Teaching and Learning

Kowloon Junior School delivers a challenging, meaningful curriculum within the framework of the Primary Years Programme. Our pedagogy is student focussed and inquiry based in order to achieve our vision ‘Success for Every Child’.

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Our teachers know their curriculum well enough to embrace and develop students’ interests in order to address – and often surpass – traditional age related expectations. They have a clear understanding of curricular expectations but never let this become the ceiling for learning or create just one path to get there. They see themselves working with children as partners in learning and use student voice to co-construct knowledge and ideas. They create authentic learner agency by actively seeking students’ questions and interests, using them to help shape the learning.

The Primary Years Programme

At KJS we are authorized to teach the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IBPYP). The IBPYP is a trans-disciplinary curriculum that is relevant, challenging and engaging for learners from Y1-Y6. It is a process-led, inquiry based curriculum framework that actively encourages students to ask questions and seek answers about the world around them. The IBPYP has three interrelated curriculum components.  These are expressed in the form of three open-ended questions, each of which compels us to think deeply about teaching practice and student learning. These also guide us when developing teaching and learning experiences:

pyp

The Framework of the IBPYP

 At the heart of the IBPYP is the Learner Profile. This defines student learning and encompasses the aims of the curriculum. The Learner Profile represents the qualities of an international minded person and matches the series of desired attributes outlined in our Guiding Statements.

The IBPYP incorporates a balance of five essential elements: concepts, approaches to learning (skills)attitudesaction and knowledge by means of:

  • A process-led, inquiry based curriculum within a broad, trans-disciplinary framework which encourages students to ask questions and seek answers about the world around them.
  • Integration of Science as means of exploring how the world works, Social Studies as a way of examining and understanding how human beings live and interact with each other and the earth, Personal, Social and Physical Education (PSPE) to consider the well-being of ourselves and others.
  • Use of Maths, Language and the Arts to reinforce concepts and help students make greater connections.
  • Learning opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom through field trips and from guest speakers.
  • Collaboration between year level and specialist teachers to ensure progression and coverage of the KJS curriculum.
How will we best learn? The Taught Curriculum

For many of you who are reading about the IBPYP for the first time you may ask: “Is it a curriculum or an approach?” The answer is ‘both’. The IBPYP curriculum is defined broadly to include an approach to teaching and learning, in recognition of the fact that, in practice, the two are inextricably linked. The taught curriculum is the written curriculum in action.

The IBPYP is further infused with a spirit of inquiry. The ongoing implementation of the PYP is framed by means of questions such as “What do we want the students to understand and be able to do?” In seeking to answer that question, there is a commitment to refining what is significant and relevant, and to quality rather than quantity.

Inquiry, interpreted in the broadest sense, is the process initiated by the students or the teacher that moves the students from their current level of understanding to a new and deeper level of understanding.

Therefore inquiry can mean:

  • exploring, wondering and questioning
  • experimenting and playing with possibilities
  • making connections between previous learning and current learning
  • making predictions and acting purposefully to see what happens
  • collecting data and reporting findings
  • clarifying existing ideas and reappraising perceptions of events
  • deepening understanding through the application of a concept
  • making and testing theories
  • researching and seeking information
  • taking and defending a position
  • solving problems in a variety of ways. 
How will know what we have learned? The Assessed Curriculum

At  KJS  we  believe  that  assessment  is  integral  to  all  teaching     and

learning. It is the process of gathering information about student progress and identifying what students know, understand, can do and feel at different stages of the learning process.

Assessment enables both students and teachers to recognise and monitor progress and focuses on the quality of student learning during the process of inquiry. Assessment acts as a foundation for future planning and practice. It is central in guiding the students through the learning process and enables us to report to parents, teachers, administration and students the progress they are making.

The purposes of assessment at KJS is to:

  • determine what students know and understand
  • inform and differentiate the teaching and learning
  • monitor student progress, to provide feedback to teachers, students and parents
  • monitor the efficacy of the programme
  • inform the professional development of staff
APPROACHES TO LEARNING – (skills): What do we want students to be able to do?

Within their learning, students acquire and apply a set of transdisciplinary skills: social skills, communication skills, thinking skills, research skills and self-management skills. These skills are extremely valuable, not only in the Units of Inquiry, but also for any teaching and learning that goes on within the classroom, and in life outside the school.

ACTION: How do we want students to act?

At KJS we believe that education must extend beyond the intellectual to include not only socially responsible attitudes but also thoughtful and appropriate action. An explicit expectation is that successful inquiry will lead to responsible action, initiated by the student as a result of the learning process. This action will extend the student’s learning, or it may have a wider social impact, and will clearly look different within each age range.

CONCEPTS: What do we want students to understand?

Eight fundamental concepts, expressed as key questions, drive the process of inquiry and assist in developing a transdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning. These concepts drive the units of inquiry which are designed by teachers and students and lie at the heart of the curriculum model. The key concepts around which all Units of inquiry are developed are:

  • Form – What is it like?
  • Function – How does it work?
  • Causation – Why is it like it is?
  • Change – How is it changing?
  • Connection – How is it connected to other things?
  • Perspective – What are the points of view?
  • Responsibility – What is our responsibility?
  • Reflection – How do we know?
ATTITUDES: What do we want students to feel, value and demonstrate?

