Sunday, October 23, 2016

PYP Coffee Morning - Developing Global Mindedness

At Seisen Elementary this year we are running a year-long inquiry into Global Mindedness.  As a school from grades 1-6 we are exploring the central idea of Developing understanding of other people's beliefs, values and needs can promote global mindedness.  Throughout the year we will be embedding this conceptual understanding into all units of inquiry and will plan assemblies and special events to celebrate the different cultures represented at Seisen.
Parents attending our first PYP Coffee Morning of the year.

This morning we had a small workshop with several parents to explore the idea of global mindedness and to discuss how we develop the concept at Seisen.  We started by looking at the students' ideas about what it means to be globally minded before looking at the iceberg model of culture.  In this model, the visible aspects of culture are represented at the 'tip of the iceberg'.

We talked about how, although these aspects at the 'tip' are very important, we want our students to delve deeper into the 'invisible' or 'hidden' aspects of culture.  Quite often the aspects on the 'tip' of the iceberg (e.g. fashion) are connected to some deeper core belief (e.g. concept of beauty), as explained here (from 1:50 in the video) by Sonal from Grade 6.
We examined the Programme of Inquiry and identified opportunities where these deeper aspects of cultural understanding could be developed.  We then moved onto talking about mother-tongues of students and discussed whether students should be allowed to use their mother tongue in school or not.  It's a very emotive topic and there are arguments for both sides! The IBO require Seisen to 'support mother tongue and host country language learning' (IBO PYP Standards and Practices, Standard A7b) and there is a lot of research about first language literacy and its importance in the teaching of English as a second language.  However, we acknowledged that this can often lead to students being excluded from conversations and groups if they aren't able to communicate in a specific language. During the year, as a faculty, we will be exploring these ideas and will communicate the use of mother tongue and English more clearly in our Language Policy, which will be available for parents, teachers and students. 

We would like to thank the parents who attended the Coffee Morning today for their valuable contributions to our conversations.  Below are the slides from the Coffee Morning.

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