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Written account on learning

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The written account of learning in Fairview International School

 

Fairview International School has provided me ample opportunities for my professional development in the IB PYP and MYP framework especially Language B (Mandarin). I have developed myself as a good and effective IB Mandarin teacher and a good leader of all 4 Fairview schools in Mandarin subject.

 

Throughout the 2 years in Fairview, I played a role as a Mandarin teacher and global MYP Mandarin head for all Fairview International Schools. I have attended and completed “The Cambridge International Diploma for Teachers and Trainers” in April 2012, IB Middle Year Programme (MYP) Language B workshop in Hong Kong in October 2012, IB MYP Category 2 Language B online workshop in October 2012, ‘The IB Language B (Mandarin) Job alike’ at Beijing World Youth Academy, Beijing on the 15-11-12, ‘Best Practice Leadership Workshop’ in December 2011, Fairview continuous professional development trainings.

(Refer to wordpress, section “Certificates”) and now the school has offered me a scholarship to pursue Master of Arts in Education. I am very eager and enthusiastic to develop a research reference to IB practice which is related to my language B teaching in Fairview.

 

I was assigned by the school to visit 6 IB schools in Hong Kong and 3 IB schools China in October 2012 and November 2012 respectively. I have attended meetings and had discussions with the Mandarin teachers and Mandarin subject heads from various schools about the implementation of 6 learning phases in Language B, the new placement policy in new Language B guide, teaching strategies, designing Language B tasks and exchanging ideas on teaching resources and learning experiences. These schools visits have explored me to the best practices of Language B in Hong Kong and China IB Schools. I managed to establish a long-term networking and relationship with them for exchanging ideas, experience and teaching resources in Language B (Mandarin) teaching and learning. I gained important experiences and have become more confidence and positive in developing Mandarin curriculum in Fairview.

(Refer to wordpress, section: IB schools visits in Hong Kong)

 

From the various workshops, continuous professional development trainings and meetings that I attended internally and externally, I have gained a better and deeper understanding of the current IB philosophical principles as well as pedagogical practices in the MYP framework especially the new Language B Guide. I critically reflected and evaluated the changes of the new Language B guide and the implications of new Language B guide to my unit planning, teaching and learning, and assessment. I have synthesized my learning from these workshops into a prioritized action plans relevant to my school.

One of the action plans that I proposed to school management was the new placement policy in Language B which to place the students in different phases (phase 1-phase 6) based on to their language proficiency and not by the grade levels.

 

We have implemented 6 phases of learning in Language B (Mandarin) in Quarter 2 2012. I designed placement test with my Mandarin team according to the language requirements in new Language B guide. Students sat for their placement test and placed in different phases based on their language proficiency.

 

Before we implemented this, I have discussed and had several meetings with school management to do the student placement arrangement and timetabling by looking at the students statistics in each phase and the teacher allocation for each phase.

(Refer to wordpress, section: Language B Student statistics and language phases)

 

We made some adaptations in classroom arrangement to better utilize the language teachers by grouping the phase 1 students in one class, phase 2 and phase 3 students in one class and the phase 4 and phase 5 students in another class with differentiation in teaching and learning. Another reason of grouping the phase 4 and 5 students together is because the students need to learn the literature text from phase 4 onwards.

 

Teaching and learning in language B is now organized into six phases. The implication of this new placement policy is teachers and students are now more focused on their teaching and learning. The language B objectives are separated into the four communicative processes and are mapped on four corresponding continuums to show clearly the expectations for each phase.

The placement policy which based on language proficiency also provide a clear guideline of the language continuum from PYP to MYP and to DP.

 

As a global Mandarin Head for Fairview, I organised internal continuous professional development trainings for all MYP Mandarin teachers during school holidays and video conferencing on weekly basis.

 

During the trainings and brain-storming sessions, I explored all the Mandarin teachers about the MYP fundamental concepts of the MYP programme, the understanding and awareness of the areas of interaction, the implementation of inquiry based learning and conceptual based learning, strategies to develop and promote international-mindedness and all attributes of the IB learner profile, ways to develop open communication, understanding of the importance of language policy, the new language B framework and requirements, the purposes of assessment in the MYP, the new requirements in Language B assessment and MYP unit planning and how to promote the language learning.

 

I have developed myself as a leader to lead all Mandarin teachers of 4 campuses to achieve IB mission and philosophy that develop student’s intercultural awareness and international-mindedness through learning additional languages in language B. I have become more responsible, proactive and learned to develop curriculum and assessment.

