The arts at NIST provide students with the opportunity to explore their own personal interests, beliefs and values, and to engage in a personal artistic journey. The arts are a universal form of human expression and a unique way of knowing that engage us in effective, imaginative and productive activities. Both independently and collaboratively, students at all ages are encouraged to participate in creative processes through which they can communicate ideas and express feelings, making personal connections with the world in which they live.
Through music, drama and the visual arts in the younger years, active responding and creating encourage students to become more mindful of their own artistic development and the role that arts play in the world. Learning through the arts helps them to explore, shape and communicate their sense of identity and individuality. As students mature, the arts provide an opportunity for age-appropriate and holistic development of the social, emotional, intellectual and personal intelligences of the student.
Design-focused teaching and learning experiences challenge students to be curious, ask questions, explore, and interact with the environment physically, socially and intellectually to construct meaning and refine their understanding. In addition to design as a discrete subject in the MYP and DP, the use of structured inquiry in all three programmes promotes design thinking, problem-solving and inquiry. Design is the link between innovation and creativity, taking students’ thoughts and exploring the possibilities and constraints associated with products or systems, allowing them to redefine and manage the generation of further thought through prototyping, experimentation and adaptation.
The learning and application of well-established design principles and processes are the core of design in the MYP, and are known as the design cycle. The Diploma Programme design technology course aims to develop internationally minded people whose enhanced understanding of design and a technological world can facilitate shared guardianship of the planet, creating a better world. The course aims to develop a high level of design literacy by enabling students to develop critical thinking and design skills, which they can apply in a practical context.
Individuals & Societies (Social Studies)
The humanities and social sciences, known as individuals and societies, lie at the center of a global education, and throughout their time at NIST students visit and revisit core concepts related to humanity and the relationship between individuals, groups and their world. These experiences aim to develop a global mindset, including empathy and an understanding of differences, which will allow them to not only function in their future communities, but also actively enrich them.
The study of individuals and societies encourages learners to respect and understand the world around them and equips them with the necessary skills to inquire into historical, contemporary, geographical, political, social, economic, religious, technological and cultural factors that have an impact on individuals, societies and environments. In all programmes there is a focus on the development of critical and creative thinking skills that students can eventually apply in a wide variety of areas of interest and careers.
Language acquisition for most students means the learning of an additional language which is not English or their mother tongue. For students who start at NIST with a limited fluency in English may first focus on developing English as the language of instruction. However, they will increasingly study an additional Language B with the aim of developing an inquiring, reflective approach to language learning.
The lifelong skills of listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing and presenting are developed through language acquisition in all three programmes, and students are encouraged to gain competence in an additional language with the long-term goal of multilingualism. Through studying other languages, they develop an awareness and understanding of the perspectives of people from other cultures. The knowledge, skills and attitudes that students develop in language acquisition courses provide a meaningful foundation for these further studies, as well as the world of work in global economies and international business.
Language & Literature
All three programmes at NIST value language as central to the development of identity, critical thinking and conceptual development. The language and literature (Language A) programme encourage students to achieve bilingualism in their language learning by gaining a deeper understanding of language and how to use it effectively. Language helps build intercultural understanding and supports us in becoming internationally minded and responsible members of local, national and global communities. In addition to studying one language in language acquisition (a Language B), students also study another at a higher level of fluency in the Language A (language & literature) programme.
For most students this will be English, some may also be able to study their mother tongue as a Language A provided by the school, or through one offered through the fee-paid Community Languages Programme. The six skill areas of listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing and presenting are developed throughout the three IB programmes. We believe that mastery of one or more languages enables each student to achieve their full linguistic potential, developing an appreciation of the nature of language and literature, of the many factors that influence it, and of its power and beauty. Furthermore, language and literature incorporates creative processes, and encourages the development of imagination and creativity through self-expression.
The aim of math at NIST is that students become competent users of the language of mathematics and begin to use it as a way of thinking, as opposed to seeing it as a series of facts and equations to be memorized. Learners are taught to acquire mathematical understanding by constructing their own meaning through increasing levels of abstraction, starting with an exploration of their own personal experiences, understandings and knowledge. In the PYP and MYP particularly, maths is used in real-life situations and taught in relevant, realistic contexts.
