Seoul Foreign School’s Continuum of Education
We are excited to announce that Seoul Foreign School’s application for candidacy to deliver the Primary Years Programme (PYP) and Middle Years Programme (MYP) has been accepted by the International Baccalaureate Organization, effective 1 September 2015.
Why did Seoul Foreign School choose the PYP and MYP?
In the 2014-15 academic year we conducted a thorough review of our academic programs. After valuable input was gathered through surveys, Head of School coffee mornings, Parent Advisory Groups, informal feedback, and outside agencies, one consistent theme emerged - SFS would benefit from a more coherent program from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12.
Although we examined multiple programs, we realized early on in this process that the International Baccalaureate Programme (IB) was well aligned with our vision of education. The IB has a reputation for quality, high standards, and being a leader in instructional practice; in addition, it is also motivated by a mission to create a better world through education - standards which fit well with our own Christ-centered mission. We determined that if the culmination of our students’ education is the IB-Diploma Programme (in grades 11 and 12) then it made sense to give our students an opportunity to experience all of the IB Programmes if they choose to attend the Elementary School and Middle School. The core elements of the IB-Diploma Programme are also a part of the PYP and MYP which helps align the learning students will experience. We believe that implementing multiple programmes from the IB continuum will be highly rewarding for our students, providing them with a coordinated and consistently high-quality education.
What does it mean to be a Candidate School and what is the process to become fully authorized?
The implementation of the PYP and MYP takes place in stages, each with distinctive objectives and related time frames. We have completed the Consideration Phase and the Request for Candidacy Phase and are now a Candidate School. The transition from Candidate School to full authorization takes most schools between 2 and 4 years. We aim to be fully PYP and MYP authorized by the spring of 2018.
During the Candidate Phase affected teachers and administrators will:
- have access to the IB curriculum website and online global IB forums,
- be able to attend IB training or apply for on-site whole school training through the IB,
- be able to join a network of other schools in the Asia-Pacific Region which can provide support and guidance,
- begin trial implementation of the PYP and MYP, and
- receive support from the IB including having an experienced consultant assigned to each of the programs.
Once we are ready to apply for authorization, we will submit documents to the IB demonstrating a thorough understanding of the PYP and MYP. The IB will schedule a verification visit, generally conducted by two or three experienced IB educators who have been trained according to global IB policies. They will verify that the educational principles and required practices are in place and that SFS is prepared to fully implement the PYP and MYP. Authorization will be granted once we meet the IB requirements.
*Please note that although the British School will continue to offer the English National Curriculum and will not be directly impacted by the implementation of the PYP and MYP, its leadership team will work closely with the High School to ensure its students are fully prepared for grade 9 and the MYP.
How will the implementation of the PYP and MYP change the educational experience for students at SFS?
SFS will continue to use the same core curriculum standards, including the IGCSE in the High School, but with the implementation of the PYP and MYP teachers will deliver their lessons within the IB curricular frameworks and practices. The IB Learner Profile will be embedded throughout lessons and teachers will focus on interdisciplinary learning. Greater emphasis will be placed on service opportunities, while teaching and learning 21st Century skills including creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration will be integrated into classroom practices. In addition, a common approach to assessment will be implemented across the school.
It is an exciting time to be at Seoul Foreign School and we look forward to the changes that will take place with the implementation of the PYP and MYP. For more information about the IB, please visit their website at www.ibo.org.
Seoul Foreign School Curriculum
Our curriculum is built on a solid foundation of best practices in inquiry based learning from around the world. Understanding by Design is the model used to structure the curriculum and guide instruction. In this model, teachers start their planning by identifying outcomes for the unit of study. They then plan the curriculum, choosing activities and materials that help determine student ability and foster student learning.
The Understanding by Design model focuses on developing understanding in three stages:
- In stage 1 the teacher identifies the desired learning results with regards to what the student will know and be able to do. These results are derived from recognized standards. Essential questions are then framed to guide the development of this understanding.
- In stage 2 teachers plan to gather evidence of learning by utilizing a variety of assessment techniques that includes projects, performances, tests, investigations, self-reflection of learning and situations where learning is applied to real situations. These assessment techniques are linked to the standards identified in stage 1.
- Lastly, stage 3 lists the learning activities that will prepare students to undertake the assessment tasks and respond to the essential questions.
In the High School students can graduate with a SFS High School Diploma by meeting academic requirements based on school-based courses or externally recognized programs. In Grades 9 and10 students can choose to take the IGCSE Program and for Grade 11 and 12 the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program. These programs are not only renowned around the world as the best college preparatory programs but also for their focus on fostering responsible world citizenship. Seoul Foreign School is proud to be one of the oldest IB schools in the world, having offered the IB Diploma now for over 30 years. Not surprisingly the majority of our students take the full diploma and virtually all take at least one or more IB courses in Grade 11 and 12.
Our entire curriculum is mapped using the latest technology software to ensure consistency in the knowledge and skills being developed across the different divisions. A curriculum review cycle ensures our curriculum is dynamic and of the highest quality in reflecting current effective practices. Program effectiveness and student performance are measured against world recognized standardized testing mechanisms in the elementary, middle and British school and results in the externally applied, Gr. 10 IGCSE and Gr. 12 IB Diploma examinations