(Refer to wordpress, section: Mandarin Teacher Training: CPD and Training schedule)

I have also led all the MYP Mandarin teachers in 4 Fairview schools to integrate and apply the essential elements and new requirements of the new guide to design the scheme of work, unit plans, assessments and teaching resources from phase 1-phase 5 by critically evaluate and examine the requirements of new Language B from the IB documents such as: The new Language B Guide, The MYP: From principles into practice, IB Learner Profile Booklet, Programme Standards and Practices (2011) and Language and Learning. I am playing a very important role to proof read the drafts and to ensure that the Language B Mandarin curriculum reflects IB philosophy and is comprehensive and aligns with the requirements of the MYP programme. The Mandarin curriculum we designed fulfilled the aims and objectives of Language B, included the vertical planning for student learning expectations of each area of interaction and horizontal planning for approaches to learning, fostered disciplinary and interdisciplinary relationships, identified the knowledge, concepts, skills and attitudes to be developed over time.

 

 

By working collaboratively with all Mandarin teachers from 4 Fairview campuses, I managed to develop and create a comprehensive new Language B (Mandarin) curriculum in Fairview by synthesizing arguments and information from 4 campuses, stimulating critical thinking and clarifying ideas through discussions. I have developed my self-confidence, ability and leadership as a leader and teacher.

 

(Refer to wordpress, section: SOW, Unit plans, Assessments of new Language B Guide)

 

To best support the learning experiences and to achieve the IB philosophy to develop the 21st century knowledgeable global citizen, I led all the MYP Mandarin teachers of all 4 campuses to collaboratively created our own Fairview teaching resources. We created a range of various teaching resources for different language phases. For examples: role-play scripts, speeches, literature texts, visual texts, interviews, cultural power point presentations, videos, website links, reading texts. I have also used the teaching resources that I brought back from IB Schools in Hong Kong and Beijing as a reference in preparing our teaching resources. This made our teaching resources more internationally and reflected global context.

 

(Refer to Managebac, section: Files: Teaching Resources for different phases: http://fairview.managebac.com/groups/10083852/assets?page=3)

 

I have also suggested to school to buy audio and visual resources like reference books, magazines, CD’s, DVD’s from Hong Kong, China and Singapore for students and teachers’ reference in the library.

 

I conducted New Language B guide briefing to all MYP Mandarin class students, to explored them to the new elements and new requirements in the new guide. This briefing was important for the students to aware of the changes in the new Language B guide and cleared about the aims and objectives in new Language B guide, as well as details of assessment requirements. They are also aware and understand the learning targets that have been set for each phase and standards they are expected to reach in order to demonstrate readiness to progress to the next phase of learning. Therefore they can be well prepared and make they effort to progress to the next phase. I developed my communication skills with the students and become more enthusiastic and passionate towards my profession.

 

(Refer to the wordpress, section: New Language B: Briefing to students)

 

To arouse the students’ interests, I have applied and developed active learning techniques like used different approaches to teaching and a wide variety of learning activities. I encouraged the students to engage actively in group discussions, presentations, role-play and interviews. I have become more creative and innovative in designing learning activities and reflective to improve my teaching.

“Through learning language, we learn about culture. Through learning culture, we learn respect for others. Through learning respect for others, we can hope for peace.” (Kramsch 1993: 2)

The key concepts of culture and communication are at the heart of language B. (New Language B Guide page 105)

In order to develop insights into the features, processes and craft of language and the concept of culture, I organised a range of cultural hands-on activities in the classroom like Chinese paper cutting and calligraphy. I have also organized cultural activities outside the classroom, for example: during Chinese New Year celebration, students are encouraged to wear Chinese traditional costume, to perform Chinese traditional dance and sing Chinese New year songs. Students were not only involved in the activities, they were also went through the inquiry cycle in the classroom to learn about the culture of the paper cutting, calligraphy, Chinese traditional costume, Chinese traditional dance and the meaning of the Chinese New year songs.

My Mandarin lessons are now more interesting and students are stimulated to develop a respect for, and understanding of other languages and cultures while gaining competence in the language.  This is aligned with the IB philosophy which cultivating the student intercultural awareness, international-mindedness and global citizenship through Language B-Mandarin. “In the case of IB programmes, the role of language is valued as central to developing critical thinking, which is essential for the cultivation of intercultural awareness, international-mindedness and global citizenship.” (Language and Learning in IB Programmes, page 3)

(Refer to wordpress, section: Learning activities: Cultural Hands-on activities and Chinese New year celebration)

I learned to extend the learning beyond the classroom by organizing MYP Expedition to China: “The Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou Expedition” in August 2011 and “Expedition to Beijing” in January 2013.

