Thursday, January 28, 2016

Parent Survey - The PYP at Seisen

We would like to thank all parents who took the time to complete the survey that was sent out mid-January.  We had a response rate of 33%.  The survey is now closed and below is a summary of the responses.  This information collected has enabled us to include our parents' perspective in the school's recent Self-Study Report that was submitted to the IBO.

We'd like to extend a special thank you to the parents who volunteered to be part of a focus group and discussed some of these items in more depth.  Below is a summary of the focus group's discussions:

In relation to the implementation of the PYP at Seisen:
  • The school treats my child as unique
  • Students find out about art, civics, language in their programme (talking about the transdisciplinary nature of the units), rather than just science, for example
  • The programme encourages curiosity
  • The attitude for learning is strong and positive
  • The children set targets to be challenged
  • The school has a good reputation

In relation to the skills developed at the school, parents shared:
  • Students learn about how to organise their thoughts and express them so they can articulate what they want to say
  • Reasoning and thinking skills are taught and developed
  • Confidence and independence is encouraged
  • Children develop a sense of fairness through making choices
  • Research skills are developed a lot and the students are becoming independent learners
  • Students display a lot of confidence when speaking (communicating)
  • Presentation skills are taught
  • Using computers and technology, students extend their learning
  • The girls have a strong sense of ownership of their work

When asked about parental involvement in the school, participants shared:
  • All the teachers are approachable / friendly
  • School Head invites parents in
  • We feel welcome and informed - we have the websites and blogs
  • Teachers respond quickly to emails (even on weekends)
  • You get a feel that teachers are not on call 24 hours a day but they’re keeping an eye on things
  • Seisen Parents’ Association (SPA) help organise events for the Elementary and classes
  • Parents are often invited in to be guest speakers and field trip chaperons
  • The report card is very comprehensive and it’s clear the teachers know my child - I can notice the things that are mentioned in the report
  • Recently I’ve been looking at the curriculum documents on the websites but this isn’t second nature to me
  • Google Classroom is being used for the homework (but we want to also know what the expectations are because my daughter needs to give me permission to look at it)

When asked about their daughter’s engagement with the learner profile, parents shared:
  • My daughter is very familiar with it- they use the language and give examples
  • It is used when dealing with conflict resolution - this is wonderful to help with conflict resolution but then there’s reality - it doesn’t always work.
  • We use the language at home - ‘How have you been open minded?’ and it is part of their vocabulary
  • Gives us a common language
  • Will make it easier for when the girls move to another country to understand other people and be international (internationally minded)

Lots of parents also offered suggestions for improvement at the school and we have included these in our five-year Action Plan for the further growth and development of the PYP at Seisen.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Education for International Mindedness: Faculty Professional Development

Over this past weekend we have enjoyed two great days of professional development at Seisen lead by two very experienced and knowledgeable IB PYP workshop leaders - Ms. Debbie Tai currently working in Hong Kong and Ms. Natalie Kunst currently based in Melbourne.

Ms. Debbie Tai and Ms. Natalie Kunst
It's been a fantastic opportunity to explore the different facets of International-Mindedness and to examine how as a faculty we can better embed practices to support and foster its development. We examined our beliefs and values related to International-Mindedness and our understandings of this complex concept were challenged and extended!
Debbie and Natalie share their experiences and expertise with Seisen faculty
Together we analysed our current practices and teachers worked in grade level teams to plan learning engagements to support the development of International-Mindedness within units of inquiry and between single subject teaching and our units. We brainstormed ways that we can strengthen our practices in this area at a whole-school level and gained knowledge of resources and strategies we can use in teaching and learning.

Homeroom and single-subject teachers work together to plan our next steps
Now we are looking forward to implementing our learning from this vibrant and thought-provoking workshop in the elementary school!

Teachers reflect on the two day IB Workshop
Listen to the wonderful TED talk, below, by Nigerian author, Chimamada Ngozi Adichie who highlights the issues with forming generalisations based on limited understanding of other cultures. She illustrates the importance of exposing students to multiple 'stories', multiple perspectives and multiple voices. We aim to do more of this at Seisen!