PYP Exhibition Highlights Student Creativity

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.


View more photos of the PYP exhibition on Zenfolio.

World-Renowned Buddhist Monk Speaks at NIST

​While Thailand and much of Asia share a rich Buddhist tradition, its philosophy and perspectives have only made stronger inroads in the West over the last century. One of the driving forces behind its growth is Ajahn Brahmavamso Mahathera, better known as Ajahn Brahm, a British monk whose journey led him from the study of theoretical physics to the establishment of the first dedicated Buddhist monastery in the Southern Hemisphere. On 17 February his travels brought him to ​NIST, where he spoke to students, parents and staff on the importance of mindfulness and service. Interspersed with humor and personal anecdotes, his talks served as a reminder of the universal importance of empathy and reflection.

Born in London in 1951, Peter Betts was a bright student who earned a scholarship to Cambridge, where he studied theoretical physics. With a passion for understanding the universe and our place in it, he followed his formal education with an unusual choice: traveling to Thailand to study Buddhism. Ordained as Ajahm Brahm, he quickly became recognized for his sharp mind and was invited to to Australia to teach. Within a few years he had co-founded Bodhinyana Monastery, now the largest Buddhist community in Australia. Over the past three decades Ajahm Brahm has spoken to crowds around the globe, and in 2004 received the John Curtin Medal, granted by Curtin University to those who demonstrate “vision, leadership and community service”.

During his visit to NIST, he drew upon his wide range of experiences in speaking to students, emphasizing how service plays a crucial role in bettering society. On an individual level he described how mindfulness, an awareness of one’s thoughts on a moment-by-moment basis, can help us become more balanced and reflective. During a smaller session with environmental science students, he focused on their question of the value of nature from a religious perspective. NIST parents also had the opportunity to engage with Ajahm Brahm in an evening session, where he touched on his personal experiences and answered questions from the audience.

Like most other not-for-profit schools in Thailand, NIST does not adhere to any one creed or philosophy. However, our community respects the many rich traditions our shared cultures have passed down for generations, and also recognizes the value they offer. In a world that increasingly faces conflict within cultures, being compassionate toward others and reflecting on choices are critical for students as they move on to universities and careers. Only through mindful awareness and a willingness to grow will they be capable of meeting the many challenges of the 21st century.

For more information about Ajahm Brahm’s work, visit ​www.ajahnbrahm.org. To learn more about how mindfulness benefits students, visit mindfulnessinschools.org.

CIS Recognizes NIST Graduate with International Student Award

International-Student-Award-Winner-Chakrapoj-Bos-ChitwannapaThe Council of International Schools, one of the three organizations through which NIST International School is accredited, recognizes a small number of students worldwide each year with the International Student Award. Acknowledging the contributions of those who have “demonstrated a clear commitment to sustained interaction with students of the other nationalities, languages or ethnic backgrounds in a spirit of international understanding and cooperation”, the award encourages students to reach out to others in their communities, identify issues, and initiate creative, sustainable solutions. This year Chakrapoj (Bos) Chitwannapa, a member of the Class of 2014, became one of only a small number of students worldwide to receive the award.

As described on the CIS award page, “Bos travelled to Maeramit Village in Om Goi District as part of a CAS trip where he participated in the preliminary stage of community development. This has helped him gain first-hand experience in learning about development and applying development tools in a rural village environment. Bos did some excellent work facilitating the needs analysis process, and the school was impressed with the leadership he has shown. Bos will continue to work on the project with other NIST students and teachers, as well as with other schools, so as to help form a development project that will benefit the village in a sustainable and beneficial way.”

Congratulations, Bos, and we wish you luck as you leave NIST and begin a new journey in university!