When the rebel becomes the norm…

At International School of Ho Chi Minh City, we are very proud of our #rebelalliance and are blessed with a leadership team that constantly pushes, provokes, and celebrates our thinking and learning and teaching.

As a learning community we are proud of our innovative approaches to learning and teaching,  our open learning spaces, our culture of thinking and cherish our culture of “Why?”

Studio5This year there has been a spotlight on Studio 5. This was our bold move this year and the action that took place in response to Sam Sherratt (@sherrattsam ) and Kurtis Peterson (@peterson_kurtis ) wondering  “What if?” .

Over these past 8 months,  we have enjoyed the spotlight, appreciated the support from afar and have happily shared our successes, challenges and thinking. We have been proud that our own learning has provoked much needed conversation about the change needed in schools and this in turn has reaffirmed our belief in what we are trying to do.

Although a Studio 5 Advisor, I also wear the hat of PYP Coordinator, so although I dedicate 10+ periods of my week to Studio 5, I also attend planning meetings, have numerous corridor coversations and try to spend as much time as I can with learners throughout the school. During my time outside of the Studio 5 hub, I’ve had this uneasy feeling, this nagging-doubt that has driven my thinking and reflections.

Is what have been so busy promoting and focused in Studio 5 really so special?

I went back to our documentation, our evidence of thinking and our reflections and pulled out some the elements of what we think makes Studio 5 so special:

  • Students leading their own learning
  • Students managing their own timetables, schedules and priorities.
  • Students seeking experts from the community to support, mentor and guide
  • Student organised field trips
  • Advisors available to guide and support the cycle of ‘Choose-Act-Reflect’
  • CAR time
  • Student written Evaluations of Learning
  • Student organised and run workshops for their peers
  • Voice, choice, ownership
  • Entrepreneurship

Over the past few months, as I have visited classrooms and corridors this is what I’ve been observing, hearing and feeling:

Grade 4:

  • Students commiting to taking action from their learning and making ‘pitches’ to members of the community to support and advocate for their ideas towards supporting the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Students visiting Smile Cafe and committing to supporting our local community
  • ‘Agency days’ which provides time and choice for students to schedule their priorities, setting goals and scheduling their day.
  • Students having time and support to have a dedicated CAR time to discuss their goals and conference with mentors.
  • Students self and peer assessing against the ATL skills.
  • Student written Evaluations of Learning.
  • Students planning their own inquiry, having voice, choice and ownership of  their learning through their Unit of Inquiry.