Building Bridges Through Collaboration
When Ms. Sandy Trull (MYP Coordinator at HIS) and I decided to have a joint Personal Project Presentation between QAIS and Hanova International School (HIS), we wanted the MYP Personal Project experience to be BIGGER. Part of our plan was to encourage students to understand that the IB is a network, and may feel like a family.
However, we also recognized that the simple act of collaborating with other IB learners could give way to bond with other learners, and to make connections considering their MYP journeys. Thus, it was necessary to involve the right kind of people that could make this a remarkable experience.
In order for HIS students to carry out a historical exploration of our local context, Qingdao, QAIS IB DP students who were brought up in Qingdao agreed to take the HIS delegation on a tour that would allow them to carry out a historical exploration of Qingdao, a city whose German influence is what distinguishes from other cities in China. HIS and QAIS students walked the streets of Old Town Qingdao and visited some of the historical city highlights, thus commencing HIS students’ experience in Qingdao.
Another goal that Ms. Sandy Trull and I had in mind was to help students see how the context in which we learn determines our involvement with the community. Therefore, after the Personal Project Presentations, an MYP Service as Action experience exchange took place as well. HIS and QAIS students shared 3 projects that have been carried out in their respective scenarios. Through this exchange, students witnessed how the attributes of the IB Learner profile are brought thoughts life through Service as Action.
Among the projects that were shared the following ones can be mentioned: a recycling campaign, fare trade awareness, supporting a dog rescue center, and a video to create awareness on depression.
In order to bring this collaboration experience to a closure, Mr. Madden, QAIS MYP Service as Action coordinator, led a Fushan Mountain climb and cave exploration the following Saturday, prior to HIS students’ departure. Not only did this experience allowed HIS students to take one last glance at Qingdao from a different perspective, but also to explore one of the most loved outdoors spots for the locals.
This hike also gave students the opportunity to learn about the historical Fushan Tunnels, which are a series of military installations and defensive positions, blasted deep beneath the surface of the mountain. During WWII the tunnels were supposedly used as an artillery depot and special-forces training ground.
The IB Middle Years Program offers unique opportunities for teachers and students to experience learning from a very personal perspective, and if the right opportunities to expand students’ experience are made, they will be prepared for more than the IB DP: They will begin to build their future.
I am very appreciative of Ms. Sandy Trull’s willingness to collaborate in this adventure, whose next chapter I am looking forward in 2019 as QAIS travels to Xi’An and continue this relationship that HIS and QAIS have started.