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For best educational experience, teachers must be qualified and schools well-equipped with learning tools.

IN August, Associate Professor Dr Vishalache Balakrishnan’s letter discussed the transformation in education in primary schools, arguing that, to be effective 21st century educators, teachers need to focus on the holistic growth of each child.

They need to facilitate students to develop not only their intelligence quotient (IQ), but also their emotional quotient (EQ), spiritual quotient (SQ) and creative/confidence/communications quotient (CQ) too.

This, Dr Balakrishnan states, contradicts what has been done previously, that is, mostly teaching and preparing students to score in examinations through rote learning.

The writer raised relevant points regarding the tools teachers need to be able to administer a transformation of teaching and learning which nurtures the student holistically, and argued that teachers needed support, a regular standard of checks and balances from the Education Ministry, as well as a robust professional development programme for their own experiential learning

These “tools” that teachers require align very closely to the support provided by the innovative frameworks of the International Baccalaureate’s (IB) four programmes. In fact, for more than 50 years, the IB had focused on developing students as “whole learners”, and this holistic approach to education is at the heart of the IB World School authorisation and evaluation process, and the IB’s mentoring, training and professional development programmes for teachers. IB educators are also supported by an international community of peers — the IB Educator Network (IBEN).

A unique style of education, the IB nurtures independent learning and thinking skills, encouraging every student to take responsibility for their learning.

Informed by research into how students learn, how educators teach, and the principles and practice of effective assessment, the IB places a powerful emphasis on inquiry-based learning.

Within our Primary Years Programme (PYP) for learners aged 3 to 11, the transdisciplinary framework focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both at school and beyond.

Through the PYP, children will influence and direct their own learning, taking positive and meaningful action, and contributing to the wider learning community.

These skills are nurtured throughout the IB’s Middle Years Programme, Diploma Programme and Career-related Programme — and students will take these attributes with them throughout their education, career and lives.

While having ownership of their own learning from a young age, IB pupils are fully supported by highly-qualified teachers equipped with a comprehensive framework for high quality, internationally recognised education.

To facilitate the best educational experience for teachers and students, the IB provides a number of resources for educators in the PYP, as well as a range of professional development opportunities, administered online, in-school, at regional events and more.

When teachers are well-equipped with the tools to encourage children to have a voice, choice and ownership of their studies, incredible learning can occur — and this is something IB has been proud to champion in over 5,000 schools across 153 countries, for more than 50 years.

STEFANIE LEONG

Head, Development and Recognition, Asia Pacific, International Baccalaureate

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