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The GIS Learning Culture | Garden International School Blog

23 Oct 2017

At Garden International School (GIS), we have become increasingly interested in developing and embedding “a learning culture” in our school. This represented the key theme of our book “Enjoy the Journey – Creating a Learning Culture at GIS” that was published in the Apple iBooks store earlier this year. 

Research literature on organisations regularly talks about climate and culture. Climate can and does change. Culture should not. It is often defined as “what we do around here”. An agreed set of norms and values that are followed by everyone in the organisation. Within a school, leaders may move on, the teachers may change over time, but if ideas, values and programs become “cultural” they will endure. We can define the learning culture we are building here as a “A shared belief that we are all learners who can develop and improve, both individually and institutionally through challenging ourselves and others to take risks, develop growth mindset tendencies and to value reflective practices”.

Over the past twelve months we have continued to focus on building our learning culture and have made great strides in doing so. The professional development program we have at GIS has moved from strength to strength and has focused all teachers on being critically reflective on the practise of themselves and others built around a set of individualised professional goals. These help teachers to view themselves as learners and to value reflection and feedback as a powerful driver of learning.

 

GIS Blog Digital Learning Culture

Parents make up a hugely important part of the GIS community and we continue to promote the idea that parents are learners too. The workshop program is now bigger than ever with 60 – 120 parents regularly attending Wednesday morning slots to learn about, and discuss educational issues. These cover a huge array of topics including (but not limited to): using technology in the classroom, student wellbeing, literacy across the curriculum, program design and parenting teenagers. One result of this program has been the creation of a Parent ICT coaching team who are trained by our Digital Learning coaches to support other parents in the use of technology for the learning of themselves and their children. In addition Student Led Parent Teacher Conferences are now being rolled out in the Secondary school so all of our parents can learn first hand what classroom experiences are like at GIS. 

Student learning is at the very heart of what we do and it is this that drives all of the above programs and ideas. Once again it has been an intensely busy year at the school. Our drive towards embedding our learning culture is built around the three elements of our strategic plan: Planning for Learning, Conversations for Learning and Professional Learning. Planning for learning has driven us to further embed our GIS Learner Skills. All subjects across the school have been creating, delivering and reflecting upon “flagship” units that are allowing us to define and embed world leading skills based practices. This is being augmented by our unique Athena software that has been created by the school for students to evaluate their progress against the GIS Learner Skills through a system of cross curricular portfolios and peer review. The skills have also become much more visible around the school. On the walls, in planning and assessment as well in everyday conversations.

Planning for Learning has also allowed to explore, understand and start to embed a backward by Design planning model. This is an approach that will better allow us to plan backwards from our end of school “transfer goals” whilst mapping and tracking student learning from the beginning of school to the end. English and Maths will be the first subjects to be fully mapped across the whole school using this approach. This is exciting and will lead to an improved experience for all of our learners. In May 2017 Garden was named an “Apple Distinguished School” in recognition of learning, leadership and innovation. This builds on our status of having an “Apple Distinguished Program” which was awarded to the school in 2015 for our work on Large Scale Enquiry (LSE). The LSE program has continued to grow and remains a driver of professional development and innovation within the school but it is satisfying to be recognised for its growth and its effect on the Learning Culture at GIS.

Conversations for learning is also a key component of our Learning Culture. Creating and providing spaces for high quality, critically reflective conversations between learners (both adult and children) has been a focus in the last 12 months and will continue to be so moving forward. Coaching has also become something that we do “around here” and is something that we see as an important part of our future development.

The pursuit of creating a genuine learning culture is both worthwhile and important. We will continue to work on all of the above elements as we move into 2017/18 to ensure the culture we create at GIS offers the very best learning opportunities for our students.  

This is GIS Learning Culture.

To download a copy of our iBook “Enjoy the Journey – Creating a Learning Culture at GIS” please click here. Kindly note that the link will only open from iOS device, provided the device has  iTunes U and iBook installed.

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Sixth Form Curriculum: Year 12 & 13
Year 1 & 2

Key Stage 5 (age 16 to 18)

Year 12 & 13 Curriculum

Introduction

The GIS Sixth Form promotes academic excellence in all students, offering international AS and A Level qualifications. These are delivered by outstanding teachers with knowledge and expertise in Key Stage 5 education, who are always ready to go the extra mile to set their students on the path to success.

However, our philosophy of education goes far beyond that. We are proud of our bespoke Sixth Form Diploma which allows students to enrich their studies beyond the formal curriculum, develop leadership skills and nourish a love of learning. In Sixth Form, we recognise the need to equip our students with the soft skills that will prepare them for like beyond our school, and are proud of the opportunities our students have to do this as part of our THRIVE Programme, GIS electives and through our extensive CCA programme.

Underpinning everything we do is our approach of academic care. As well as the care and support of their tutors team, our students complete lessons in Social and Emotional Learning to promote the wellbeing and understanding of others that helps support their success both during their time in GIS and beyond.

As a result of our track record of academic excellence, holistic approach and skills-based education, it is not surprising that GIS Sixth Form students are sought after by the world’s best universities. 

