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Our school values diversity and global citizenship, which is reflected in the enrollment of our student body representing more than 14 countries and 12 primary languages spoken in the student’s homes.
America, Bangladesh, Cambodia, U.K., Thailand, Nigeria, India, USA, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia, China, Spain, Korea, Philippines, Kasakhstan
The faculty believes that every child is intelligent (Gardner, 2011) albeit in different ways. Therefore students at CIA FIRST are given opportunities to display their abilities and talents by multiple means. The school is cautious not to confuse Multiple Intelligences with Learning Preferences (Gardner, 1995; White, 2005) but nonetheless acknowledges that students are unique individuals with different backgrounds, beliefs, interests, abilities, and learning styles. In the classroom, teachers endeavour to expose students to content in a multitude of formats in an attempt to facilitate the attainment of the school’s goals via different pathways (Tomlinson, 2014).
CIA FIRST values deep understanding and transfer through performance so therefore has adopted the framework for curriculum planning Understanding by Design (McTighe and Wiggins, 2005). Students’ understanding is measured through authentic performance tasks in addition to the more traditional knowledge and skills tests. Research has indicated that experts organize their knowledge around important concepts (Bransford et al., 2000) so therefore teachers present subject matter framed around big ideas within disciplines and inquiry is facilitated through the use of Essential Questions which spiral through the curriculum.
Based on this philosophy, CIA FIRST has adopted 10 Key Principles of Learning (McTighe, 2015):
1) Learning is purposeful and contextual.
Therefore, students should be helped to see the purpose in what they are asked to learn. Learning should be framed by relevant questions, meaningful challenges, and authentic applications.
2) Experts organize or chunk their knowledge around transferable core concepts (“big ideas”) that guide their thinking about the domain and help them integrate new knowledge.
Therefore, content instruction should be framed in terms of core ideas and transferable processes, not as discrete facts and skills.
3) Different types of thinking, such as classification and categorization, inferential reasoning, analysis, synthesis, and metacognition, mediate and enhance learning.
Therefore, learning events should engage students in complex thinking to deepen their learning.
4) Learners reveal and demonstrate their understanding when they can apply, transfer, and adapt their learning to new and novel situations and problems.
Therefore, teachers should teach for transfer, and students should have multiple opportunities to apply their learning in meaningful and varied contexts.
5) New learning is built on prior knowledge. Learners use their experiences and background knowledge to actively construct meaning about themselves and the world around them.
Therefore, students must be helped to actively connect new information and ideas to what they already know.
6) Learning is social.
Therefore, teachers should provide opportunities for interactive learning in a supportive environment.
7) Attitudes and values mediate learning by filtering experiences and perceptions.
Therefore, teachers should help students make their attitudes and values explicit and understand how they influence learning.
8) Learning is nonlinear; it develops and deepens over time.
Therefore, students should be involved in revisiting core ideas and processes so as to develop deeper and more sophisticated learning over time.
9) Feedback enhances learning and performance.
Therefore, ongoing assessments should provide learners with regular, timely, and user-friendly feedback, along with the opportunity to use it to practice, retry, rethink, and revise.
10) Effectively accommodating a learner’s preferred learning style, prior knowledge, and interests enhances learning.
Therefore, teachers should pre-assess to find out students’ prior knowledge, learning preference, and interests; then differentiate their instruction to address the significant differences they discover
Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., Cocking, R. R. and others. (2000). How people learn. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. [Online]. Available at: http://csun.edu/~SB4310/How%20People%20Learn.pdf [Accessed: 4 September 2015].
Gardner, H. (1995). Reflections on multiple intelligences: Myths and messages. Phi Delta Kappan, 77, p.200–200.
Gardner, H. (2011). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. Basic books. [Online]. Available at: https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=2IEfFSYouKUC&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=Howard+Gardner+multiple+intelligence&ots=3-6N9LXRuW&sig=jFD6MCeMi2t74PNmuqNxGxBxMwg [Accessed: 17 May 2015].
Lave, J. and Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge university press. [Online]. Available at: http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=CAVIOrW3vYAC&oi=fnd&pg=PA11&dq=Lave+and+Wenger,+1991&ots=OBlDrpZLAm&sig=5grAhcbg7RZrmbapl6E2YRswR3Q [Accessed: 5 November 2014].
McTighe, J. (2015). Creating a Curriculum and Assessment System for 21st Century Learning. ASCD.
McTighe, J. and Wiggins, G. (2005). Understanding by Design, Expanded 2nd Edition. Expanded 2nd edition. Alexandria, VA: Pearson.
Piaget, J. (1976). Piaget’s theory. Springer. [Online]. Available at: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-642-46323-5_2 [Accessed: 1 June 2015].
Pritchard, A. (2009). Ways of learning: learning theories and learning styles in the classroom. Abingdon, Oxon; New York, NY: Routledge.
Tomlinson, C. A. (2014). Differentiated classroom: Responding to the needs of all learners. Ascd. [Online]. Available at: https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=CLigAwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=carol+ann+tomlinson&ots=AenknMj7su&sig=n9WEpL1Vqszz-fjgW91DEf3R0j0 [Accessed: 4 September 2015].
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind and society: The development of higher mental processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
White, J. (2005). Howard Gardner: The myth of multiple intelligences. Institute of Education, University of London. [Online]. Available at: http://eprints.ioe.ac.uk/1263/1/WhiteJ2005HowardGardner1.pdf [Accessed: 17 September 2014].
Reflections of a CIA FIRST student
My Experiences with CIA FIRST and CamEd
Now that I am a university student, the differences between being in high school and being in university become more apparent. As an alumnus of CIA FIRST International School, I can not help but feel proud to see how significantly the school has grown in the past years. When I first attended the school, what attracted me most was the friendly and close-knit environment. However, I never expected myself to learn so much from this school.
As a student in CIA FIRST, I learnt so much from my classmates and teachers. From my classmates, I learnt the meaning of friendship, a kind of relationship that ties us all together through thick and thin. Together we suffered through the loads of projects and essays; but, at the same time, it wasn’t so hard because we knew we had each other to lean on. On the other hand, I learnt many new things from each teacher in their respective subject. All those hours of lessons felt like a living hell, but now that I’m a university freshman in CamEd, I’m very grateful that I went through them. Being in university is like another chapter in my life. However, thanks to the teachers who trained and prepared me to become a better learner, being in university isn’t a difficult experience. The amount of essays and projects I did during my senior year was worth the time because, despite being difficult, it challenged me to be better.
In university, learning is not a challenge, but meeting new people is difficult, as I was so used to the close-knit environment of CIA FIRST. Moreover, while studying in CIA FIRST, I was exposed to organizing many events. From them, I learnt the true value of teamwork, which has become very useful in my classes in university. Overall, attending CIA and CamEd are two major steps I have taken in my life. I’m glad I chose to spend my middle school and high school years in CIA FIRST. The school has given me so many memories to cherish and taught me so many things. While now, on the contrary, CamEd is giving me a new environment and teaching me to adapt.