Written by Daniel Eschtruth, Director of Schools at SCIS
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
At Shanghai Community International School (SCIS), we strongly believe that in order to participate in and contribute to the community's success, one must first excel on their own. Eloquence is self-awareness is crucial to harnessing one's self-belief and capabilities. Achieving our own excellence leads to excelling together.
We place significant focus on training and nurturing the traits that will help our students first achieve individual excellence, followed by group excellence. Through our curriculum, we aim for our students to develop and attain qualitative traits such as being inquisitive, open-minded, and courageous.
Student-led inquiry in our International Baccalaureate (IB) classrooms has proven to be one of our best tools in empowering a student's individual voice and agency on a daily basis. In our classes, our teachers ensure that these agencies are exercised by designing effective learning encounters for the children. In our Primary Years Programme (PYP), teachers make sure that these encounters cater to a range of learning styles for students to possess differences in their learning abilities. Teachers engage in the students' participation by encouraging them to think critically and creatively, a daily occurrence in the classrooms to help form the habits of curiosity, exploring, and acting.
As we all know, a learner's enthusiasm for different topics and their ability to learn are varied. SCIS recognizes this and we place a significant focus on offering individual attention to the student's learning and experience in class. The learning centers in our Lower School classrooms are designed to tap into the inquisitive side of each student and approach sense-making and conceptual understanding across disciplines - reaching the transdisciplinary heart of the PYP. By serving the students' learning through this approach, it allows for self-employment of their voice and choice in making decisions in the class. Over time, students will carry these learning experiences and interpersonal skills to the next level and apply them to situations outside of their classroom walls.
Student groupings are also one of the classes' most well-known IB strategies. The variations of groupings in the class are decided upon by the teacher, the one who is most familiar with the students and factoring in what is manageable within the specifics of the classroom and the students. Groupings in our IB curriculum help our teachers to monitor learning in a detailed and individualized manner by helping to identify a student's strengths and where they need improvements.
The core of the IB is about transforming our students as they learn through its dynamic curriculum applying themselves, and challenging what they know with their own capabilities. This is how they are molded to excel on their own and together, which is the very purpose of everything we implement in our classrooms.
At SCIS, we advocate for developing the students and helping them succeed, as we recognize that every child's growth and development are influenced by the interconnectedness of their different environments - home, school, and the general community - and the opportunities and experiences they present. We aim to evolve the student to think critically, creatively, and collaboratively. Knowing that in doing so, our students will be empowered to navigate these different environments with the required skills by understanding themselves first as well as how they fit in each dimension.
SCIS. Excelling Together.