Mathematics is valued not only for its beauty but also for its usefulness in helping us to understand how the world works and for providing us with a unique way to communicate. Mathematics is an essential tool for transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary inquiry. Teaching and learning experiences challenge students to be curious, ask questions, and explore and interact with the environment physically, socially and intellectually. Through engaging in this process, students are able to construct meaning about mathematics concepts, transfer this meaning to symbols and apply mathematical understanding in familiar and unfamiliar situations.
Personal, Social, Health & Physical Education
A core aim at NIST is the development of the knowledge, skills and attitudes that students need in order to achieve personal and collective well-being. Physical activity and health are of central importance to human identity and global communities. They create meaningful connections among people, nations, cultures and the natural world, and they offer a range of opportunities to build intercultural understanding and appreciation. Health and physical education courses aim to encourage students to find and pursue activities which are of personal interest continues into the diploma years where each student is expected to sustain physical activity outside the curriculum as part of the Diploma Programme CAS component.
Additionally, the personal benefits of this subject and the belief that physical activity should be enjoyable, there is also an academic component throughout the programmes. MYP physical and health education courses, in combination with MYP sciences, help specifically to prepare students for the study of sports, exercise and health science in the IB Diploma Programme (DP). The knowledge, skills and attitudes that students develop in physical and health education courses also provide a meaningful foundation for further study and help to prepare students for careers in related fields.
Science within the IB programmes encourages inquiry, curiosity and ingenuity. Learners should develop an understanding of the resources of a rapidly-changing scientific and technological society and how to use those resources wisely. The international dimension of science is stressed throughout the curriculum so that students develop an appreciation that science requires open-mindedness and freedom of thought transcending gender, political, cultural, linguistic, national and religious boundaries. Students are also engaged with the complexities, intricacies and beauty of science, which arouses their curiosity and heightens their learning.
Ethical issues are crucial to science at NIST and students of all ages reflect on the ethical, social, economic, political, cultural and environmental implications of using science to solve specific problems. Learning through investigation is stressed so that students construct meaning by designing, conducting and reflecting on scientific investigations. Understanding the scientific process through hands-on experience, inquiry, and critical thinking, enables students to connect science to other areas of life. All this is done with the expectation that science is a collaborative undertaking.
The Thai Studies course aims to help students gain a better understanding of the country in which they live and will help them enjoy the opportunity of studying in Thailand. The course is also designed to give information about Thailand: its people and their way of living, history, geography, survival language, art, handicraft, culture, and customs. It aims to promote intercultural understanding and respect for Thai values and traditions. The IB learner profile and philosophy are integral to teaching and learning Thai studies at NIST, as it represents the qualities of effective learners and internationally minded students. Thai studies learning takes place in the PYP and MYP to ensure that Thai culture can be appreciated, and wider perspectives can be embraced. Students learn best when Thai studies is an integral part of their every-day life at school and at home. It offers an effective vehicle for opening up dialogue between school and home, making learning more relevant to the child and, therefore, more effective and enduring.
At certain milestone year levels at NIST, students are asked to consolidate their past learning into large projects. These projects serve to demonstrate their knowledge and skills across all subject areas, as well as their ability to synthesize and critically assess content. By fulfilling these requirements, students not only demonstrate their readiness for further study, but also gain confidence and social skills through the community-based aspects of each project.
The NIST Curriculum
The PYP at NIST combines social and academic learning, as both equally contribute to future success. While the programme integrates all subjects within the IB units of inquiry, it also incorporates distinct subject-based lessons and learning opportunities outside the classroom.
NIST's MYP is recognized as one of the most progressive worldwide, often leading other schools in piloting new programmes and focusing heavily on service-based learning, the incremental mastery of key skills and reflection.
The DP is the culmination of NIST's academic programme, tying together all previous learning and preparing students for future studies in universities around the world. Based on DP exam results, NIST students excel far above global averages.
Additional High School Courses
Rather than pursue the full IB Diploma, a small number of NIST students choose to enroll in a combination of IB and standard NIST High School Courses in order to earn individual IB course certificates.
Open to high school students, the GCD allows students to reflect on their learning experiences at NIST and in their own lives, and be formally recognized for their accomplishments in areas not traditionally measured through grades.