As teachers of the International Baccalaureate Program at SEK International School- Costa Rica we seek to instill values and attitudes that promote the formation of personality, as well as the capacity for critical and analytical reasoning. We want to empower young people to lead their personal development through meaningful knowledge and cultivate values with a social and ecological conscience, as established by the IB policy of our Institution. This is why we focus our efforts on equipping students with the tools for analytical and critical reasoning from the beginning of High School.
We strive to train students to be active agents of their own learning by developing aspects such as:
- Self-management of their own learning experience: Students learn to set goals and be resilient when the result of their work does not meet their expectations.
- A bond to the values proper to human beings, such as solidarity, empathy, and an open mind receptive to unfamiliar environments.
- Active participation in the creation of a planetary consciousness. For example, incorporating principles of environmental protection for local problems, all while considering the global dimension.
- Interculturality alongside hands-on learning. This creates the conditions necessary for successful teamwork with people of different origins and levels of education, who work for a common goal.
- By encouraging an open mind, students become reflexive and good communicators able to express and defend their points of view.
- Fundamental aspects such as learning to learn, learning to do, and learning to be, benefit the student more than only being an accumulator of information.
- Communication as a way to express ideas, to open dialogue, to reaffirm well founded beliefs, and to open one’s mind on the contributions of others.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed our teaching-learning methodology overnight. Our habits, spaces, customs, thoughts and attitudes had to be modified in the short term and we had to reinvent our tools and everyday practices. We went from having technology as a complementary tool to turning it into an essential part in teaching and in our daily life.
Even in our role as educators, we have had the opportunity to grow and learn alongside our students, who in the midst of this situation have adapted to the new learning model. One of the most gratifying experiences that this situation has brought, has been to discover the resilience and the creativity that we all have.
Thanks to the implementation of the International Baccalaureate in our school, we have had the opportunity to enhance the attributes applied daily in each of the classes, to our virtual classes. Inquiry, reflection, communication, solidarity, audacity, integrity, open-mindedness, the appropriate use of information, critical thinking and the balance of needs and skills, have become the tools sustaining the teaching-learning process so necessary in this exceptional situation.
We recognize the importance of the information and communication technologies in all the subjects. We, the teachers, and our students have put our skills and our technological literacy to the test with the use of new tools like virtual laboratories, simulators, and communication platforms.
Here we mention some examples of works produced by our students:
- In the Chemistry course, through inquiry, students delved into important chemical compounds.
- In Theory of Knowledge, it has been possible to maintain classroom discussions and dynamic analysis of current topics that lead to very interesting questions about Knowledge. In addition, videos and images have been shown on various topics to enrich the experience. Final-year students held discussions to choose from a set of titles for their TOK Essay. This led to an enriching analysis among the students and teachers of the International Baccalaureate.
- In the case of Biology, students studied evolution and ecology concepts through case studies. We delve into the idea that we must be assertive communicators to create impact, seeking to link experiences and scientific evidence to present our point of view on a topic.
- For Language and Literature, the exploration of creativity in communication has involved various media, from the construction of comic strips and calligrams, to more audiovisual media such as podcasts and newscasts.
- At CAS they are motivated to work on self-management, they are taught to be reflective, to be aware of the negative or positive consequences their actions can, to keep in mind that they are not alone in the world, and to commit to their local environment, without neglecting others. Following this line, the students have prepared prevention campaign posters against the spread of COVID-19. They have also spent time creating teaching materials for children ages 3 to 5, as well as recording stories for them. There is another group of students who are putting together a performance that involves the manipulation of puppets.
- In Mathematics, teamwork is promoted through the use of different technological resources. Students collectively contribute to solving a problem, suggesting different strategies, and giving each other feedback. In addition, technology has allowed them to visualize abstract mathematical concepts in a much more tangible way. Finally, the Pandemic has been the springboard in different topics such as modeling, which allows students to observe applied Mathematics in everyday situations, reinforcing its importance for humanity.
This work fills us with pride as it is a clear example of how this pandemic and our work as a team, has led us to be better every day.
International Baccalaureate Leadership Team
SEK-Costa Rica School