International Schools Journal Vol XXXII No.1 November 2012


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Kallur ed -Growth Theory and Globalisation of India. Deep and Deep Pub. Volume-1,March, pp Regal Publications,New Delhi, , pp Rabindra Bharati University Journal of Economics. Vol-II,March ,,pp Burke in his article assumes a number of the same points. He advises teachers to be aware of the claims and properties of new applications and software of all types.

They should seek a clear critical understanding of how we learn and the cognitive processes most deeply affected through ed tech tools and online learning. In his article, Lenihan considers the efficacy and practicalities of using the distance learning techniques developed by Salmon Khan in the classroom and how these can be dovetailed into the MYP Principles and Practice. Highly acceptable to a generation that is familiar with the internet as a resource, The Khan Academy khanacademy.

Lenihan, like many other teachers, sees this amazing storehouse of expertise as an inspirational aid to teachers. By accessing a video at home, the student can arrive in class with a strong conceptual footing in the unit and, working alone, is able to progress on a topic at his or her own speed, thus facilitating student differentiation.

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John Elliott

Students can also complete self-evaluations and all stakeholders have access to this performance data. Looking again at that article by Westwood and Dobson, they compare the development and general use of the car and of aircraft as being roughly 50 years. And that indeed is the point. All our contributors are clear that our students are well ahead of most of their teachers in their acceptance and exploitation of the. For the young teacher, computer technology and its rapid advance is just another part of life, presenting opportunity not fear.

From the point of view of pedagogy we can look for an acceptance that then leads to development and experiment in the exciting world of teaching and technology. As the opportunities multiply and we grasp the new it is also necessary to temper enthusiasm with debate and research. Heady stuff indeed. Westwood, P and Dobson L. Accessed 3rd February Caroline Ellwood. A new language for culture, identity and values Richard Pearce The reason for this article is that recent research in the areas of neurobiology, cognitive science and related disciplines has provided understandings about culture in terms of process rather than content.

With our new conceptualisation of how we think, rather than merely what we think, it is possible to speak of the process in dynamic rather than structural ways, reflecting more usefully how these factors relate to human behaviour.

Functional Neurology - Back Issues Archive

To do this we need to use new words. Words give us mental images with which we can exchange ideas, expressed in terms that are shared. When new conceptualisations are made they can only be presented using existing words; but in fact these words, taken from our previous experience in a variety of fields, come with many conflicting and confusing associations.

None of these three entities is an existent; they have no material existence. They offer models for abstract concepts, or at least metaphors, but are in fact merely reifications. Nisbett notes that in the West there is a fondness for using nouns Nisbett, , and this equips us well to describe a static, structural world with essential properties, but less well their dynamic interactions. If we are able to think about these three as processes this may help us to promote learning. How are the words currently used? Values are standards of what we think is good or bad, or normal or abnormal, or strange or familiar, and as an abstract noun it is used to express the quantity of positive evaluation.

We apply values to the world as we look at it. They govern what we do as virtuous people, and what we think about the actions of others. But sometimes we differentiate between moral values, which are what we feel we ought to do, and norms, which are what we customarily happen to do. It is noteworthy that cultural values are more often referred to in others than in our own group. It is possible Schwarz and Bilsky, , Haidt, to list topics on which all. Everyone has some loyalty to the groups of which they are members, but as literature repeatedly reminds us, clashes of duties may be resolved in a variety of ways.

Emotion is central to the activity of values. It is something that is the same about us, over time, yet we also develop it over time Erikson, Even then, Erikson could say ibid, p. One can only explore it by establishing its indispensability in various contexts. It is sometimes described in terms of social identity, who we are as members of a group, and personal identity, who we are as individuals Breakwell, , Tajfel, , Schaetti, It is constituted by who we think we are and who other people think we are. It is very close to our hearts, and we feel any assault on it acutely Breakwell, But discourse is just the visible product; discourse can only be constructed from the marks on the brain that our experiences have left, so it is a product of persistent items.

There is talk about multiple identities, or of situated identities which are used in different company Stryker, , or of aspects or facets of identity Weinreich, Identity is constantly reified in our conversations, but on the other hand it is evidenced by our actions, especially when they can be interpreted in terms of our own intentions, rather than through the perceptions of others. We apply it readily to the things that other people do that we find strange, and occasionally we admit that we do some cultural things ourselves.

Culture is that matching set of things that it is normal to do in our home — our values. We certainly contrast it with the conventions of neighbouring groups, making jokes in order to check that the speaker and the listener share the same viewpoint. Humour is universal; jokes are local. Only experts can do High Culture. Often High Culture is what we show to others, saying that it symbolises our identity as group members, though it is far beyond our personal capabilities.

