual Journal
level of empathy and the conference was a great way for the adults in their lives to see and effectively channel their strengths to demonstrate positive change. Furthermore, I saw our school faculty and administration come together in a way that we often don’t get the chance to see. Teachers from every division were able to participate and lend their time and show their unique talents around an event that built a great community spirit and had many positive long-lasting outcomes. We had over 65 adult volunteers participate with their time and over 75 student organizers. Finally, it gave the adults in the region another way to reach out to our teacher colleagues as well. The chaperones who attended these students from each school were highly energized, excited and willing to participate to make their students’ experience the best it could be. Students at this age are capable of so much and we only need these events to demonstrate what they can do and then, get out of their way!
presenting, students returned to hear Salva Dut speak about his experiences in Sudan as a boy. He spoke about how those experiences helped shape his desire to help his countrymen by supplying fresh, clean water to them by building wells throughout South Sudan. He founded Water for South Sudan and is the subject of a book called A Long Walk to Water. Salva felt so strongly about the goals of the conference and inspiring youth that he traveled all the way from his home in South Sudan to be with us for ImaGINation 2015.
The conference was an amazing way to connect with students and help them recognize the value of the work that they have been doing. Middle school students are naturally predisposed to a unique
Spring 2015 Issue 7
Reflection on ETC 2015: Language for Life
Written by Paul Bawden, in collaboration with the SENIA Board
Kota Kinabalu was the fabulous setting for SENIA 13 and it was a wonderful opportunity for SENIA (Special Educators Network In Asia) to join forces with EARCOS to help spread the SENIA message to a much wider audience. Each morning as the delegates gathered the theme of “education for all” was reinforced by Dr. Dick Krajczar’s messages, the SENIA Board presentations and all three of the keynote speakers. Throughout the conference there were many opportunities for all participants to gather ideas on how they could make a difference for every student in their class.Through formal and informal modes, everyone had the chance to be inspired and many conversations took place about how they would implement their newfound knowledge back in their classrooms upon completion of the conference. The week began with the Pre-Conference Workshops presenting a wide range of topics that were all fully prescribed. There were a number of sessions sponsored by SENIA and the board would like to thank Lori Boll, Greg O’Connor and Bonnie Singer for their dynamic and versatile presentations. On Day One of the Conference the board presented the third annual SENIA Student Advocacy Award. All of the nominees for this award were formally recognized, followed by the announcement Carolina Minton-Frias from the Western Academy of Beijing had won. Unfortunately Carolina wasn’t able to join on the first morning, but a day later the attendees were all able to hear Carolina’s inspiring story. Her humility shone through as she downplayed her own difficulties, thanked everyone who had supported her on her journey and looked at ways we can all help each other. The second morning saw the presentation of The SENIA Advocacy Award. This year’s winner was Penny Robertson, founder of the Australian International School in Indonesia and a prime mover in raising awareness of Down Syndrome all around the world. Accepting on her behalf, Rovanna Bawden spoke of the great work teachers do on a daily basis supporting students who have difficulties with their learning. She also congratulated EARCOS and SENIA for promoting inclusive practices and advocating for all students. The Keynote speakers all played their part to inspire and get everyone thinking about what we do and why we do it. John Wood began the conference with his wonderful story of bringing literature to the developing world. Anne Sibley O’Brien spoke about forming racial and cultural identity and James Stronge completed the keynotes with his talk on what makes great
8 EARCOS Triannual Journal
teachers great. The three together combined to reinforce the message that everyone has the capacity to make a real and positive difference in the lives of others. Following the keynotes each day, delegates were spoiled for choice, as more than 140 different workshops were presented over the ten workshop sessions. With a wide range of topics on offer, many participants had a difficult time choosing which session to attend. Again many thanks go out to all of the presenters, but especially those who were sponsored by SENIA. It was inspiring to see large crowds at each session; particularly those that empowered teachers with strategies they could use to support all learners. To quote Susan Shand, ISKL Elementary Learning Resource teacher, “Through the selection of exceptional educators as presenters at SENIA/EARCOS 2015, I was provided with an outstanding selection of choice and expertise, to enhance my knowledge and skills in the area of special education.” During the final morning of the conference the SENIA board shared the history of SENIA, explaining how it developed in China and has now permeated into many of the countries in Southeast Asia in the form of local SENIA chapters. Sharing this conference with the friends at EARCOS has given SENIA a great opportunity to spread the message further. SENIA is excited about the inclusion journey that many schools are on and is looking forward to SENIA 14, which will be hosted by the International School of Kuala Lumpur February 25-27, 2016. Conferences such as ETC15 provide great learning opportunities for participants and not all of this happens in the workshops. The informal gatherings are equally as important and a big thanks to the team at EARCOS and the Sutera Harbour Hotel for their wonderful hospitality throughout the conference. The cultural night and the closing reception were spectacular and provided a chance to share with colleagues and make new friends. Finally, on behalf of the SENIA Board and all SENIA delegates, a big thanks goes out to Dr. Krajczar and his team at EARCOS for their wonderful support during the collaborative planning process and throughout the conference. SENIA looks forward to building on this experience and doing it all again in a few years time. To stay connected please visit the SENIA website (http://www.senia.asia/), follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SENIA_ASIA, or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SENIA.ASIA.
