What do we want our students to learn?
AAS builds its curricular programming on the foundation of rigorous academic standards that have been crafted by experts and define essential understandings, knowledge, skills and dispositions. These standards, which represent subject-area outcomes, do not define the overall curriculum or the instructional practices, however, they are targets of learning that drive a reflective and informed approach to design, delivery and instructional adjustment to enrich student learning. While subject-specific, they are ideally integrated together as appropriate to further enhance lasting learning in authentic contexts.
The following standards make up the learning journey for learners from PK to Grade 12:
Impacts and Performance Areas
Beyond the core academic curriculum, it is our moral imperative to ensure that our students develop the essential skills and dispositions desired by today’s workforce. The AAS Impacts were crafted and introduced to address these transdisciplinary and non-cognitive skills, often referred to 21st century skills, which are universal to any field of study or career path.Research is showing that students who can demonstrate these specific skills and traits are more likely to find success beyond secondary school.
The AAS Impacts are in direct alignment with the IBO framework components, the Approaches to Learning, which emphasize how students can learn how to learn in order to solve problems by applying relevant skills and strategies to novel situations.
Learning at AAS seeks to have impact on our students through the development of the following AAS Impacts and Performance Areas:
- Self-directed Learners who navigate their own learning with agency, a growth mindset and resilience.
- Forward Thinkers who use critical and creative thinking with agility and purpose to develop understanding, solve problems and create solutions.
- Socially-intelligent Communicators who successfully engage interpersonal and group skills to work with individuals and within groups to empathize for solution-seeking, make connections, collaborate, and advance ideas for a greater good.
- Globally-minded Citizens who act with a global awareness and employ systems thinking to contribute to others in order to achieve, provide and/or positively impact community beyond self.
Our learners are people, people with a need to develop all aspects of themselves to live a balanced life in a modern world, successfully and happily. Learning at AAS offers opportunities for students to grow academically, emotionally, mentally, physically, and socially through both the curricular and non-curricular programs. Penguin LIfe programming, electives choices, and Senses Awakenings options offers our students a chance to follow interests and passions that create skills and dispositions that positively enrich their experience and maximize their potential.
How do we want our students to learn?
When students have an opportunity to inquire into subjects of interest, ask questions that invite an exploration into new learning. Inquiry is a key element of the learning experience for students in the elementary school. The IBO Primary Years Programme acts as the framework for organizing and planning key components of good teaching and learning that are instrumental in our students’ growth and development.
With personalizing learning at the forefront of our aspirations, AAS has been working through the model of design teams to establish practices that will further promote student-ownership of their own growth and development supported with high-yield instructional strategies that heighten learning.
The following essential elements for creating a personalized approach and environment to learning drive the on-going research and development efforts done by the design teams:
- Flexibility of Space, Place and Time - ensuring that our students work within a learning environment that is conducive to directing their own learning, applying and transferring understandings, knowledge and skills and appreciative of the needs of individuals and collaborative groups when working on projects and processes is essential to how we organize learning.
- Learning Off the Page - increasing opportunities for our students to apply and transfer learning in authentic contexts maximizes learning and prepares students to meet the various opportunities and challenges that await in their lives outside of school.
- Digital Learning - with the continued advancements of technology and the reality of globalization, digital opportunities to enhance learning are a given in today’s learning environments. Whether our students are offered online opportunities to expand and explore their own learning around personal interests and passions or take advantage of the digital devices that open pathways to developing understanding, knowledge and skills, we are obligated to ensure their safe and enhanced experiences.
Project-based Learning (PBL)
Learning happens within a context. Learners who employ critical and creative thinking skills are able to engage in solving real-world problems or seek solutions to complex questions within a real-world context. AAS has implemented project-based learning as a way to engage students in exciting and meaningful project work that makes use of their understandings, knowledge, skills and dispositions for a deeper level of learning.
AAS is dedicating time, effort and energy to developing this critical approach which integrates the focus on academic standards, the Impacts and Performance Areas and the role of action to provide students with learning experiences that engage them in meaningful service, reflection and skill development. These experiences help them to understand their role in meeting societal needs and proves they can make a difference in this world.
The how we knows
How do we know our students are learning?
At AAS, we believe that a student’s learning is best understood through a variety of views, tasks, opportunities and engagements. Assessment is not a test. It is the active collection of evidence of learning that allows teachers to adjust instruction and make a claim. Students have an active role to play in their learning which is best impacted by their direct involvement with evidence collection, goal-setting and self-adjustment as supported by their teachers.
We engage students in distinct assessments that have differing purposes: an Assessment FOR Learning (AfL) is the diverse set of tasks and engagements that provide evidence of learning along the way within a unit of study. It’s purpose is formative in that it allows students and teachers to work together to review progress and learning as well as redesign instruction and practice as needed.
An Assessment OF Learning (AoL) is used with the summative purpose of determining what a student has learned at the end of a duration of study.
On-going efforts to develop authentic opportunities for students to apply and transfer their learning within performances, projects, or product-creation is a key element of our commitment to enriching our assessment practices to deepen learning.