International Educators Talk International Mindedness at ISNS

Sept. 18, 2017

A recent article by Carolyn Savage titled, “International Mindedness – teachers are talking about it, but what exactly is it?” got our Senior Leadership Team thinking. 

How does ISNS promote International Mindedness and how is it seen throughout the IB Programmes (Primary Years Programme: PYP, Middle Years Programme: MYP, and Diploma Programme: DP) at our school? 

One can see, entrenched in the International School of Nanshan Shenzhen (ISNS) mission and core beliefs, our promise to develop globally responsible and compassionate young people while promoting international awareness.

How does ISNS do that you may ask? 

A multicultural community of 32 nationalities, ISNS brings together both the local and global families of our school to celebrate diversity and culture. 

ISNS emphasizes the importance of learning beyond the classroom through service and "Education Outside of the Classroom" trips both in the local community and abroad. From promoting and spreading awareness of poverty and hunger through a whole school 30-hour famine initiative, to supporting local farmers in Mainland China plan and farm tea fields; the goal as a leading IB World School is for ISNS students to understand, respect and appreciate different cultures. 

ISNS hopes to deepen their understanding of global issues, so that our graduates enter the world as open-minded global citizens.

I spoke with the three IB Programme Coordinators at ISNS to discuss how International Mindedness is seen and integrated throughout each programme.

Primary Years Programme (PYP) – Mrs. Emma Stafford 

In the PYP at ISNS we promote International Mindedness by constructing our curriculum in a way that uses the resources and diverse cultures in our school and outside of our school appropriately. We also celebrate the school community throughout the year by creating a school culture that allows students to share their personal cultural values, as well as our host country cultural values. Lastly in PYP at ISNS, we try our best to promote as much student action as we can through our Units of Inquiry which allows for the development of empathy in our students. 

Middle Years Programme (MYP) - Mr. Ernald Boyd 

At ISNS we celebrate International Mindedness (IM) in the MYP through many media. There is a continuous thread of consideration and communicating multiculturalism in our daily lesson plans. This can be seen through both our formative and summative tasks. 

Our teaching community is also increasingly diverse making the concept of International Mindedness a tangible. We have multiple points in the year where activities are based on celebrating our differences and more importantly experiencing them too. Our student community also brings their personal culture into the classroom which naturally fosters the traits of the learner profiles that are integral the IB philosophy.

Diploma Programme (DP) – Mr. Brian Kelley 

As the first IB continuum school in Shenzhen, ISNS believes that International Mindedness is the key to having a truly international education. This idea permeates throughout all three programs: PYP, MYP, and DP. ISNS employs IB educational standards and practices for philosophy, organization, and curriculum that can create and sustain authentic global learning communities.

Multilingualism, intercultural understanding, and global engagement are explored from Grade 1 through Grade 12 curriculums. When students reach the DP, they are keenly aware of their positions as global ambassadors, continuously striving to develop their intercultural understanding and respect for others. 

DP students not only learn from their peers and teachers but are also encouraged to share their cultural background in each of their courses, fostering the importance of different perspectives. More than anything, this approach to teaching and learning allows DP students to build empathy, understanding, and ultimately, knowledge across a variety of contexts about the world they live in.

To read “International Mindedness – teachers are talking about it, but what exactly is it?” by Carolyn Savage click below.