We feel comfortable with our own culture, and with the many symbols of our group, and we value them especially when we are away from home, or in a minority. What really happens? In functional terms these words concern the working of the human valuesystem, whose role is to make us do what we need for survival. Animal brains, including ours, work by remembering things, learning that they are to be favoured or disfavoured, and so arriving at beneficial actions appropriate to the situation — predominantly unconsciously, it seems Haidt, Human brains are huge, remembering many details, even those things felt by others that are communicated to us through language, but they still need to work quickly in order to survive.

The miracle of the human brain is not just its capacity, but its ability to search and recall its carefully categorised content. To do this we record and memorise what we see not as detailed patterns of tiny signals or items, but as categories that we recognise: a face; a particular face; a letter; a word; a concept; a schema; a script. Damasio has shown that, in order to make conscious decisions to do the right thing to survive, we mark remembered items with signals from the unconscious somatovisceral nervous system that operates the automatic. These signals he called Somatic Markers SMs.

When a situation or stimulus is recognised, related SMs promote and inhibit a sequence of nerve connections, routing them so that they generate an appropriate action. This happens unconsciously all the time, but also consciously when we think or speak and are able to debate decisions. We love the good, hate the bad, by definition, as defined by the emotional labels that we attach to those values. Cacioppo, Berntson and Klein have demonstrated that our immediate perception of emotions is binary, so that before the emotion has been identified it is simply sensed as positive or negative.

Like a sheepdog, emotion directs our actions through an unseen debate between our millions of remembered items, schemata and scripts, emerging with an evaluation of the scene or a contemplated action. Most of this is unconscious, but a few of these negotiations are conscious, and we can put them into words; we call this reasoning. It is public and dialectical, and can constitute an experience observed and evaluated by another, but Haidt argues with good evidence that it seldom changes our minds or those of others.

Nevertheless, it is this debate that is the field in which we take account of the convictions of others, and it is at the core of what we sense as our social and moral lives. The involvement of emotion in all judgments means that it is a category error to separate affective and behavioural elements in considerations of human activity. We feel that there is a difference between the normative and the moral in the strength of our feeling, of how much we care, but I suggest that a functional approach calls for their inclusion in a single category. Here we meet a familiar clash between fact and feelings.

It could be said that the Enlightenment set them in opposition: reason against intuition, with reason presumed to be superior. If we speak of what is, instead of what ought to be, we find that although reason is subservient to passion, reasoning nevertheless happens, and we still bear responsibility for using the limited powers we have. Though moral decisions may feel distinct from normative ones, each is a balancing of SMs.

Shweder, Mahapatra and Miller have shown that some things that are normative in one society may be moral in another. This is the role of moral values, which we feel with strong emotion Haidt and Kesebir, We become skilled at these through literature and storytelling, our moral gymnasium. As we listen or read we practice making moral judgments, making us good at it, and are exposed to moral values, making us good, in communal terms. We learn values readily from people who are important to us Keats, , Bruner, , Quinn, , etc.

There is an emotion to promote attachment to people — love. Moral values can get this powerful endorsement from transcendental validators, such as God or our ancestors, who cannot be opposed and overruled by worldly arguments of selfinterest. And if we feel that we have some kind of control over our lives we may postulate a core part of ourselves — our identity. The set of good, comfortable values that we see around us, displayed in our community as we grow up, is what we refer to as the culture of that community. Doherty and Li , p.

Ulf Hannerz , p. As the set is assembled each new value is tested against existing components; where dissonance is sensed acceptance is difficult Festinger, , but consonance leads to an assemblage of matching items. Schools play a part in this too, teaching and modelling shared values on behalf of the community Hannerz, While we most readily detect those items of culture that are unlike our own way of doing things, in reality everything that is learned socially to be a right or wrong thing is a part of the same human social process.

It forms the culture of other people, and it forms our own. From this comes our pride in free will, but in fact our conscious minds can only think by using the remembered items stored in the unconscious, where they are already labelled good and bad Haidt, We have various judgmental words for this: bias or prejudice; or commitment, conviction, belief, even knowledge. Each of these words carries an evaluative connotation, neatly exemplifying the point. What can we say if we want to talk more clearly about human behaviour?

The reader may by now have noticed that in this account the three key terms are being used in unfamiliar ways. It is time to consider some distinctive alternative words. The key to values, as seen here, is that they are the units of what we see, think or do that are felt to be right or wrong. We might call them doxomeres, meaning units of opinion, or waybits, since they are components of the proper way of.

