Future of Learning; Personal Projects; Michaela Jung
In a recent World Economic Forum report, it was stated that an estimated 65 percent of students entering school today will have jobs that do not yet exist. For us as educators, this raises the question of how we prepare our students for the future and how relevant our approaches to learning at BBIS are.
We know that certain skills, like finding, analysing and solving problems are key to being successful. Looking back at our school year, I would like to highlight some of the great moments of learning that illustrate how we are moving in the right direction.
This year, secondary students interviewed students and teachers in the primary school to find out what new “hardware” they would like to introduce in their classrooms. After analysing their needs, the students designed shelves and other useful furniture for them. They were very proud that the designs they had developed filled a need and that the primary students were so happy to have them.
Designing projects with a real purpose is an approach that is particularly evident in our grade 10 students’ many excellent Personal Projects. One student came up with the idea to store wind energy overflow in individual people’s homes, and then registered his idea as a patent. Another student taught girls how to code as part of a campaign to encourage more young women to think about a career in software design. We believe that allowing students to follow their passions by creating their own projects is a great way to learn and to help them identify problems that are worth solving.
Learning how to Learn
In the past year, we continually encouraged our students to analyse their thinking processes in relation to real life projects. In one instance involving the language and arts classes in grade 7, students created a Living Art Museum for the BBIS community, which explored painters’ personalities, techniques and cultural contexts in a way that was engaging for all. In another project with the Charité University Hospital in Berlin, grade 8 and 9 students had the opportunity to experience how scientists work and research diseases with the aim of finding cures. And in an interdisciplinary project in grade 8, students collected data during fitness tests in PE, which they analysed in Mathematics to formulate conclusions about their fitness levels. Then, together with their peers and PE teachers, they came up with a plan of how to improve their fitness, based on the analysis.
Collaborating with Others
Engaging or working with people who have different perspectives and finding ways to collaborate, is another important skill we want to develop in our students. At BBIS, students from more than 65 different nationalities are used to learning how to listen to each other and to work together every day. Projects like the Model United Nations unit allow our students to also think about global challenges, like child labour or environmental issues, and to present solutions. As part of the MUN project, our grade 7 students even skyped with Dr. Salah Hussein Mandil, former Director of Telemedicine at the WHO.
Throughout this school year, our students have had many very varied activities and fantastic learning opportunities, whether they were related to their musical, athletic, or artistic talents; academic interests; or other passions they have developed and explored.
I would like to thank all of you for all your ongoing support, I look forward to seeing some of you during our last assembly next Wednesday!