(Written By: Ellie Flesher, IBDP Business Management and TOK Teacher)
Experts around the world are talking about the ways we can improve schooling to prepare young people for success. A video of Jack Ma, one of China's most successful and famous entrepreneurs, went viral from the 2018 Global Economic Forum.
"If we do not change the way we teach, in 30 years there will be trouble," he said in a speech.
Beijing City International School – along with leading schools around the world – is answering the call to transform the way we teach and learn. In 2018, BCIS took a major step toward in transforming and innovating education through the creation of our IDEATE program.
Now, in 2019, our first graduates of the program are on their way to university, gaining acceptance and scholarships to some of the world's most specialized programs around the world.
"We are so proud of our first graduates of the IDEATE program," said Julie Lawton, Head of School at BCIS. "This innovative pathway to graduation is response to the skills and knowledge that universities and employers are looking for in young people, and our students' accomplishments are evidence of its success."
IDEATE is specialized for students in Grades 11 and 12 who have an interest in innovation, design, entrepreneurship, arts, and technology. On top of rigorous academic coursework, students in the IDEATE program are required to work as interns outside of school, build relationships with industry professionals in their field, and take part in project-based learning experiences that go beyond traditional textbooks and exams. There is a focus on self-direction, critical thinking, real-life application of knowledge, and creativity.
"We cannot teach our kids to be smarter than a machine," Jack Ma said in his speech. "Values, believing, independent thinking, team working, and care for others are the most important."
David Perkin, a senior professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, agrees. In his book Making Learning Whole, Perkin explains the importance of students learning transferrable skills that will help them succeed in the future. As educators, we are preparing young people for a job market which will be made up of careers we do not yet know or may not even be able to imagine. For this reason, we should focus less on teaching the facts of ancient wars, for example, and instead educate our students about the intricacies of conflict resolution, leadership, cultural understanding, and personal skills.
"At BCIS, we are using the latest research to build innovative and individualized programs that give our students the best chance at success in university and beyond," Ms. Lawton said. "We couldn't be prouder of our Class of 2019 and are excited about what the future holds for our future IDEATE graduates."