The key to culture is that it is a set of doxomeres that are available to all the children who grow up in a certain community, that is segregated from other child-rearing communities by space, language, or social barriers. We might call them demodoxas, meaning the opinions of a people, or peopleways. The key to identity is that it is who we act like, the projected image for reflection on our values and how we got them and continue to hold them.

This could be illustrated by calling it our idiomorph, or selfshape when we think of ourself, or when we apply it so someone else, heteromorph or othershape. This is of course a reification; identity does not exist. More useful is the verb, to identify.

The unconscious activity is a reference to previous experiences of a situation, in which we or someone who has an emotional loading in our minds faced a similar dilemma. What we do is to ask ourselves consciously or unconsciously the question: who should I behave like, and what would they choose to do? We can call this idioparathesis putting oneself alongside , or self-likening. Why this will not happen This account has treated three words very commonly used in the humanities and nominated replacements.

There is, however, no expectation that usage will change as a result. There are several reasons for this. First, the Greek-based alternatives do not resonate with historic learning for most people, so they are unlikely to associate these words with a respected source carrying a positive SM, but rather find it dissonant and excluding, bringing a negative SM. Second, a word survives if it serves the purposes of communication between people, for which it must be understood by both interlocutors, and it must have a wide enough currency to become habitual.

This requires that words can only arise within an adequate discursive community. This can sometimes be countered by a love of neologisms.


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References Breakwell, G. Formulations and Searches. In: Breakwell, G. Threatened identities, Chichester: John Wiley. Bruner, J. Vygotsky: a historical and conceptual perspective. In: Wertsch, J. Culture, communication and cognition: Vygotskyan perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Cacioppo, J.

What is an emotion? In: Clark, M. Emotion and social behaviour. Internationalism, international-mindedness, multiculturalism and globalisation as concepts in defining international schools. Damasio, A. New York, NY: Putnam. The feeling of what happens. London: Vintage. Doherty, C. Producing the intercultural citizen by the International Baccalaureate. In: Dervin, F. Politics of Interculturality. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Erikson, E. Identity; youth and crisis.

A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, pp. London: Tavistock Giddens, A. Haidt, Jonathan New York: Pantheon Haidt, J. Fiske, D. Gilbert and G. Lindzey eds. Handbook of Social Psychology, 5th edition, pp. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Hannerz, U.

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Cultural complexity: studies in the social organization of meaning. Hume, D. A Treatise of Human Nature, eds. David Fate Norton and Mary J. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Jameson, F. Postmodernism, or, the cultural logic of late capitalism. Keats, D. Using the cross-cultural method to study the development of values. Australian Journal of Psychology, 38, 3, pp. Marcia, J. Development and validation of ego identity status, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 3, pp. Nisbett, R. The Geography of Thought. London: Nicolas Brealey Pearce, R.

Cultural values for international schools. International Schools Journal, 22, 2, pp. Quinn, N. Child Rearing and Selfhood, or Culture and Personality. Roberts, B. Education for Global Citizenship: a practical guide for schools. Cardiff: International Baccalaureate. Schaetti, B. Cultural identity development and resolution: a review of the literature.

Paper for Doctoral program, The Union Institute. Schwartz, S. Toward a universal psychological structure of human values. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 3, pp. Sen, A. Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny. London: Allen Lane Shweder, R. Culture and moral development. In: Stigler, J. Cultural psychology: essays on comparative human development. Strauss, C. Cultural Anthropology, 12, 3, pp. Stryker, S. Symbolic interactionism. Tajfel, H. Differentiation between social groups: studies in the social psychology of intergroup relations. London: Academic Press.

Weinreich, P. Identity Structure Analysis. In: Weinreich, P. Analysing identity: cross-cultural, societal and clinical contexts. London: Routledge. Wittgenstein, L. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. The World Studies Extended Essay Challenging students on global issues, an interdisciplinary approach. The commitment of the IB to create more opportunities within the classroom and beyond to address some of the complex challenges of the 21st century, and to fully embed global engagement as part of the learning experience, is no more apparent than with the introduction of its new Extended Essay — the World Studies Extended Essay WSEE.

The following discussion forms the first part of a longer paper on challenging students on global issues — an interdisciplinary approach. This part provides a short background on the World Studies Extended Essay and a discussion on the nature of inter-disciplinarity within the context of the International Baccalaureate. Part two will be published in the November issue of the International Schools Journal ISJ and will examine some of the rewards and challenges faced in undertaking interdisciplinary work at this level.

