Commitment to a Holistic Education

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IS Belgrade

Ryan Bollhorn - Future Learning Coordinator/Technology Integration Specialist

ISB’s commitment to developing programs that support a holistic education is an essential component of our curriculum. Academics, sports and CCA’s, social and emotional learning, student leadership and service are at the core of ISB’s learning program. Within that framework, we look to implement value-added programs that benefit all learners through choice, agency and the development of 21st-century skills (the IB’s Approaches to Learning). 

ISB’s Flexible Learning Experience is a perfect example of this type of program. Season 1 of the FLEX Program has just wrapped up with years 3-10 engaging in an inquiry-based activity. Students worked in groups to develop an educational game based on the environment. Learners could choose what area of the environment they wished to focus on and the type of game they felt would engage their audience best. The framework for this program has children working within the five dimensions of learning (creative, moral, social, entrepreneurial and experiential). At the end of the project, students assess themselves against a set of Approaches to Learning skills (thinking, research, communication, social and self-management skills). The use of self-assessment means that students recognize and look at how they can transfer essential skills into other curriculum areas. This whole-school approach means all students see how they have used these skills during the 10-week project. 

Moving forward, we will continue to develop the FLEX Program to offer students more choice in the activities and projects they wish to engage in during the 65-minute session each week. Season 2 will provide students with a chance to develop a service-learning project that partners groups of learners with organizations looking to help improve an aspect of our local and global community. Again, choice and agency are an integral part of the project, allowing students to pursue a project they deem necessary.

Learner feedback on the first season of the FLEX program was extremely positive, with students enjoying the freedom to choose the product they could make and having a chance to work in a collaborative environment. The types of games students came up with were diverse, and all helped educate their peers on specific aspects of our environment. The final session of the season had students share their games with their class. To showcase the students’ learning, we have created a virtual exhibition showing the diverse range of games made and the students’ assessment of how they benefited from the program.

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