Lower School Curriculum
At ISL, we recognise and respect the diversity of our learners in terms of background, culture, language, gender, interests, readiness to learn, modes and rates of learning, confidence and independence as learners. We believe that:
- The goal of learning is to gain lasting understanding
- Learning with understanding is enhanced by self-assessment, reflection and thinking about the way we think
- Learning with understanding is facilitated when students construct meaning around the major concepts and principles of a discipline, make connections among the disciplines and apply trans-disciplinary skills
- Learners benefit from continuous assessment that provides clear, thorough and individual feedback
- Learners learn most effectively when they take an active role through enquiry, analysis, problem solving and discovery
- Learners learn best when they are appropriately challenged, interested in the material, find it relevant and are confident that success is within their grasp
- Learners learn in many different ways, have diverse abilities which are most effectively addressed when teachers differentiate instructional opportunities
We recognise that students differ as learners in terms of background, culture, language, gender, interests, readiness to learn, modes of learning, speed of learning, support systems for learning, self-awareness as a learner, confidence as a learner and independence as a learner. These differences profoundly impact how students learn and the support they will need at various points in the learning process. Teachers create flexible, rich learning environments and construct learning experiences based on what they know about each of their learners in order for each student to continue to develop further.
The curriculum at ISL is based on standards and benchmarks that the school has developed in all the major disciplines. These standards and benchmarks define what we believe to be the most important understandings, knowledge and skills our students should attain at particular stages. In order to best meet the needs of our international student population, the curricula of several national systems have been researched and have become the basis for the creation of ISL's standards and benchmarks. The framework for student learning and development of units of study is informed by these standards and benchmarks, which articulate across all sectors of the school from Preschool through to grade 12.
Assessment is used as a powerful educational tool for improving student learning and the quality of our instructional programmes. Assessment helps students:
- Understand the level, depth and breadth of learning, and their ability to interpret and apply knowledge
- Identify their strengths, areas that need strengthening and their learning needs
- Identify the need to improve specific skills
- Set future goals for themselves
In keeping with the principle of differentiating the instruction to meet the needs of all learners, teachers provide a variety of different kinds of assessment tasks. In providing this variety, teachers ensure a cross-section of experiences that caters for the different learning styles and strengths of students. Assessment tasks might differ in format (visual, oral, written, dramatic); level of complexity (multi-step tasks or single, simple tasks); presentation requirements (spoken, written, constructed, role-play) and groupings (group, individual or paired tasks).