It does so specifically in relation to the assessment of the WSEE. Introduction The World Studies Extended Essay is the culmination of a collaboration between the United World College UWC Mahindra, India, Project Zero, Harvard University,1 and the International Baccalaureate to develop an opportunity for students to demonstrate and apply their understanding of theories, methods and concepts outside of particular disciplines, recognising the importance of interdisciplinary understanding, specifically in relation to contemporary global issues.

Until this time, it had been available to a small number of schools as a pilot. The WSEE is an in-depth interdisciplinary study of an issue of contemporary significance. WSEEs examine issues such as the global food crisis, climate change, terrorism, energy security, migration, global health, technology and cultural exchange. Since global issues of this nature tend to play out in local contexts, any in-depth examination of these local instances of globally significant phenomena provide students with opportunities to engage in a well-grounded appreciation and understanding of the issue under study IB Examples include a zero-carbon footprint city policy in Denmark; the cost effectiveness of new clean energy technology in a village in India; the social and cultural factors that might influence maternal mortality rates in rural Guatemala; or the political and ethical issues that affect the implementation of human cloning in the USA.

Furthermore, by employing an interdisciplinary approach, students are able to further appreciate the fact that a more comprehensive understanding of these issues requires them to actively engage across boundaries — not only local and global but the boundaries between disciplines. And whilst this paper is not a discussion about disciplinarity, it is important in terms of context to understand that there are many arguments as to why a disciplinary structure came to predominate. Boisot, for example maintains that two arguments can be given to explain the main impetus for the emergence of this structure: first, he argues that it was the tendency to separate, classify and conceptualise the world around us; and secondly that the dominance of science in the production of knowledge facilitated this And even though, as Chettiparamb has argued, disciplines have not remained static over time, they have retained characteristics that make them identifiable as disciplines 7.

In undertaking research for this paper, several definitions of interdisciplinarity presented themselves, but in relation to the pedagogical thinking and practice of the IB, which has been heavily influenced by the work of Project Zero, the following definitions best encapsulate current thinking within the organisation.

Following on from their definition, Boix-Mansilla and Dawes further argue that there are three core dimensions to interdisciplinary work that must be considered: 1. Are these disciplinary insights clearly integrated so as to advance student understanding of the issue being explored? Does the work display a clear sense of purpose and self criticism?


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  • In other words, is it reflective? In considering these, put quite simply, yes, the WSEE does reflect them. First, it must be grounded in carefully selected and adequately employed disciplinary insights — students need to choose disciplines in which they have. This is important because if students do not have the grounding then it is difficult, if not impossible, for them to draw the links to be able to move to the next stage which is to integrate this knowledge and understanding.

    To address their research question students should ask themselves what aspects of the problem they will need to understand and which subjects will best equip them to develop a sound understanding of these. They should consider how bringing two or more disciplinary perspectives to bear might yield a deeper or better account of the issue. Secondly, and as will be discussed in more detail in part two of this paper3, the assessment criteria for the WSEE requires that students demonstrate more than just a juxtaposition of disciplinary perspectives; they must truly integrate the disciplines utilised.

    Examples of this can be taken from actual essays submitted. An essay examining the impact of ecotourism on wildlife conservation at a particular site in Mauritius utilised biology and economics in order to assess the economic viability of eco-tours on wildlife conservation. What made this a successful WSEE was the clear demonstration of an interdisciplinary approach to tackling this particular issue. At the centre of this discussion was an understanding that the situation could only be fully explored when ecological points of view were considered in relation to economic ones and vice versa.

    Furthermore, it was the explicitly integrative nature of the analysis and evaluation of data that ensured this essay scored highly. A second example can be given of a student who successfully integrated peace and conflict studies, economics and politics to explore the issue of prejudice towards asylum seekers within a specific economic and political context. What was apparent in the analysis made within this essay is that the student fully recognised the complexity of the issue being researched and the way in which concepts and language may be interpreted differently by various disciplines and how this may impact on perceived attitudes.

    More importantly, it raised awareness of contradictions in the treatment of asylum seekers — contradictions that the student may well not have identified if the essay had been completed within a disciplinary framework. Whilst in the context of the traditionally discipline-focused Diploma Programme, the introduction of an explicitly interdisciplinary element might seem like a bold shift, the Diploma Programme does have two interdisciplinary courses, Environmental Systems and Societies and Literature and Performance.

    Adopting an approach that is outside traditional disciplinary teaching is certainly not a new endeavour within the IB and when one considers the continuum of education for IB students, what is interesting is that students who have gone through the Primary Years Programme PYP and Middle Years Programme MYP will not have been used to the rigid disciplinary format that the DP is seen to represent.

    Whilst for many little distinction is made between multi-, inter-, crossand trans-disciplinary, within the PYP transdisciplinary is interpreted as an approach that transcends the boundaries of conventional disciplines: an approach that starts with a real life issue, which is then explored from multiple perspectives and experiences which, whilst it might be related to disciplinary knowledge, is not grounded in it.

    Through acknowledging and struggling to meet the diverse needs of the student — physical, social, intellectual, aesthetic, cultural — PYP schools ensure that the learning is engaging, relevant, challenging and significant. What adds significance to student learning in the PYP is its commitment to this transdisciplinary model, whereby themes of global significance that transcend the confines of the traditional discipline areas frame the learning throughout the primary years, including in the early years.

    These themes are: Who we are. Where we are in place and time. How we express ourselves. How the world works. How we organise ourselves. Sharing the planet. The aim of the themes is to promote an awareness of the human condition and an understanding that there is a commonality of human experience. Students explore this common ground collaboratively, from the multiple perspectives of their individual experiences and backgrounds.

    It is important to understand that this transdisciplinary programme of inquiry is not merely a novel way of repackaging subject-specific content, but rather a way of students using a range of subject-specific knowledge, concepts and skills in order to develop a deeper understanding of the transdisciplinary themes IB b.

    Clear and meaningful links can be made here to the WSEE as students in the PYP are already beginning to appreciate how the world around them can be best understood by making connections between different perspectives and experiences. And, whilst the transdisciplinary approach taken within the PYP does not assume that these perspectives are framed within specific disciplines, the idea is that through transdisciplinary themes students are encouraged to make connections with their learning inside and outside the classroom.

    Students are required to engage in a collaborative, transdisciplinary inquiry process that involves them in identifying, investigating and offering solutions to real-life issues or problems IB Whereas, in the PYP, students learn about and use knowledge, concepts and skills from a variety of subjects to explore their transdisciplinary themes, in the MYP, students study a range of disciplines within subject groups and bring together two or more established areas of expertise to build new interdisciplinary understanding of issues.

    More than this, The Next Chapter5, which represents the culmination of a thorough and extensive review and development of the MYP, will introduce learning through global contexts, which will replace the areas of interaction 6. Learning through global contexts involves understanding concepts in context: more simply put, they frame inquiry, making the exploration of issues and ideas situational so that students have relevant and meaningful examples to draw on.

    The learning contexts are chosen from global contexts to ensure the encouragement of international-mindedness and global engagement within the programme.

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    These have been influenced by the six transdisciplinary themes of the PYP. In exploring issues within global contexts students are able to integrate, transfer and apply the knowledge gained through their conceptual understanding to these. The curriculum manager responsible for the development of interdisciplinary teaching and learning in MYP schools, Gabriela Gonzalez-Vaillant, confirms that one of the key features of the MYP is its emphasis on interdisciplinary teaching and learning.

    This emerged as a consequence of the challenges and opportunities of educating students in and for the 21st century. More than this, young learners instinctively make connections between knowledge domains in order to try and apprehend the world which surrounds them. This may well reflect the demand for increasing specialization in a globalised world.

    However, on the other hand, a globalised world, which is increasingly complex in nature, also demands that we educate future professionals who can integrate disciplines in novel and creative ways, better equipping them to help tackle and solve some of the most pressing global issues.

    This is even more crucial given that it is increasingly argued that complex problems require the application of multiple perspectives in order to truly understand them. Building upon vast research undertaken by experts at Harvard University, including Veronica Boix-Mansilla and Howard Gardner, the MYP defines interdisciplinary understanding as having three traits: 1. It is integrative — bringing together concepts, methods, or forms of communication from two or more disciplines or established areas of expertise.

    It is purposeful — students connect disciplines to solve real world problems, create products or address complex issues in ways that would have been unlikely through a single disciplinary means. It is grounded in the disciplines7. Teachers and schools are encouraged to foster meaningful interdisciplinary experiences throughout the MYP and this is encouraged through the use of significant concepts and contexts that allow for the integration of disciplinary knowledge. Since its inception, the MYP has been innovative in providing schools with the necessary tools to teach and assess interdisciplinary understanding.

    Furthermore, in an effort to continue being at the forefront of educational innovation, and to ensure greater alignment across programmes and with national curriculum requirements, the MYP has decided to introduce some significant changes which will further enhance its interdisciplinary approach. Starting in , MYP students will have the opportunity to sit for an optional summative e-assessment that will have both disciplinary and interdisciplinary components, where knowledge and experience gained during the disciplinary assessments will be applied in a specific context in an interdisciplinary way.