I have done recce with my MYP coordinator to research the learning points and values of the destinations, to design learning activities and reflection journal booklet and submitted the proposal to my coordinator for approval.

(Refer to wordpress, section: MYP Expedition: Proposal for Beijing itinerary)

“The Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou Expedition 2011” was very successful where the students have exposed and learned the culture and history of China not only through sightseeing and community and service activities but they have also attended Chinese Cultural classes to learn the Chinese calligraphy, Chinese painting and Chinese traditional music in Suzhou Ladies School.

(Refer to wordpress, section: MYP Expedition: “The Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou Expedition 2011”)

I have used the experience that I gained from “The Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou Expedition” to plan another MYP International Expedition which is to bring 120 Grade 11 students to Beijing in January 2013. The Beijing sites that I planned were: The Forbidden City, The Temple of Heaven, The Summer Palace, The Great Wall and Chinese cultural classes such as: Chinese Paper cutting, Chinese Martial Arts, Chinese calligraphy and Chinese Face Painting at The Beijing Chinese Language and Culture College. The theme of this expedition is ‘Beijing: The past, present and the future”. Students will be explored to the 5000 years of Chinese culture and the interdisciplinary focus will be language and arts.

‘Learning to speak another’s language means taking one’s place in the human community. It means reaching out to others across cultural and linguistic boundaries. Language is far more than a system to be explained. It is our most important link to the world around us. Language is culture in motion. It is people interacting with people.’ (Savignon 1983)

Through the expedition, the students can gain knowledge and experience that they cannot get in the classroom. I link the students learning in the classroom to the real world. They can apply their Chinese language competencies to interact with the people in China and also to apply the area of interaction, learner profile attributes and approaches to learning skills to acquire knowledge and learn the Chinese culture in Beijing. Their language learning, leadership, self-management skills and attitudes can be further developed and improved through well-planning expedition.

(Refer to wordpress, section: MYP Expedition: Expedition booklet for Beijing Expedition 2013)

The school provides dedicated time for all teachers’ collaborative and reflection. As a Mandarin subject head, the school has trained me to lead the collaborative planning and reflection for Mandarin department.

I learned to organise the collaborative planning and reflection regularly and systematically and also to ensure that the collaborative planning and reflection is addressing vertical and horizontal articulation. During the collaboration and reflection sessions, I ensure that all Mandarin teachers have an overview of students’ learning experiences, incorporate differentiation to cater different students’ learning needs and styles, inform the assessment of students’ work and learning and address the IB learner profile attributes in Mandarin lessons. This collaborative planning and reflection played an important role to ensure that all 4 Fairview campuses are implementing the same Language B Mandarin curriculum and our curriculum is meeting all the requirements of the MYP programme. Through this collaboration and reflection, I have learned to develop higher level thinking skills and cognitive development, establish an atmosphere of cooperation in all Fairview schools, promote innovation in teaching, use a team approach to create Mandarin curriculum while maintaining individual accountability and to improve teaching in the future.

 

I have created Forum Discussions on Managebac as a platform for all Mandarin teachers to share their experiences and exchange their ideas and opinions. This is effective to further strengthen the teachers’ teaching strategies, professionalism and to promote involvement and engagement in the teaching process.

 

(Refer to Managebac, The Fairview Global MYP Mandarin Department: http://fairview.managebac.com/groups/10083852/overview)

Fairview International School is constantly organizing continuous professional development trainings for all the MYP teachers. I have attended ‘The MYP: From Principles into Practice’ workshop, ‘Unit Plan Writing’ workshops, “Areas of Interaction’ workshop, Assessment workshops and ‘Approaches to Learning’ workshop.

 

I have developed myself as a professional Mandarin teacher in Fairview. I align my teaching with the requirements of the MYP programme.

‘All MYP subjects, including language B, provide a curricular framework with set aims and objectives and are driven by a concept-based approach.’ (New Language B Guide page 103)

I engage students as inquirers and thinkers through the application of inquiry based learning and conceptual based learning in the classroom.  I strive to build on what the students know and can do. I promote the understanding and practice of academic honesty by showing the students the importance of academic honesty and encourage the students to reflect by using an “Approaches to Learning development form”.

