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One School, One Classroom: Student Perspectives on International Education
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6th Apr, 2009 | Source : Ciarán Daly, Gabrielle Flowers, Mubah Rafi, Max Pässler, Erum Khalid, Mikala Skelton & Mackenzie Sambuco

Who are we?

ISB is like many international schools around the world with 1500 students, aged 2 to 19, from 70 countries. 59% of us have first languages other than English, 15% of us have mild to moderate learning difficulties, 1% of us has severe learning difficulties, and 10% of us might be called ‘highly able’. Each year, a quarter of us move on to new learning experiences elsewhere. Each of us, though, has our own learning style, skills, interests, passions, personality, hopes and dreams. Each of us are unique in our own way.

What does learning look like in a typical middle school classroom?

In one class alone, we represent countries from almost every continent including Ireland, South Africa, America, Belgium, Pakistan and India. Together, we speak French, English, Spanish, Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi. Not everyone who joins ISB can speak English when they arrive. One student in our class, though, has moved from beginner to advanced ESL in just two years. This is common at our school.

Saying goodbye to friends is also a common experience. Two students will be leaving ISB at the end of this school year, one after only one year at the school. This reflects how an international school can also be a bit depressing, with best friends leaving almost every year.

To us, an international school means many things. It means the students, teachers and the curriculum are – surprise, surprise – international. Perhaps more than anything else, this means that the classroom is characterized by a spirit of acceptance and open-mindedness. Everyone is welcome, along with their ideas and you don't discriminate. If you are passionate about something, there will always be someone to listen to you and someone with the same passion.

An international school is also a place where you meet different people from around the world, from different cultures and religions and learn how to be a good international citizen. It is important that we learn how to make a positive impact on the world.

Ultimately, though, ISB is a school where we feel safe, accepted, diverse and challenged. Here, our uniqueness is celebrated and embraced and this is what makes our school a place where we can discover who we are and what our place is in this world.

ISB Middle School Students: Ciarán Daly, Gabrielle Flowers, Mubah Rafi, Max Pässler, Erum Khalid, Mikala Skelton and Mackenzie Sambuco.



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