    Having specific interdisciplinary objectives and criteria will be a breakthrough in the programme as it will allow schools to scaffold interdisciplinary teaching and learning. Again, this will further support the development of the necessary skills and aptitudes that the WSEE and successful completion of the DP require. Students draw on an issue of global importance that manifests itself at a local level, has some personal significance to them, and then they explore this through the lens of more than one discipline.

    It is worth noting here that Veronica Boix-Mansilla of Project Zero, and one of the leading proponents of interdisciplinarity, wrote the current interdisciplinary guide for the MYP and was heavily involved in the development of the WSEE. Approaches to learning has always been a central component of the MYP, and this has seen the development, and transfer of skills across disciplines, being at the forefront pedagogical practice. This transfer of skills and the integration of knowledge domains are both higher order thinking skills — 21st century skills — and the DP has also more recently committed to an initiative examining approaches to learning.

    This which will provide a real continuum across all the IB programmes, ensuring that students are given the opportunity to develop these skills throughout their IB experience. The WSEE brings together many of the areas within the approaches to learning, such as the development of research, communication, thinking and self management skills.

    This recognition is not just confined to the IB — the intellectual landscape is changing and many universities across the world are embodying a more interdisciplinary approach, requiring a mixture of both breadth and depth. Universities in the United States encourage students to take a broader liberal arts undergraduate course, and in the UK more and more universities are now offering interdisciplinary undergraduate courses.

    As a consequence they develop their ability to think critically and creatively about these issues, developing the intellectual rigour of synthesising multiple perspectives in tackling real, locally grounded and personally relevant research questions. In many respects, at this level it is a unique and exciting opportunity — one that the DP seeks to develop and promote in a complementary role to its more disciplinary tradition. However, it is not without its challenges, challenges that will be explored in the next issue of the ISJ. Footnotes 1. Project Zero is an educational research group based at Harvard University.

    They have undertaken extensive work on interdisciplinary learning and thinking. The second-part of this paper will be published in the November issue of the International Schools Journal. All extended essays are assessed using 11 generic criteria, each assessing a different aspect of the essay. The generic criteria for the EE and WSEE are as follows: A: research question; B: introduction; C: investigation; D: knowledge and understanding of the topic studied; E: reasoned argument; F: application of analytical and evaluative skills; G: use of language appropriate to the subject; H: conclusion; I: formal presentation; J: abstract; K: holistic judgement.

    If you do not have access to the OCC please go to: www. The areas of interaction provide the MYP with its unique core: the contexts through which subjects are taught. They are: approaches to learning; community and service; health and social education; environments and human ingenuity. If you do not have access please go to: www. References Aram, J. Human Relations 57 4 , Boisot, M. Paris: OECD, Boix-Mansilla, V.

    Journal of Higher Education, 78 2 , Boyd, Kassandra Personal communication, January Chettiparamb, A. Doyen, Cecile Personal Communication, December Klein, J. In Weingart, P. London: University of Toronto Press, Parker, J. Teaching in Higher Learning 7 4 , Rees, Gareth , Personal communication, September Wilkinson, D. Vakil, C. Suffolk: John Catt Educational Ltd. As a professional educator for over a decade I have seen an array of programmes and resources introduced to a variety of educational contexts.

    Some have led to an elevation in the quality of learning in classrooms. However, many fail, often swept away never to be discussed again. Even those programmes with the greatest reputations and theoretical backing fail to gain traction in some schools.

    Yet the great search for the panacea of education goes on year after year as schools attempt to achieve consistency of quality in learning throughout their institution. After considerable contemplation around this phenomenon and a substantial amount of associated reading, I would like to propose an idea as to why there is such disparity in the quality of teaching and learning at all levels.

    Beyond programmes and resources One hypothesis about what makes a great learning environment is that it is, in fact, not established by well detailed programmes and techniques of teaching. Nor is a great classroom the function of fantastic resources, digital and otherwise, although these may at some point all be utilised to enhance learning.

    A perspective I favour is that learning is largely defined by the teacher himself, or herself, and their interpersonal characteristics, not the educational paraphernalia by which they are surrounded. In my time as a classroom teacher and now as an administrator I have seen a number of fantastic teachers who possess something special that I would like to call The X Factor. There is something about these teachers that drives them to make their classrooms dynamic, engaging and free from psychological inhibitions so that their students can actively engage in learning.

    Some of them are introverts; others are extroverts. So what is this defining factor that these teachers possess? What is the value of X? The humanistic movement in education has given us a clear description of what type of personal qualities might make a difference in the classroom. These qualities are a mixture of externally displayed behaviours and the internally held beliefs that inform these. Threat To understand the value of the personal encounter between teacher and student it is vital to comprehend the effect that threat has on learners.

