Shifting the Learning Paradigm
by Srishti Vaswani, Learning Support Team Leader
The phrase by Socrates, "Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel," seems more relevant now than ever. Change is a constant and we all have to adapt to survive. Education though, has not evolved with the same urgency.
Expecting everyone to conform to limited educational choices is no longer accepted as sound practice as it fails many individuals. With the ultimate goal now to have students contributing successfully to society in a variety of ways, there is an increasingly obvious shift in the design of what and how students are expected to learn.
Listen to Sir Ken Robinson who, in his 2010 TED talk said, "Human communities depend upon a diversity of talent - not a singular conception of ability."
The story of YIS has also witnessed a similar learning revolution over the last few years. A testament to this changing educational paradigm was the formal establishment of the YIS Learning Support Department over six years ago, a department that is not considered as merely a luxury service for some students, but an investment that benefits everyone in our school community.
Our diverse student body is intertwined with some who have diagnoses such as ADHD, Dyslexia, Autism and more. Instead of being limited by their labels, they are supported to recognise their passions while working through their needs. Our aim is to have students succeed emotionally, socially and academically. We endeavour to support a range of learning needs right from early years to high school. From early intervention to providing modified programs at the IBDP level, our students are increasingly finding success in overcoming challenges while celebrating their individuality. Everyone is wired differently and it is up to educational organisations to level the playing field and celebrate diversity.
Watch Temple Grandin's talk on "The world needs all kinds of minds": https://www.ted.com/talks/temple_grandin_the_world...
With very few specialists in the local community who speak English, YIS has taken the lead to empower not only its own staff but also extend support to other international schools. This has led to us to bring the SENIA (Special Educational Network in Asia) conference to Japan this year for the very first time. The conference serves as an excellent professional development opportunity. (SENIA is a network of educators, professionals and parents across Asia dedicated to supporting individuals with special learning needs: http://senia.asia/about/)
YIS, in collaboration with some other international schools, has also been instrumental in setting up a local chapter under the SENIA umbrella in April 2016, with the aim of reaching out and supporting the local and international community within Japan: http://japan.senia.asia/
We hope you join hands with us in our undertaking to encourage this paradigm shift. Here is what our school leaders have to say about the philosophy and the establishment of Learning Support at YIS.
The LS Team