Faces of EARCOS
Jon Nordmeyer appointment to WIDA >>
WIDA announces the appointment of Jon Nordmeyer as the new International Programs Director. Jon comes to WIDA with more than 20 years of experience teaching at international schools in China, Ecuador, The Netherlands, Taiwan, Turkey, and most recently, Thailand. Jon’s role will be essential in guiding the expansion of WIDA’s work in international contexts. The mission of WIDA is to advance academic language development and academic achievement for linguistically diverse students through high quality standards, assessments, research, and professional development for educators. WIDA is part of the Wisconsin Center for Educational Research at UW-Madison and provides English language standards and assessments around the world.
The Margaret Sanders Scholarship Winner >>
KIM-SA TRANG NGO received the Margaret Sanders Scholarship award. She attends Saigon South International School (SSIS) where she participates to the fullest and brings spirit to her community. From being an organizer in the Global Issues Network Saigon Conference for 300 students to being a teacher assistant at SSIS summer camp, Kim-Sa has channelled her energy into giving back to society. One of her most impressive works is founding a program to teach English at a Vietnamese local school, where she dedicates her time into planning the lessons to conduct them effectively. Furthermore, her commitment to Mai Am Mai Tam, a shelter for children affected by HIV/Aids, is motivating. As an officer in this club at SSIS, she aims to fundraise for their medication, visit the children, and arrange events for the children to enjoy. Likewise, her position as Vice President of the National Honor Society also gives her the opportunities to advocate for her projects to positively impact her school. Kim-Sa also enjoys creating films; she has won a film competition at SSIS two years in a row.
Dr. Robert Brewitt Retiring >>
Dr. Rob Brewitt will retire as superintendent of ISE International School at the end of this school year. He began his education career as a guidance counselor at Triton School in Massachusetts and then moved to Stavanger, Norway where he was the school counselor, taught Psychology and Sociology and served as Athletic Director. Rob also worked in Vienna, Austria, and finally Thailand, and was instrumental in the founding of ISE in 1993/94 and other development projects. He received his Bachelors and Masters Degree of Education at Springfield College in Massachusetts. and his Doctorate of Education degree from Washington State University in 1994. Dr. Brewitt has been a strong supporter of WSU/USF’s ISLP program and taught within their program for several years. He was a strong supporter of EARCOS serving as both president and board member. He also was very active in the International Schools Association of Thailand. Rob plans to move to Florida with his wife Tara to be closer to their family.
Remembering James Marvin Koerschen (1946-2014)
A memorial service to honor the life and memory of Dr. James Koerschen was held on February 24, 2015 at Concordia International School, Shanghai where Jim formerly served as head of school. The service was attended by family, clergy and friends from the international school community. Jim died at his home in Brighton, MI on July 17, 2014. Jim retired as head of school from Concordia International School, Shanghai, China where he also served as president of the board of the Association of China and Mongolia International Schools (ACAMIS). After retirement he served as Executive Director of ACAMIS. During his long educational career Jim served in varying administrative positions at several Concordia Universities in the U.S. Jim Koerschen will be remembered for his love of family as well as his leadership, generosity, hospitality, and warm friendships.
