Approaches to learning
One of the key pillars of our mission at International School Carinthia is to empower our students to become lifelong learners. In order to achieve this goal, students must learn how to learn and how they learn best.
Research confirms that teachers have a significant impact on students’ learning. However, the teacher-centered practices of the past do not cultivate the creative and critical thinking skills students need to be successful in the 21st century. Teachers at ISC will employ a wide range of teaching strategies that will invite and encourage students to play a central role in their own learning. Rather than being seen as the main conduit of knowledge in the classroom, ISC teachers will be facilitators challenging students to develop a deep conceptual understanding of the curriculum in their own unique ways and learning styles.
At the core of the International Baccalaureate (IB) pedagogical philosophy from the early years through graduation is an inquiry-based approach to learning. Children are naturally curious, and this curiosity provides a hunger for learning new things. Teachers at ISC will maximize students’ curiosity to involve them each day in the learning process. When teachers design a unit of inquiry, they will start with the students’ questions about the concepts being examined and challenge students to develop well-informed answers to their questions so that by the end of each unit, students will have developed a much stronger conceptual understanding than they would have if the teacher led them step-by-step to the predetermined goal.
At times, a unit of inquiry will challenge students to examine real-world problems. During this process, students and teachers will work together to organize their background knowledge and ideas to define the problem. They also identify what they do not know and need to learn in order to better understand a problem. Collaboratively, they determine what the most important unknown aspects of the problem are and how they will uncover this information. After they have made a plan about how to proceed, they will gather this information using various methods and meet again later to share what they have learned. This may happen multiple times until students collectively feel they have a deep and broad understanding of the problem while also realizing there is always more to learn as a result of this process.
Another common learning strategy that ISC teachers will employ challenges students to engage in long-term projects centered on units of inquiry and our curriculum. Through this process, teachers will facilitate learning by asking students to develop focused questions, design effective project plans, and present their projects to a larger audience outside the classroom. Students will develop key critical thinking and research skills throughout this process as well as a much deeper understanding of the concepts under study. They will also receive critical feedback from teachers and students along the way to help them revise and improve their projects and understanding. Outside experts may also come in to help students in the process.
Technology-based learning will play a key role in our students’ education from grade one onwards. ISC plans to adopt tablets and laptops to introduce students to Information Computer Technology (ICT) and produce powerful projects, such as movies, websites, and digital portfolios. ISC will also adopt Google Apps for Education® to streamline our educational programming and communications within the school among other web-based platforms. Students will also be exposed to Microsoft Office® programs and other software that they will later use in their various career pursuits. In time, ISC hopes to equip most classrooms with interactive whiteboard technology as well. Through ISC’s technology-based programs, students will learn how to use technology competently and responsibly.
Technology-based learning will not only be limited to computer use in and out of the classroom. ISC will also offer students state-of-the-art science labs, music rooms, art rooms and a world-class media center to enhance our curriculum offerings. Students will also have the opportunity to explore various technological developments during visits to regional leaders in business and industry and in after-school programs.
The IB Learner Profile
At the core of all ISC’s curricular programs is the International Baccalaureate’s Learner Profile. The purpose of the Learner Profile is to inspire all members of the ISC community to be internationally-minded lifelong learners. To create a shared sense of responsibility for our environment and a commitment to creating a tolerant and more peaceful world, all ISC community members aspire to be: