Students in today’s interconnected world need to have an educational experience that goes beyond the acquisition of information. Instead, they need to truly become knowledgeable — which is distinctly different from having knowledge or understanding basic facts.
Knowledgeable students are able to identify and understand issues from both a global and local perspective. They must be given opportunities to learn about the world through the lenses of various disciplines. This multidisciplinary approach allows students to uncover their strengths, personalise their learning experience and learn to think critically as they solve problems in their daily lives.
What Makes a Student Knowledgeable?
According to the IB Learner Profile, a knowledgeable student is one who critically explores concepts that have both a local and global significance. As they explore these important ideas and issues, they begin to develop a broad range of knowledge across many disciplines, and they reach beyond the surface.
For example, in the “How the World Works” Unit of Inquiry, our Primary students study the concept of structures and how multiple factors must be considered during the design phase. As an extension of the unit, students are required to work together to complete a new structure that others in the school community could use. Previously, students have set to work building dollhouses that can be used in the Early Childhood classroom, or they have used recycled materials to design shade structures for the playground facilities.
Another example of transdisciplinary learning is Maths Morning at OWIS, an annual event where students from Early Childhood, Primary school and Secondary school in Singapore explore the subject from the perspectives of different lenses – such as famous mathematicians over the ages, the Golden Ratio in Science, and the richness of data in Geography. At each age and grade level, students enjoyed different activities that appealed to their diverse learning styles and reinforced Maths concepts.
How We Help Students to Become Knowledgeable at OWIS
Recognising that students need to become knowledgeable to pursue their passions and achieve success later in life, we actively work to build this trait in all of our students. We help our students become more knowledgeable by:
- Incorporating the inquiry cycle into all Units of Inquiry. The inquiry cycle is a step-by-step guide that students and teachers can use to process information and transform that information into in-depth knowledge. The cycle ends with students learning how to take action based on the information they have learned.
- Encouraging collaboration and student-driven learning. As an international school, we understand that all our students bring diverse knowledge and ways of working to the table. By creating opportunities for collaboration in class, our students get to share this knowledge and learn from each other at a peer-to-peer level. Furthermore, we give students voice and choice in different aspects of their learning, and this allows them to research topics or take up tasks that interest them.
- Offering differentiated learning. At OWIS, we endeavour to cater to different learning styles. For instance, we often create opportunities for outdoor learning for our students, which is a refreshing change of scenery from classroom learning and works wonders for reinforcing concepts.
- Creating a culture of kindness. No answer is wrong in our classes and all students are given an opportunity to participate in a way that is comfortable for them.
- Hiring teachers that are trained in the IB approach. Our teachers encourage inquiry and discussion within the classroom, and rather than looking at mistakes through a punitive lens, they use these mishaps as opportunities for further learning.
- Celebrating student achievements in the Learner Profile. The Learner Profile consists of various traits, such as being knowledgeable, communicators, principled and thinkers. Whenever a student enjoys success with one of these traits, we recognise and celebrate them.
Find Out More About the IB Learner Profile Today
At OWIS, we are proud of the fact that our students become well-rounded and well-adapted individuals who are ready to succeed in a global economy. Part of this is because we emphasise the development of the IB learner profile in both Primary and Secondary school.
For more information about the IB Learner Profile and to discover how this approach could benefit your child, schedule a virtual tour at our Suntec or Nanyang Campus.
This blog was originally written in collaboration with Jasween Gill, former Admissions and Communications Director, OWIS Nanyang and Suntec.