In many schools around the world, you would expect to see year 6 students in a classroom, sitting in their desks as they passively listen to a lesson by their teacher. This is not the case at NIST. On Tuesday, 26 April, it was the students who were presenting and engaging with gathered teachers, parents and peers at the annual Primary Years Programme (PYP) Exhibition.
The culmination of the PYP programme, this exhibition allows students to choose projects they feel passionate about and present them to the community. By focusing on the story, inspiration and creative process behind their work, the students communicate the full story behind the projects and not just the end product. This promotes involved discussion between the artist and observer, creating a deeper understanding and connection that both can use to learn from and grow.
But how can we expect this from 10-year-old students? This level of responsibility and freedom of choice is often considered too much for children at that age to handle, particularly in traditional schools. But by demonstrating their understanding of the task at hand, as well as their critical and creative thinking skills, the students proved the validity of the International Baccalaureate (IB) philosophy, which emphasizes experiential learning and inquiry.
At the opening ceremony, two older students in the Diploma Programme also presented their advanced projects: a musical composition and art pieces. Both, easily the match of professional work, embodied the inspiration and creativity of the artists. Describing the process they went through, the students provided a glimpse into the high level of expectation and complexity demanded by the higher levels of the IB.
The parallels between the young students and their older peers offers a glimpse at what is possible at the height of the IB programme, showing what the PYP students can strive for and aim to achieve. The exhibition offers students and parents the chance to see the vision and goals of the IB programme in action, and recognize how it consistently challenges students to develop skills, confidence and resilience. If education aims to meet the challenges of the new century, it is this kind of learning that must continue to grow in our schools and communities.