End of year event
Students are pretty much treated as 'workers' or "doers" throughout the academic year. They start a unit, learn new things, participate in formative learning tasks, and complete their summative assessment at the end of the unit. The cycle repeats. Physical and emotional exhaustion has gradually built up as the school life unfolds. What are the things that we can do to help students relax and just enjoy life? In education, the notion of preparing students for the future work, or preparing them for universities or careers is highly promoted. I think it's paramount to pause and rethink wha holistic education means. MYP is a very ambitious framework and teachers and students are constantly challenged to learn and grow. Great emphasis is on cognitive and practical learning experiences to develop knowledge, understanding and skills of students and help them to apply and solve problems. What are teachers, parents, and the school doing to design emotional learning for our students? Social interactions can be fostered through classroom activities, and the question is can we build upon the existing system and zoom out to develop the 'bigger picture' of education?
IDEAS project and fair
Through the project, we aim to
- promote student innovation;
- guide students to follow the design thinking process when building an enterprise;
- learn how to collaborate and negotiate ideas with their peers;
- encourage students to participate in different activities to increase creativity and be balanced;
- take a business-like approach to improve people's lives in our communities.
Learning across the curriculum will be linked to the project. Students will work in mixed grade level groups to develop small businesses. They will investigate characteristics of entrepreneurs and to find out what makes a successful business. They will also be learning about how business works and about profit and loss. Additionally, we encourage students to consider social, cultural and environmental issues when creating their small business.
How does the schedule work?
In order to maximize student learning through the IDEAS Project, and to ensure that all the groups have an equal opportunity, we ask parents not to give any additional money or consumable items to their child's group.
How is this project supported by the school community?
Since this is a new initiative, I will also like to help parents understand better. I met with our MYP parent representatives and explained to them what I would like to do. Of course, money is needed to cover the cost of some activities, such as baking, pizza making, cross stitch, jewelry making, etc. I would also like to offer book vouchers for enterprise groups for 'most profitable', 'best marking', and 'most innovative product/service' groups. Parents were very supportive as soon as they understand the purpose and goal of the IDEAS project. I received a great fund from parents to run this project.
MYP students successfully raised 52,000 baht (about 1696 US dollars). It was a great learning experience for students (and teachers). Students began to develop the concept of profit and cost, and how to organise a small size business.
Some areas for improvement include:
- identifying appropriate working space when catering food. Students need to be reminded of the importance of food safety. Gloves should be used when preparing food.
- creating a procedure for students to request materials in the design lab and art studio. Students asked resources from their design and visual art teachers and claimed these materials were free. These would be consumables and should be paid for.
- emphasising academic honesty and copyright. I noticed some groups were making stickers and using copyright-protected images. Some students and teachers did not realize this was a problem. Giving the context that we are in Thailand, counterfeit is common. It occurs to me that we have to make an extra effort to transfer their understanding of academic honesty from classroom projects to real life!
- helping students understand the negative effects of false advertising. It was great to see students making poster and/or sending emails to promote their products. We very quickly spotted the promises that students were not able to deliver. For example, one juice company promise their customers that if they bought the juice from them, they might have a chance to visit Japan. We caught this early and it was definitely a lesson learnt both by students and teachers.