International School of Kuala Lumpur Building on 50 Years of Excellence: 1965-2015 >>
Robert B. Gaw former ISKL Headmaster: 1970-1978 signs moments for an enthusiastic group of students. The theatre at ISKL is named after him. A great honor to have him attend.
Dr. Richard Krajczar former ISKL Headmaster: 1989-1996 with Sherry Krajczar, Zan Khairuddin 93, Mia Pearse 92, Michael Sawkins 92 at ISKL Welcome reception.
Spring 2015 Issue 9
Laboratory work versus online demonstration
By Jozef Bendik, Head of Science Department, email@example.com Chatsworth International School - Orchard Campus 4. understanding the nature of science - scientific enterprise, scientists and how they work, existence of a multiplicity of scientific methods, interrelationships between science and technology and among the various disciplines of science 5. attitudes - for example, curiosity, interest, risk taking, objectivity, precision,confidence, perseverance, satisfaction, responsibility, consensus, collaboration, and liking science (Travers, ed., 1973, p.1119).
With the new syllabus in Group 4 - Experimental Sciences there have been some changes in the content and also – the whole approach to the internal assessment has been changed. One of the most interesting things for me was the shift of the laboratory work towards using online simulations and demonstrations. These can actually be used in the internal assessment submission without performing the experiment in the laboratory. There has been already some discussion whether it is really important to have the students do the hands-on experiment in the lab or whether we can provide highly cognitive learning through watching (using) simulations online. Many international schools spend a lot of money on fully equipped laboratories; others invest a lot of cash into laptops and technology. Is one way better that the other? A common experiment on Diffusion of particles across a semipermeable membrane is a good example for this discussion. There are times when I go and prepare all the items for the practical work and spend 1.5 hours with my students working in the lab. Some other time I go for a simple simulation online where the same concept is done in around 10 minutes. The decision is based on certain facts discussed here. Even though there has been found no significant difference between the two different styles of teaching science, there are some other ways of looking at the debate. Laboratory activities appear to be helpful for students rated as medium to low in achievement on pretest measures (Boghai 1979). Some reports show that laboratory instruction increased students’ problem-solving ability in physical chemistry and that the laboratory could be a valuable instructional technique in chemistry if experiments were genuine problems without explicit directions. There are certainly specific objectives that can be achieved by the use of the laboratory in science classes: 1. skills - manipulative, inquiry, investigative, organizational, communicative 2. concepts-forexample,hypothesis,theoreticalmodel,taxonomic category 3. cognitive abilities - critical thinking, problem solving, application, analysis, synthesis
10 EARCOS Triannual Journal
Many teachers started the discussion whether the use of simulations can appropriately prepare students for the science courses later on in the tertiary education. The sensomotoric nature of the experimental work should contribute positively to the learning and give the student a different experience of the scientific content. However, there are many opposing opinions stating that one afternoon lab session can not simply illustrate a course lecture. Many argue that most scientific theories are based on a large number of very sophisticated experiments. So if lecture topics are to be illustrated, this should be done through the use of audio-visual aids or demonstrations. Another argument to support the use of audio-visual help in the class is that many skills that students learn during the laboratory work are obsolete in the science careers. When talking about the role of laboratory, it is very important to look at the approach involved: inquiry vs. verification. It has been assumed that proponents of laboratory activities are interested in having students inquire and in having them work with concrete objects. A research studying science education (Comber and Keeves) in 19 countries shows, that in six of those countries where 10-year-old students made observations and did experiments in their schools, the level of achievement in science was higher than in schools where students did not perform these activities. Lott (1983) reported on meta-analysis on the effects of various instructional techniques showed positive support for inquiry teaching. An effective science classroom was characterized as one in which students had opportunities to physically interact with instructional materials and engage in varied kinds of activities.There are also lots of indicators showing that the inductive approach appears to be more useful (than the deductive) in those situations where high levels of thought, learning experiences, and outcomes demands are placed upon subjects(1983, p. 445). Generally, in my classes I use both approaches to the experimental work. It is clear that there is no winner in the discussion on the laboratory use versus online demonstrations. The decision whether to go with the lab or online resources depends on the topic and the students in my class. Most probably, the question should be “ For what purpose should be the lab used, under what conditions and with what students’? References Blosser, Patricia E. (1980). A Critical Review of the Role of the Laboratory in Science Teaching. Columbus, OH: ERIC Clearinghouse for Science, Mathematics, and Environmental Education. Boghai, Davar M. (April 1979). A Comparison of the Effects of Laboratory and Discussion Sequences on Learning College Chemistry. Dissertation Abstracts, 39(10), 6045A. Comber, L. C. & J. P. Keeves. (1978). Science Education in Nineteen Countries, International Studies in Evaluation I. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
