Do we want to be the best school in the world? We want to be the best school FOR the world.
As the world’s problems become more complex and the opportunities more competitive, we need to develop our students’ values, attitudes and attributes so they are future ready for the world.
How are British School Muscat doing this?
• Learning Ethos: Identifying the type of students we want to develop with our Learning Ethos
• Discovery Learning: Bringing our Learning Ethos into teaching and learning with Discovery Learning
• BSM’s Learning Ethos
We started by identifying the type of student we want to develop; with the skills they need to succeed beyond school.
We want to develop our students as: Secure individuals, resourceful learners and respectful contributors so that they are future ready for our rapidly changing world. To face challenges that are increasingly complex and opportunities that are more competitive than ever before, they need to be creative, innovative and resilient.
We call this the BSM Learning Ethos. This Learning Ethos now underpins all that we do. Our parents have noticed. Visitors to the school have noticed. In the 2013 “Pre BSM Learning Ethos” Parent Survey, 80% of parents thought we “prepared their child for the future”. By 2017 this figure had increased to 92%. By 2018 to 93%. A number of visitors to the school over the past year have described our students as “kind, generous and quietly confident.”
• Discovery Learning: How our Learning Ethos has impacted our curriculum. As students moved from Foundation Stage to Year 1, the active learning that characterized success in Foundation Stage was lost in the more formal curriculum of Key Stage 1. If the principles underpinning effective learning in EYFS were applied to the design of the Year 1 curriculum, we felt students’ growth and learning would accelerate. In this way the BSM Learning Ethos could also be used to drive the redesign of the year 1 curriculum.
In September 2016, Year 1 students could choose to face learning challenges in one of 4 workshops; construction, science, mathematics and writing. Phonics, literacy and numeracy were still taught in a more formal way and there were specialist lessons in PE, Music, Arabic and Computing. For other subjects progress was monitored as students explored learning challenges across the workshops.
By June 2017 we could see an immense improvement in student engagement and progress on the previous year. For example, the number of children working within and above age related expectations in writing increased from 52% in 2016 to 88% in 2017.
By September 2017 “Discovery learning” was embedded across the primary school. Projects embracing the BSM Learning Ethos enable connections between subjects, curiosity, higher order thinking, creativity, innovation and deeper learning. The Learning Ethos is now becoming established in the Senior School.
Our work is gaining the attention of other schools through social media and conferences, and we have been delighted to share our innovation with other practitioners.