Whilst senior school has been a quiet place to be this week, I know that so much has been going on in the lives of our wonderful students. Our Year 7, 8, 9 and 10 have been on international and local trips. They have overcome challenges, gained new skills, slept in very unusual places and eaten new foods. They will have spoken in a foreign language, experienced different smells, different cultures and made new friends. They will have played games with children, taught them English and cooked their meals from scratch. This of course is not an exhaustive list and certainly doesn’t include the personal struggles they have had or the emotional moments of defeat and success. It by no means explains in detail the demons fought and the fears conquered. What a wealth of education lies outside the classroom!
Our students, your children, will not be the same children you said goodbye to at the start of the week. The personal growth and social awareness that students have experienced will make them better human beings. I have no doubt after a good meal and a hot bath your children will be full of stories and tales of adventure. So please, I encourage you to listen with intent, ask them questions, engage with their laughter and show your interest in the world they have spent this week in.
It would be remiss of me to not mention the teachers, staff and guards who have embarked on these wonderful trips with your children. Thank you one and all for all you do!
Year 12 Core Week
This week has been Core Week for our Year 12s; a time to review their progress in respect of the core elements of the IB Diploma Programme. The students have been preparing for their Theory of Knowledge presentations with the support of our expert teachers. They have also consolidated the progress they have made with their Extended Essays, meeting with the supervisors to agree on a structure for their essays, completing the Interim Reflection documents required by the IB and making a start on writing up their research ready to submit their initial first draft next week.
The most eagerly awaited aspect of the week was our Year 12 students return to their Bayanihan projects on Wednesday as part of our CAS programme. The time that was spent in schools, orphanages and community centres in January provided our students with a keen sense of local community needs and a strong desire to impact positively on the lives of the communities that they were working alongside. This week, they returned to finalise capital projects to improve infrastructure, providing labour to paint and renovate facilities, purchasing vital supplies and gifting their time and energy to develop relationships with communities all over Manila and beyond that we hope will endure. We were privileged to observe them at work and see the moments of epiphany that come when we least expect them; these are the moments that build character and values and cultivate in our students a belief in the value and importance of
service that will last a lifetime.
We also believe we have an obligation to ensure that our students can survive at a more basic level when they leave us; this is the thinking behind our life skills programme. On Monday students were sewing, ironing shirts, gaining basic electrical skills and acquiring travel tips. These sessions were practical and light hearted, with students addressing an iron as some strange object never before seen and sewing as if with two left thumbs. At the time of going to press, our students are preparing to cook for the IB team and other invited guests on Friday afternoon; the pressure is on! We encourage Year 12 families to ask for demonstrations of these newfound skills at home; you might find it both
interesting and educative.
The focus of our students this week has also been upon the upcoming End of Year 12 exams and their revision should have started in earnest. We have spent time this week reminding our students of what cognitive science tells us about how they should be revising; spaced practice, interleaving and retrieval practices should be the order of the day. We have also revisited some of the key Mindfulness practices the students worked with in Year 11; these are important tools for life not just for exams.
This week captures our IB experience at its best. We maintain our focus on academic excellence while building values and character, a belief in service and a focus on well-being. This is the heart of our vision and mission.
(Written by: Ms Rebekah Russell, Deputy Head)