Since beginning my time at ISGR, I have noticed a number of differences between the curriculum here and in the United States. ISGR follows what is called an IB, or inquiry based, curriculum. IB curriculum differs from the typical curriculum that we see in the U.S. because it does not explicitly teach social studies or science. Instead, the students learn a subject that is called inquiry and is typically taught through hands-on experiences. Every 5-6 weeks a new unit of inquiry begins and is explored in depth through various experiments, activities and discussions. Each of the unit topics has several layers and often connects to various science and social studies strands without explicitly being taught. Through my time here, I have noticed that inquiry works well because it caters to the various nationalities and cultures represented in the school rather than following a strict social studies curriculum.
This week I was given the opportunity by my cooperating teacher, Hannah, to plan and execute the inquiry lesson for this week. The unit of inquiry that the students are currently learning about is in regards to the needs of humans and how our environments shape this. Recently the students have been focusing on the 5 senses and how the absence of one of these senses can impact us and alter our environment. During the lesson I taught this week specifically, the students explored what we can learn and gain from sound, as well as what it might be like if we did not have our sense of sound. I began the activity by playing a variety of sounds for the students and asked them to identify as many of them as they could. We then conducted a discussion where students shared their ideas of what we gain from sound, as well as what other senses they might be able to use if they did not have hearing.
After the discussion, the students split into groups and began 4 different rotations where they interacted with sounds, participated in simulations without hearing, and learned how to sign their names in sign language. I was extremely nervous to begin this lesson and lead the activities due to my lack of experience with inquiry, however I was excited to try my hand at something new! My cooperating teacher helped me along the way, while also giving me free reign to come up with activities and ideas for the lesson. Overall, I was very happy with how the activities went over, and I felt as though the students had truly learned something valuable.
Planning and executing this lesson taught me a lot about the various teaching styles that are out there, and also granted me a valuable experience to teach something new. I am grateful for the opportunity to not only teach, but to learn about new content and styles of teaching along the way. Hannah has also generously shared ideas and materials with me that I will be able to take back with me to hopefully incorporate into my future classroom. As I continue to teach inquiry for the remainder of my time at ISGR, it is my hope that I will grow in my knowledge and experience with inquiry so that will be able to incorporate aspects of it into my future classroom.
Pictures of the lesson activities are to come!
Keep on learning,