(Refer to wordpress, section: “Approaches to Learning development form”)

I encourage my students to actively responsible for their own learning. I address human commonality, diversity and multiple perspectives in my Mandarin lessons. I use a range and variety of teaching strategies to better deliver the lessons and to encourage active learning. I also use differentiation instructions and strategies to meet students’ learning needs and styles. I incorporate a range of teaching resources including information technologies like power point presentations, video clips, language games and learning activities from websites to develop students’ language skills. I designed the learning activities like interviews, role-plays that encourage students to acquire the knowledge and practice the skills. I engage my students in reflecting on how, what and why they are learning. I develop the IB learner profile attributes through the learning activities in or out of the classroom. For example: The students apply the Chinese greeting they learned in the classroom into their real life by greeting people appropriately.

Fairview has exposed me to different theories and concepts of education through different workshops internally and externally. I applied integrate theories and concepts in creative ways in my Mandarin class. For example: I applied theory Bloom Taxonamy, Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono, Mind-map by Tony Buzan and Theory of Multiple Intelligences by Howard Gardner when planning my lessons. I used the six levels of thinking order to design learning activities and create learning environment to allow the students to engage in higher-order thinking. For example: For Visual interpretation tasks, phase 1 students will need to recognize basic visual convention used in texts whereas phase 5 students are required to analyse visual conventions used in texts. The students will be grouped into 6 groups with different roles in the group discussion according to the 6 thinking hats. After the discussion, the students will be presented their tasks in various ways such as: power point presentation, role-play, mind-map, song or dance, speech or drama. I created an active and creative learning environment in the classroom to arouse students’ interest and to enhance the language learning.

In Fairview, assessment is an integral part of the IB curriculum. The criterion-based assessment plays an essential role to support students’ learning. I used a range of strategies and tools to assess students’ learning including formative and summative assessments, to design assessment tasks for different phases, to ensure the alignment of assessment criteria to the Language B objectives and to meet all the assessment requirements in the new guide and align with MYP programme.

I provided task-specific clarifications, assessment criteria and rubrics to students prior the assessment in order to provide students the ability to demonstrate analytical skills and to achieve highest achievement level.

One important element in IB assessment is to provide students with feedback to inform and improve their learning. I wrote my comments on the assessment papers and also provided verbal feedback to students and parents during Progress Report Day scheduled by the school after every Semester assessment. Students will also write their reflection after every assessment.

(Refer to wordpress, section: SOW, Unit plans, Assessments of new Language B Guide)

I was invited to attend ‘The IB Language B (Mandarin) Job alike’ at Beijing World Youth Academy, Beijing on the 15-11-12. This Job-alike was attended by Language B (Mandarin) teachers from 5 IB schools in Beijing and Fairview International School from Malaysia.

We critically analysed on how to align the assessment criteria to its objectives through a few samples prepared by the workshop speakers. We selected a few samples and marking schemes for visual interpretation tasks (new criteria in the new guide) from Online Curriculum Centre. We identified, evaluated and synthesized these samples and marking schemes in order to sustain a coherent argument on how to design visual interpretation tasks and how to determine levels of achievement.

We shared our ideas and experience in teaching and learning in Language B (Mandarin) and I have also suggested them ideas for the future improvements in designing assessment tasks.

This Job-Alike conference has sharpened my professional competencies in designing the unit plans and assessments which can facilitate active learning and encourage students to learn beyond the lessons. I have also built connections with the Language B (Mandarin) teachers in Beijing for exchanging ideas and resources in the future.

(Refer to wordpress, section: The IB Language B (Mandarin) Job alike at World Youth Academy, Beijing)

I attended the ‘Best Practice Leadership Workshop’ from 22-24 October 2011 at Fraser’s Hill. I was inspired by the training sessions about the good qualities of leadership and I have learned to be a good leader to lead all the Mandarin teachers to achieve IB mission and Fairview vision.

(Refer to wordpress, section: Certificate of attendance)

 

I was invited by the Ministry of Education Malaysia to conduct a workshop to a group of government schools Mandarin teachers about: “ How to integrate IB framework into Chinese Curriculum in Malaysia” in October 2012.

 

(Refer to wordpress, section: Ministry of Education Malaysia Workshop)

 

I have also conducted training to Mandarin teachers from Beijing Chinese Language and Culture College from 3-7 of December 2012 in Fairview.

 

(Refer to wordpress, section: Training for Beijing Mandarin teachers)

I am not only develop to be a confident and professional Mandarin teacher and global Mandarin subject head for Fairview, I have also developed myself as an authority leader in IB Mandarin curriculum in Malaysia.

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