    Threat significantly inhibits learning and growth. When a person perceives threat they react in two ways. First, they experience tunnel vision, narrowing their view so that all they see is the perceived threat. Secondly, they protect their existing position and become defensive, only concerned with the preservation of self Combs, In a classroom, the teacher can become a threat to students. Heavy criticism, low regard for students and their abilities, and remaining aloof can be perceived by learners as psychologically threatening.

    Threatened students simply cannot see things outside their narrow scope of reference. Their openness to new experiences is low because their energy is focused towards defending themselves. A meaningful interpersonal connection serves as an antidote to threat.

    In the absence of threat, tunnel vision is exchanged for a more open view of the world Combs et al. In the classroom this enables learners to explore more freely their learning environment because they see their classroom as a place of safety. Defining X Humanistic educators viewed the qualities of effective teachers on two levels, overt and covert. There are outward demonstrations overt qualities that originate from internally held views on the nature of the surrounding world covert. Humans are constantly in the process of responding to the actions of others and at the same time trying to perceive the purpose behind these actions.

    These personal attributes are a potent force in unlocking the potential of learners. Overt qualities: core conditions Certain conditions, when present in the teacher, were seen to optimise the potential for growth in the student. Three core conditions were proposed by Rogers as vital in the facilitation of meaningful change in others: realness, acceptance, and empathy. Rogers first tested these attributes extensively in counselling and psychotherapy and later applied them to education Rogers, His views were met with strong support from within education circles and enhanced the overall momentum of humanistic education Smith, ; Combs et al, Realness Realness was also referred to by Rogers as congruence.

    This involves the teacher being genuine in their encounter with the learner. If they are enthusiastic, they show it; if they are bored, they do not hide it. Essentially they are a real person to their students and not a faceless demonstration of curriculum standards Smith, The teacher should make this evident to their students. Acceptance Rogers struggled to give one name to this essential characteristic. Although acceptance is the best word available, several other words and terms have been used to provide further definition for this attribute. Initially Rogers adopted the term unconditional positive regard to describe the way one person can view others positively, even in the face of circumstances that might suggest otherwise.

    Other words that have been used to convey the nature of this attribute are respect, trust, and prizing. Prizing, in particular, seems to describe this characteristic well because it speaks of holding the student in high esteem. When an individual is held in high esteem by a significant other this has a powerful impact on motivation and self-concept Patterson, It also brings them out of the defensive shell that many withdraw into in order to protect themselves Kelley, The sense of acceptance students can get from a teacher builds self-esteem and can lead them to feeling safe and secure enough to take risks in their learning.

    Empathy Empathetic understanding is a vital dynamic in the promotion of growth in the classroom Allender, Essentially, empathy has no real synonym in the English language. The successful teacher can put themselves in the shoes of the students they are seeking to help. They can see the world as the student sees it. From this position, the teacher speaks and acts in ways that. Covert qualities: beliefs Another vital aspect of effective teaching is the nature of the beliefs teachers hold.

    The external observable characteristics of effective teachers have already been discussed. These characteristics are influenced by the internal frame of reference and beliefs that a teacher holds Aspy, ; Combs et al. It is the beliefs and values of an individual that will inevitably be conveyed in their outward interaction with others. They are characterized by acceptance of self, their situation, and others. This leads to functioning more effectively on a personal level with others Combs et al.

    They are less likely to feel threatened and therefore resort to defensive behaviour. This liberates them to interact in a free and non-threatening manner with others Combs et al. Beliefs are most visible to others in two areas — expectations and intentions. Expectations Expectancy is a significant determinant of response. They found that children whose teachers believed they were more able than they actually were made significant gains in IQ compared to a control group.

    Teachers who believe in the ability of their students will have expectations of a more successful contribution from them. This seems to be a significant motivating factor in student achievement. More recent research from Pardini supports this notion, that if teachers believe their students can perform at high levels, then they will exceed reasonable expectations in their learning. Intentions Students will further seek to explore the beliefs of teachers through observing the underlying intentions behind their actions.

    Combs et al. Students are not merely interested in what their teachers are doing but they consider the reason why a teacher is taking an action as extremely significant too. Intentions often say more about what one person believes about another than the actual action itself. For example, a teacher may set a challenging essay to write because it will take students a lot of class time to complete and minimise the amount of contact the teacher needs to have with the class.

    The latter set of intentions frame learners positively, whereas, the former frames them in a negative way. If they are affirmed they will be motivated toward more meaningful engagement with the teacher. If they are sent a negative message, they are likely to withdraw more from the teacher and the learning environment, as they adopt a more defensive position.

