Keystone Magazine - Page 64

Interview Q: What is experiential learning? Can you elaborate on how Keystone will implement experiential learning into its curriculum? A: Oxfam says that experiential education is about being aware, being moved and being involved. We want our students to experience these three values from their education at Keystone. So while experiential learning is already built into the IPC and IB, we are also building experiential learning elements into every single grade level and domain of the school. And we are doing it in our own, unique way. In particular, we are linking this method of learning to our Chinese Thread1. Our teachers, both international and local, are trained to implement experiential learning and encourage students to lead inquiry themselves. Students will learn how to get involved by forming opinions and thinking critically about issues, whatever they may be. It’s important for students to understand how to learn, critically evaluate between dialogue and discussion, and form their own judgments. And they will eventually do all of this independently. Higher-level thinking will start from foundation year onwards through high school. School should be a place for experimentation and play, not just pressure and stress of learning. Students should wake up excited to go to school in the morning. So how do you develop a school that does that for students? One that makes them want to show up in the morning? For instance, when I went swimming one time in Beijing, I saw three toddlers from France. They were splashing in the pool. They were all decked out, wearing yellow floaters, and pink and blue swim trunks. They had a kick board, water pistols, funny hats, and basically every kind of floating device that you could imagine. They were jumping in the pool and having the time of their lives. Were they learning how to swim? Not yet. But they were learning to love being in the water. And they were supported in the water in all different ways, with lots of different toys to keep them afloat! This is what we want to accomplish with Keystone’s education; we want to encourage our students to love doing what they are doing, and provide many different kinds of support, so that when they are ready to actually learn a skill and acquire the rigorous knowledge of a domain they will want to jump in feet first. In every single grade level and domain, we will look at how we can provide these supports. The reality of the world we live in is that it is so fluid – it transforms itself from one day to the next. The result is that we educators face a new challenge in envisioning our students’ future careers, in fields that possibly do not yet exist. That’s why we need to provide a curriculum that prepares students with skills that enable them to learn with flexibility and adaptability. Our aim is to develop in them the necessary foundational supports that will encourage both creative and self-directed learning, so that they can fully participate in constructing their own distinctive futures. 1: The Chinese Thread represents Keystone’s curricular focus on the literature, history, culture and identity of China and its contribution to the world. It will inspire in Keystone students a love for learning, respect for their own tradition and cultural differences and a passion for high-level scholarship. Sally Booth at Keystone campus in the early stages of construction 62 The Keystone Magazine