International School Manila Where Safety Comes First
In today’s world, with the growing population and increase in natural disasters, it has never been more important to know and understand how to take care of yourself and others in emergency situations. Being able to properly administer first aid is a valuable life skill for adults and children, and can be needed at a moment’s notice. At International School Manila, it is a belief that all teachers should be aware of the international standards for first aid and CPR and should be provided annual training to remain current in their skill level and understanding of the actions necessary during an emergency. Teachers, coaches and building administrators are often with groups of students both on and off campus and are the first point of contact should an emergency arise. In these situations, it is important for teachers to be prepared should anyone in their care need immediate medical assistance. Beginning in August of 2014, International School Manila, in cooperation with the American Heart Association and the Global Training Organization, partnered to provide first aid and CPR/AED training for all faculty, administration, and necessary support staff. Training sessions are run by licensed professionals who guide participants through the modules giving them access to all the necessary equipment to properly perform the skills. Courses include international certification, and all participants who complete the training receive AHA certification cards that are recognized globally. Thus, those trained in this program are prepared and certified to perform basic life-saving skills no matter where they may be in the world. Not only does this give ISM employees peace of mind and confidence for handling emergencies, but it is also a fulfilling accomplishment that they achieve with their peers in a friendly and supportive environment. It is time and money well spent. In January of 2015, ISM went one step further by surveying parents in the community to gauge their interest in training family members as well as household support staff. The response was overwhelmingly positive, leading the school, AHA, and GTO to create specially designed courses for parents and their children (ages 12+) to take together. In addition, course were also created to be administered in Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines, so that the drivers, nannies, and household helpers of the ISM students could also have access to the training. This training is now a part of the ISM community and it is an exciting new addition to the learning environment. Classes range in size from 12-18 participants, are presented in a comfortable classroom setting, and are administered with trained personnel who deliver a consistent product through the use of energizing videos, hands-on practice, and guided reading materials. It is quality training, done in a timely fashion, to give the participants the skills they need to better support their friends and family should an emergency arise. ISM’s partnership with AHA and GTO this school year has been very positive and this proves to be a priority for the school for years to come. By Sam Cook, ISM Coordinator for Student and Faculty Learning firstname.lastname@example.org
AHA instructors demonstrate the heimlich maneuver for participants.
ISM student practices CPR with an AHA course instructor.
Participants practising skills during the full-day First Aid and CPR/AED course.
Spring 2015 Issue 11
Successful Middle School Science Project Based Learning Action: a Team Effort
A collaborative article by Joel Bourque, Karen Chan, Ken Rohrs, Geoff Moulton, Ian Wylie, Luann Fragale, Mason Gordon, Barbara LeMond, Dean Lea, and Maureen McCann As a teacher librarian in a dynamic international middle school, my heart beats wildly when I attend curriculum-planning meetings, and a unit of inquiry is the hot topic of discussion. While teaching at Hong Kong International School, I have witnessed an increase in student learning during many types of inquiry projects across the curriculum. Over the past three years, our science teachers have remained tenaciously wedded to the idea of refining Project Based Learning (PBL) projects to increase student learning. Success resulted because our science teachers were responsive to reviewing each year’s projects and then working as a team to improve the projects the following year. The other key ingredient that enhanced student learning was the collaborative nature of the projects that invited more players to join the science team to assist in student learning support. Grade 7 and 8 science teachers truly created the magic recipe for optimizing learning for their students this year. Grade 7 students focused on human body systems, and the grade 8 students focused on energy transfers. What follows is a big picture description of what happened in our MS during an academic quarter, including our students’ reflections on their learning during the PBL unit. Background Students worked in groups to brainstorm then create working models of specific human body systems that relate to a student’s personal health in
12 EARCOS Triannual Journal
grade 7. In grade 8, students designed and construct energy transfer machines that could effectively transfer energy and be related to a real world “problem.” Science teachers supplied most building materials like tubing, wires, fasteners, and hot glue guns, but students were encouraged to use a majority of recycled materials. Student learning during project work sessions happened in the science classroom under the supervision of the teacher who acted as facilitator. Students chose their group members and their specific topic.
