At the International School of Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC), the wellbeing of each community member is at the heart of every action plan. The incoming head of school Kim Green (known as Mrs. Kim) acknowledges that facilitating continued learning during a pandemic is a layered and complex matter. “Nevertheless, the wellbeing of our children and community come first. We will always honour that and ensure we have processes and protocols that align with the guidance that we’re given from health authorities,” she assures.
From restructuring lesson plans and managing screen time, to ensuring students are still getting physical activity and counselling services, ISHCMC is continuously crafting a safe and nurturing learning environment both online and offline. Here’s how.
Teacher-parent partnership is key to continuous learning
Teacher-parent partnership has proven to be particularly critical in home-based learning. “Our teaching team are trained to provoke new inquiry and take students further in their learning; we must now scaffold these elements to help parents facilitate learning at home,” Green says.
“Every Child, Everyday: A Blueprint for Learning”
How does the school focus on the here and now, while preparing students for the future? Green believes it begins with creating predictability in unpredictable times. ISHCMC does this by outlining a five-tier approach for continuous learning in the face of potential environmental, social, economic, political, and health risks in a unique learning blueprint. “We’ve defined four contexts for learning which enable us to honour our three key outcomes of the school — keeping our community energised, engaged, and empowered,” Green says.
“Every Child, Everyday: A Blueprint for Learning” was sent out to every parent ahead of the new term. Each context — on-campus learning, campus-home learning, home-based learning, and transition to campus — responds to a specific risk level, which poses low-to-major disruption to schooling. It ensures the school community is well-informed and well-prepared for every possible situation, and that learning can go on as long as there are willing teachers, parents, and students.
Transition to Campus (TTC)
ISHCMC’s TTC programme was put together to facilitate new and returning families who are currently located outside of Vietnam, waiting for international borders to reopen..It offers a short-term learning opportunity for children who are unable to access the school campus due to quarantine requirements, medical conditions, travel restrictions, or their family’s choice to delay their return.
TTC learning is facilitated by an entirely digital environment. It provides opportunities for students to learn and grow continously, even while they are away from school. Besides that, it allows learners to work independently, develops their ability to self-direct, and provides opportunities to use tools and strategies to deeply develop skills in specific domains. ISHCMC educators use different types of online learning and teaching strategies to balance the delivery of the TTC programme.
The TTC programme is a solution for continuous learning, wherever you may be in the world; it is offered to children of all grade levels from Early Years all the way to Grade 12.
Improving from and through adversity
Though she has yet to meet her new student body, Green is already proud of their growth through this global crisis. She shares how 13% of the Class of 2020 achieved over 40 points in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) this year, with their top scorer gaining a perfect 45 and a cohort average score of 34 points.
ISHCMC graduates continue to gain admission at the world’s leading universities and colleges. This is, in part, due to students being able to design their own diploma programme, which creates a personalised pathway by accessing over 30 subjects. With this breadth of choice available, ISHCMC students are engaged in their learning because they can pursue their passions and interests through a wide range of opportunities.
“As a school, we are very proud of what we’ve been doing throughout a time of adversity. Our learners are working across digital domains and the skills that they identified in their reflections demonstrate strong growth in self-management and resilience,” Green says.
ISHCMC educators consistently find ways for students to build these effective skills; the current adversity cultivates these skills through authentic understanding and appreciation. In Green’s words, “Learning can happen everywhere, anytime, and anyplace. This is a celebration because it opens up so many new opportunities for what we can do.” To learn more about ISHCMC’s Every Child, Everyday – Blueprint for Learning and Transition to Campus programme for families relocating to Vietnam, click here.