In The Classroom

Taught Curriculum

Students can select from a wide range of A Level subjects which are recognised globally and support our students’ progression to universities in a wide range of countries. These are taught by subject specialists who inspire students to explore their passions and provide rigour and challenge to develop higher-order thinking skills.

A Level
(Cambridge & Edexcel)

Beyond the Classroom

Wider Learning

The range of opportunities that our students benefit from beyond their taught curriculum causes them to really stand out. Our wider learning programme gives students the opportunity to get involved in things that they enjoy, build a sense of community and develop skills that they will use in later life.

Bespoke Learning

GIS Diploma Programme

At GIS, we believe in the importance of a holistic education, which is about more than just achieving fantastic A Levels. We believe it also needs to prepare our students for the future, enabling them to develop a broad knowledge and a wide range of skills. For this purpose, we have developed our curriculum, offering an extensive choice of electives that will help prepare students for the next steps and life beyond school. Our GIS Sixth Formers are given the opportunity to complete the GIS Diploma or the GIS Diploma with Honours.

A GIS Diploma is awarded to students who:

A GIS Diploma with Honours is awarded to students who:

Secondary Curriculum: Year 10 & 11
Year 10 & 11

Key Stage 4 (age 14 & 16)

Year 10 & 11 Curriculum

Introduction

The Secondary School curriculum at GIS focuses on supporting young confident adults to reach their potential, in line with our GIS Learner Skills and our commitment to ensuring academic care for all.

Our Year 10 to 11 (KS4) curriculum is designed to meet the academic, personal and cultural needs of our students and better equip them for future challenges, while at the same time creating enjoyable learning environments that inspire and motivate. Students begin to select courses that appeal to them and follow a broad range of examined and non-examined subjects that prepare them for success both in and out of the classroom. Alongside examined subjects, students follow courses designed to develop them as individuals through Social Emotional Learning and a range of elective subjects. The Year 10 and 11 curriculum creates young adults not only with strong academic credentials but who are also well rounded individuals ready for the next stage of their learning.

Our focus on involvement outside the classroom alongside academic excellence aims to create the opportunity for students to become world changers in both their local and global communities.

In The Classroom

Taught Curriculum

Our KS4 taught curriculum provides students with a balanced yet bespoke programme of study at GIS. At its core is a personalised combination of International GCSE qualifications that all students undertake and enhanced by our elective program. To ensure students are well rounded with successes beyond just academic achievements, the programme offers all students in KS4 a range of bespoke GIS elective courses as well as the study of Social and Emotional Learning. This balanced robust curriculum ensures students are well prepared for our our outstanding GCE (A Level) programme in Key Stage 5 (Years 12-13) or study beyond GIS. As with all other Key stages academic care remains central to our ethos with regular curriculum time allocated to the pastoral system and supported through contact with tutor groups.

Core Subjects

Option Subjects

Beyond the Classroom

Wider Learning

Our KS4 wider curriculum supports students in their engagement, enjoyment and personal personal development as they move through Years 10 and 11. A wide range of activities are available that take place beyond timetabled lessons enable all students to gain engage in our school community and develop as individuals.

Bespoke Learning

GIS Elective Programme

At GIS we believe in the importance of a holistic education that is more than just achieving fantastic IGCSEs: it also needs to prepare you for the future, which requires a broad knowledge and wide range of skills. For this purpose, we have developed our curriculum, offering an extensive choice of electives that will extend learning and help prepare you for your own next steps and life beyond education.

Secondary Curriculum: Year 7 to 9
Year 1 & 2

Key Stage 3 (age 11 to 14)

Year 7 to 9 Curriculum

Introduction

The Secondary School curriculum at GIS focuses on supporting young confident adults to reach their potential, in line with our GIS Learner Skills and our commitment to ensuring academic care for all.

Our Year 7 to 9 (KS3) curriculum is designed to meet the academic, personal and cultural needs of our students and better equip them for future challenges, while at the same time creating enjoyable learning environments that inspire and motivate. Students follow a broad and balanced range of subjects that are linked to the National Curriculum of England and Wales but modified to create courses appropriate for an international education.

Our focus on involvement outside the classroom alongside academic excellence aims to create the opportunity for students to become world changers in both their local and global communities.

In The Classroom

Taught Curriculum

Our KS3 taught curriculum provides students with a broad and balanced approach to study at GIS. A range of subjects are followed that gives learners a solid foundation to build upon in later years and ignite a passion for learning. Alongside delivering strong academic foundations, our KS3 taught curriculum is supported through our academic care provision. Students are supported by one-to-one conversations with subject teachers and tutors about their learning.

Core Subjects

Option Subjects

Beyond the Classroom

Wider Learning

Our KS3 wider curriculum supports students in their engagement, enjoyment and personal development as they move through Years 7 to 9. A wide range of activities are available that take place beyond timetabled lessons enable all students to gain engage in our school community and develop as individuals.