Planning Teachers began discussing the PBL’s far in advance of the start of the unit. They collaboratively clarified the project work and timeline. Students received explicit skill instruction from the technology coach on blog creation. Design work and regular self- reflections were documented in a blog that included text and image and video. Additionally, science teachers provided lessons on background content information and then invited the teacher librarian into class to teach note taking, paraphrasing, and bibliographic citations using the tool EasyBib Student Edition. Students were required to read several nonfiction texts on their topic, take notes, and then synthesize their learning in a short piece of research writing. When the hands-on work sessions began, frequent formative check-ins using Google docs supported students in setting realistic goals and meeting deadlines. Students had opportunities to make mistakes, make corrections, and learn. Students presented their projects to their class, and applying effective communication strategies, then displayed the projects and explained them in a nearby public space to parents during our parent teacher conference times. Projects that failed were proudly displayed next to those that succeeded. Process was valued over product. Team Effort The science teachers took the lead on creating and assessing the PBL unit and should be nominated to the middle school learning Hall of Fame if there is one! The learning specialists assisted all students during the classroom work sessions and checked in on progress. Learning specialists were able to co-teach summary skills in small groups with the science teacher. Differentiation happened. Some students on learning plans were thrilled to be able to learn in a hands-on, kinesthetic environment that required learning with peers. Gifted students could soar as far as they were able by creating clever videos and innovative products. The technology coach provided explicit instruction and ongoing support for blog creation. Meanwhile, the teacher librarian ensured that students were ethically using credible sources of information by teaching the CRAAP test (credibility, relevance, authority, accuracy, purpose) and assisting students to put information into their own words to demonstrate their learning. Science teachers followed through by assigning this research work in manageable chunks and providing formative feedback during the research and work process time.
Student Reflections “The PBL Project has been a really great experience. Throughout the past month, my group and I have seen great successes and extreme failures too. Overall, I’m really pleased with how our model came out, and I’m glad that we got the opportunity to create something so great!” G7 student “I understand that you need to think in many different ways including the opposite of what you wanted before. You have to be very creative. You also need to be strong and not irritated if something doesn’t work the first time. You have to collaborate together so that the work can get done on time and so that you don’t get overwhelmed by the workload.” G8 student “During this project, we’ve faced lots of failure as well as success. While constructing, we realized that our original bleach and food coloring model did not work as effectively as we thought it would. This problem had occurred because we didn’t know that the bleach took around a week to mix into the food coloring, therefore, making the water clear again. We solved this problem by researching more. We discovered that if we mixed vinegar into the bleach, it would take away the food coloring almost instantly.” G7 student “This project certainly required creativity; you need to have an idea you are genuinely interested in to start with, and you wouldn’t be able to make it your “own.” Anyone can follow a guide and make a thermoelectric fan, but making it to your own design is much harder. Resilience and patience are also very important in this project. If you expected it to work on the first try, and it doesn’t, you couldn’t just give up. Scientists don’t just magically invent light bulbs and air conditioners and things on the first try. You need to keep going at it, because every failure is a lesson, and with every failure, you are closer to success.” G8 student By Maureen McCann, Teacher Librarian
EARCOS and CIS Institute On Higher Education Admission and Guidance >>
EARCOS and CIS are pleased to announce the first INSTITUTE ON HIGHER EDUCATION ADMISSION AND GUIDANCE in Bangkok, Thailand.
October 2-3, 2015 Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand visit www.earcos.org
Spring 2015 Issue 13