These are commonly heard responses from students in the documentary
film Most Likely to Succeed, about the shortcomings
of traditional approaches to education in the 21st century. In the
film, the students were asked if traditional education succeeds in
preparing them for their futures.
Through interviews with students and graduates, the documentary explores how the conventional approach to teaching and learning in school reinforces knowledge, whereas life requires experience. It examines how a traditional school environment doesn’t provide the tangible skills needed in most jobs.
Many are simply unable to give an affirmative answer to the question, "Does a traditional high school education prepare students for life?"
And this is why ISB doesn’t limit itself to what a traditional high school education may be.
In our High School, we nurture the talents of our students and help
them develop their skills through authentic, real-world learning
experiences that ensure they are engaged members of society – both
during their time at the school and when they graduate.
Rather than focus solely on tests and exams, we define success as a student’s sense of integrity, empathy, and teamwork. Our education prepares young people for achievement and success in whatever future direction they choose.
One of the most important aspects of education and in the real world is choice – in how and in what we learn.
"Student choice and authenticity make a difference in whether students find work boring and perceive it as just a series of hoops to jump through versus them actually wanting to do the work. Student choice creates the difference between whether students can see work is relevant to their lives and to the world, or whether it just feels like something they have to do for a grade."
--- Ruth Poulsen, our Assistant Director of Learning
Through the International Baccalaureate (IB), forward-thinking curriculum and co-curricular activities, students not only have choice in their learning, but also the opportunity – and freedom – to explore their interests.
Students across the school take part in work that is authentic, relevant, and engaging. Whether it's helping to understand the big picture through the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or leveraging the rich history and amazing context of living in Beijing, students at ISB are connecting with the world around them.
In addition to academics and co-curricular activities, we also encourage our students to get involved in the community.
Through service projects and community groups, students get to pursue their interests and develop real-life skills through learning that utilizes different academic subjects.
The 21st century is one of change and ambiguity, and we continuously review our curriculum, approaches to learning, and facilities to make sure they are equipped to respond to these changes and teach students the necessary skill sets required to thrive in tomorrow’s society.
From our curriculum to our facilities, from individual student experiences to our school-wide culture and community, these skills are embedded in everything at ISB.
In a traditional school environment, rigor is defined as pushing students to their intellectual limits; academics that are exhaustive, demanding, and difficult, a curriculum that ultimately leads to stressed-out students.
At ISB, we’re moving away from the traditional understanding of rigor and redefining it to be embraced rather than feared by our student body.
When we say academic rigor, we want people to understand the difference between difficulty and complexity, to see the importance of student choice, and have access to an innovative curriculum.
"Rigor at ISB sees students interested in solving these deeply complex problems and part of that comes from us providing them with enough authenticity in the way that we frame the tasks and also student choice."
--- Ms. Poulsen, our Assistant Director of Learning
Throughout a student’s post-secondary experience and career, rigor is experienced within everything they do. This is why we’re committed to enriching our curriculum with a sense of complexity and transferability to equip them with the skills necessary to succeed in their life.
In our new eBook, we explore our mission to redefine rigor and what this looks like at ISB.
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