Early Years Curriculum: Nursery & Reception
Nursery & Reception

Early Years Foundation Stage (age 3 & 5)

Nursery & Reception Curriculum

Early Years

Our EYC learning environment, both inside and outside, is well-resourced and offers a wide range of multi-sensory learning opportunities that are linked to the UK Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum. We balance play-based learning with the teaching of fundamental literacy and numeracy skills, PE and music lessons, as well as social and emotional skill development.

Mandarin is taught as an additional language through a combination of discrete teacher-led sessions, and as part of continuous provision, with our outstanding teachers encouraging authentic and natural language acquisition amongst our youngest learners.

Throughout their time at EYC, our young learners have opportunities to follow their interests and take ownership over their learning. This is encouraged through first-hand experiences that create a sense of awe and wonder for children, inspiring them to learn more about the world around them.

Children’s brains develop connections faster in the first five years than at any other time in their lives. This is the time when the foundations for learning, health and behaviour throughout life are laid down. In fact, by the time they turn five 90% of their brain will have been developed.

Our curriculum and approach are designed to ensure that a strong foundation is laid down to support your child’s further development throughout their life.

In The Classroom

Taught Curriculum

Our Early Years offering consists of carefully designed opportunities to learn through play, directed curriculum and wider learning opportunities such as Jungle School, gardening and cooking.

A Unique Child

Prime

Specific

Mandarin

Jungle School Programme

Beyond the Classroom

Wider Learning

Even at EYC, we offer a broad curriculum, with the aim of igniting passions and developing new interests amongst our children. We offer swimming, Water Play Days, Woodwork, Cooking, Trips and CCAs. We also offer our Jungle School programme. Unique to Malaysia, this is a hands-on programme based on the ‘Forest School’ approach in Europe. At Jungle School, our EYC children are able to learn about nature, explore and take risks is a safe and controlled environment and learn to become responsible citizens of the earth who respect and preserve her resources.

Primary Curriculum: Year 3 to 6
Year 3 to 6

Key Stage 2 (age 7 to 11)

Year 3 to 6 Curriculum

Introduction

This stage builds upon the foundations laid in the Early Years and Key Stage 1, preparing children for the next phase of their education. English is taught daily with a strong emphasis on the development of speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. The development of practical, mental and applied mathematics is achieved through our mathematics lessons.

In Years 5 and 6, French and Spanish are added to the World Languages programme. Students can decide to continue learning the Asian language they have been learning or replace this choice with one of the European languages. Either way, they will still have the opportunity to learn the other language as part of the language club programme after school. Homework is provided throughout the school, and is aimed at consolidating skills taught at school and encouraging parents to play an active role in their children’s education.

Children’s progress is assessed throughout Key Stages 1 and 2 to ensure we have a good understanding of their ongoing progress, individual abilities and to ensure their future needs are met.

In The Classroom

Taught Curriculum

The Primary Curriculum follows a topic-based, cross-curriculum approach to learning with the British National Curriculum as it’s foundation. Soft skills are developed through a set of bespoke ‘Golden Threads’ that are carefully interwoven throughout the curriculum.

Subjects taught in our topic curriculum are:

Specialist Teaching subjects are

Beyond the Classroom

Wider Learning

In Year 3 to Year 6 we offer our students wider learning opportunities to encourage them to learn new interests and skills beyond the classroom including:

Primary Curriculum: Year 1 & 2
Year 1 & 2

Key Stage 1 (age 5 to 7)

Year 1 & 2 Curriculum

Introduction

The first key stage of school welcomes children from Early Years into the Primary School and encourages each child to continue their development and maintain the fun, active approach to learning. Information Communication Technology (ICT) is used to support the learning process. Classroom-based learning along with a broad co-curricular programme and education outside the classroom ensure we provide a holistic education for your child.

The majority of learning takes place in the nurturing environment of the classroom facilitated by the classroom teacher and assistant teachers. Specialist teachers support the teaching of Art, Music, ICT and Physical Education. In World Languages, students learn Mandarin or Bahasa Malaysia – the national language, helping them to develop the skills and passion to learn an additional language in depth. Students also have the opportunity to explore other languages as a part of the language club programme which happens after school. Science, History, Geography, Design Technology and Drama are taught through our exciting Topic Curriculum which is underpinned by the ‘Golden Threads’ of Intercultural Learning and Social and Emotional Learning.

GIS utilises both the classroom and education opportunities outside the classroom to provide a programme that develops World Changers. At GIS we believe that our responsibility goes beyond producing outstanding academic results. We are fully committed to providing a holistic, well-balanced education.

In The Classroom

Taught Curriculum

The Primary Curriculum follows a topic-based, cross-curriculum approach to learning with the British National Curriculum as it’s foundation. Soft skills are developed through a set of bespoke ‘Golden Threads’ that are carefully interwoven throughout the curriculum. The subjects taught in our topic curriculum are: English, Science, Mathematics, History, Geography, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Art & Design, Design Technology

Subjects taught in our topic curriculum are:

Specialist Teaching subject are:

Beyond the Classroom

Wider Learning

 

In Year 1 & 2 we offer our students wider learning opportunities to encourage them to learn new interests and skills beyond the classroom including:

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