    What does this mean? Contemporary educational leaders have much to think about. Are we finding, keeping, and developing professionals whose interpersonal abilities are at a level that facilitates growth? Or are we perpetuating a cycle of substandard education by believing that effective teachers are made by giving them the right curriculum tools? Tools certainly help the master craftsperson but it is their skills that set them apart and, at the heart of teaching as a helping profession, it is interpersonal skills that make the difference.

    Therefore, school leaders should consider the following suggestions with a view of making them initiatives within their schools: 1. Focus research on interpersonal dynamics in classrooms. Much of what has been discussed in this paper has had little exposure within international educational circles. Dated as much of the literature referenced in this paper is, it remains reasonably exhaustive and therefore a rich base for new research. Cultural consideration would need to be paramount in any research as the focus and demands within an Asian school community are often very different to those within a European one.

    Careful consideration of personal attributes during teacher recruitment. There is evidence here to suggest effective teachers can be identified, through their personal attributes, before they even enter a school. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that international school Principals and Heads are often very focused on experience ahead of personal attributes. In light of what the paper has explored, it seems bizarre that IB teaching experience may be the primary differentiating factor between candidates for jobs. Other factors contribute to the making of a good teacher.

    If interpersonal qualities make a major difference then these should be at the fore of new teacher selection criteria.

    Professor John Elliott

    This could be achieved by ensuring referee checks are done that explore the interpersonal characteristics of the candidate. Making the interview process comprehensive and engaging the applicants on an interpersonal level would be useful too. Certainly support for school leaders is needed so they can confidently evaluate the ability of candidates. Professional learning that promotes the growth of self. Teachers will benefit from professional activities that promote personal growth.

    Reflection on the various aspects of professional work can be helpful when carried out both in a team and on an individual level Rogers, The end goal of this will be to overcome personal and social inhibitions which, in turn, will promote healthier, more confident teachers that should translate to a higher functioning personal life. Freedom and expectation to create. Effective teachers will naturally gravitate toward creating a classroom where children have freedom to create, be original, and explore their own ideas.

    This type of learning environment has for some time been seen as a necessity. School leaders and educational policy makers often suffocate creativity under the weight of accountability practices and external requirements. These leaders have a responsibility to serve classroom practitioners and promote psychologically healthy environments that allow teachers freedom to let their students follow their own creative inclinations.

    This will only happen if teachers can also have the freedom to create. They must not be compelled to follow formulated regimes of curriculum delivery. In essence, our schools should be places of liberty where everyone works toward exploring the limits of their potential rather than institutions that demand a strict adherence to prescribed canons of knowledge. Conclusion Ask any parent, student, or honest school Principal and they will tell you that the personal characteristics of teachers make a huge difference to the quality of learning in a classroom. Therefore, school leaders need to focus their energy on recruiting and retaining individuals with the highest personal qualities.


    • Présentation.
    • Saddle Sore.
    • Navigation.
    • This may mean transcending traditional logic around who are the best teachers to have on staff. It is not the past experience or some special knowledge that we come to love in our teachers. Rather we appreciate the warmth of their humanity as they allow us to experience it. This enables learners to focus on exploring the extent of their own potential within a psychologically stress-free environment. Teachers have a responsibility too. We will never be able to bottle the X Factor possessed by certain teachers.

      However, careful attention to certain conditions within schools will help to develop its prevalence. The humanistic movement in education has left modern educators much to think about in this regard.

      International Schools Journal Vol XXXII No.1 November 2012 International Schools Journal Vol XXXII No.1 November 2012
      International Schools Journal Vol XXXII No.1 November 2012 International Schools Journal Vol XXXII No.1 November 2012
      International Schools Journal Vol XXXII No.1 November 2012 International Schools Journal Vol XXXII No.1 November 2012
      International Schools Journal Vol XXXII No.1 November 2012 International Schools Journal Vol XXXII No.1 November 2012
      International Schools Journal Vol XXXII No.1 November 2012 International Schools Journal Vol XXXII No.1 November 2012
      International Schools Journal Vol XXXII No.1 November 2012 International Schools Journal Vol XXXII No.1 November 2012
      International Schools Journal Vol XXXII No.1 November 2012 International Schools Journal Vol XXXII No.1 November 2012
      International Schools Journal Vol XXXII No.1 November 2012 International Schools Journal Vol XXXII No.1 November 2012
      International Schools Journal Vol XXXII No.1 November 2012 International Schools Journal Vol XXXII No.1 November 2012

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