Knowledge in ITGS


Recently I was asked to give a talk to first year IBDP students about the role of knowledge in ITGS as part of their regular TOK class. I chose to invoke the legendary Claude Shannon in discussing the transformative effect digitisation had on knowledge, and tie it in to the often specious arguments people make about the “half-life” of knowledge.

Bringing the maker movement to TES


I’ve been asked by my principal to head up a team who will develop a makerspace at the TES high school. In addition to being an exciting opportunity for me to do something a little different to the usual in Computing, it aligns really well with my plans for my research. The initial plans are for students in years 7 to 9 (ages 11 to 14) to do one term-long project per year, on a rotation so...

Constructionism in Taiwan


At the recent Christmas Bazaar I got to catch up with some friends who used to work at my school but left teaching to set up an education startup called Skyrock Projects, offering creative tech programs for kids aged 8 to 15. When they first described the idea to me, I suggested that they pitch it to parents as: “If you’re worried about your kid getting a job, send them to the buxiban...

Progressive pedagogies as a ‘difficult sell’


Student attitudes towards constructivist assumptions were investigated in a study conducted at Erasmus University Rotterdam (Loyens, Rikers & Schmidt, 2007) using a questionnaire containing statements about four constructivist assumptions: The importance of knowledge construction Cooperative learning Self-regulation The use of authentic problems A sample of first-year psychology students...

Taipei European School: background


TES is a not-for-profit international school licensed by the Taipei City Department of Education. It was founded in 1990 when the existing Taipei British School, Ecole Francaise de Taipei and Deutsche Schule Taipei merged in 1990 to share facilities and resources. Each of these existing schools was quite small and economic and logistical benefits led to the three schools being subsumed into one...

Adaptation, acculturation, adjustment or accommodation


The process of a student adapting to new surroundings is referred to as adaptation, acculturation, adjustment or accommodation interchangeably by different scholars. Because the others have a variety of other meanings in various contexts, I will use the term acculturation. This idea is an interesting one in an international school like TES, as all students from all backgrounds have a degree of...

International school students: transient learners? Sojourners?


Many international schools were established to serve expatriate diplomats, military personnel and business leaders, offering a level of consistency for the children of such “nomadic professionals” (Polt, 2011). Taipei European School is one such school, with combined British, French and German sections serving those nations’ expatriates as well as those of other European countries. Indeed, one of...

Western perceptions of Asian educational culture


Last week we had safeguarding & child protection training delivered by an international expert in the field. In discussing the different forms of child abuse – physical, mental, emotional & neglect – he gave an example of a child who turns up to school sleepy in the morning because he was at cram school until late the night before. His suggestion was that such action is...

Perceptions from western educators of Asian students


A typical conception of Chinese students from a western perspective is: ‘[…] respectful of the lecturer’s authority; diligent note-takers; preoccupied with fulfilling the expectations of the lecturers; uncritical of information presented in the textbook and by the lecturers; seldom asking questions or volunteering to contribute to tutorial discussions; and unaware of the conventions regarding...

Writing systems informing attitudes to pedagogy


The Chinese system of writing is one of extremely strict rules that can only be mastered through drill and practice. A discovery- or inquiry-based approach to learning how to write in a written language that works based on characters rather than an alphabet (traditional and simplified Chinese, Japanese) would in the eyes of many (but not all) Chinese language teachers be an ineffective means of...

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