While recognizing the importance of knowledge, concepts and skills, these alone do not make an internationally minded person. It is vital that there is also focus on the development of personal attitudes towards people, towards the environment and towards learning, attitudes that contribute to the well-being of the individual and of the group.

The attitudes are:  Appreciation, Commitment, Confidence, Cooperation, Creativity, Curiosity, Empathy, Enthusiasm, Independence, Integrity, Respect, Tolerance

KNOWLEDGE: What do we want students to know?

Overall expectations for each subject, within each Year level, are specified in detailed scope and sequence documents. Alongside our specific subject documentation, the IB provides us with a framework into which we develop units of inquiry. This framework is in the form of a matrix and has six overarching transdisciplinary themes. These broad themes are:

 HOW THE WORLD WORKS

An inquiry into the natural world and its laws; the interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human   s o c i e t i e s ; h o w h u m a n s u s e t h e i r understanding of scientific principles; the impact of scientific and technological advances on society and on the environment.

 WHERE WE ARE IN PLACE AND TIME

An inquiry into orientation in place and time; personal histories; homes and journeys; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind; the relationships between and  the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations, from local and global perspectives.

SHARING THE PLANET

An inquiry into rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and with other l i v ing things; communities and the relationships within and between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict resolution.

WHO WE ARE

An inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities, and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human.

HOW WE EXPRESS OURSELVES

An inquiry into the ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs, and values; the ways in which we reflect on, extend and enjoy our creativity, our appreciation of the aesthetic.

HOW WE ORGANIZE OURSELVES

An inquiry into the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities; the structure and function of organizations; societal decision-making; economic activities and their impact on humankind and the environment.

Each year group spends approximately 6 weeks inquiring into an aspect of each of these themes.

Languages

At Kowloon Junior School, all teachers are language teachers as language transcends curriculum areas. Language is the cornerstone for effective communication, a way to express, convey, explore, expand and reinforce the learner’s ideas, concepts, perspectives and culture: it supports and enhances each individual’s ability to develop and reach their potential to be life-long learners. We believe that the development in language is best when learning language, learning about language and learning through language.

As an IB school, we believe that language is central to all learning, through an inquiry based approach, in a meaningful, authentic context.  We provide a range of purposes, situations and audiences for language development.  Through a transdisciplinary approach we aim to develop confident, curious, highly proficient and enthusiastic readers, writers, viewers, presenters, speakers and listeners.

In line with our mission, vision and values, we believe that every student has an individual set of experiences, skills and interests, which must be considered in the teaching and learning process, the language that children learn and use helps them to establish their identity, intercultural awareness, and global citizenship and thus support the concept of international mindedness.

This policy outlines our core beliefs and practices which permeate the teaching and learning of Language in four key areas:

  • English Language
  • Mandarin Language
  • English as an Additional Language
  • Mother Tongue

Aims:    At KJS the children will:

  • develop the necessary skills to use language socially and academically
  • speak clearly, fluently and accurately
  • listen to the oral language attentively with understanding
  • present and respond effectively to visual texts and performances
  • read a range of texts fluently with understanding, both for enjoyment and for information
  • write effectively for a wide range of audiences and purposes
  • reflect on and evaluate their own and others’ use of language
English

English is our language of instruction. We recognise that our school community is diverse and our children come from a wide range of backgrounds with a variety of English language experiences. The children are supported in their learning through differentiated instruction based on their individual needs.  A whole language inquiry-based approach to learning is incorporated throughout the curriculum. Learning is planned according to the three strands identified in the IB’s Language Scope and  Sequence.

  • Oral language – Listening and Speaking
  • Visual language – Viewing and Presenting
  • Written language – Reading and Writing

It is our aim to ensure that all students communicate effectively in English in all aspects of school life.

Mandarin

We recognise that Chinese is the second language of our school and the language of our host country. We are committed to children achieving a high competence in Chinese. Throughout their schooling, children are provided with learning opportunities appropriate to their level of ability and background in learning Chinese. Following the ESF wide outcome-based multi-pathway curriculum, our children are catered for in different groups and pathways. The three language Strands (Oral, Visual and Written) are taught through purposeful and engaging activities. Year 1 children have three 45-minute lessons per week; Year 2 children have four 45-minute lessons: Years 3 to 6 have daily lessons. As the children progress through the programme, they learn to communicate and interact in Chinese in a natural and unrehearsed manner with their teachers, classmates and the wider community. Chinese language learning is further facilitated through the contribution of the Chinese teachers to the Programme of Inquiry. All teachers of Chinese will contribute to team teaching to promote learning through the language, professional collaboration, curriculum continuity and articulation. Children studying Chinese take an active role in their language learning. Since their participation is an integral part of each class, the children naturally take ownership of this language, which they are then able to use. Opportunities are provided so that students may enhance the communication and social skills, which are essential in their daily lives.

English as an additional Language

An EAL learner at KJS is one who has a least one parent whose first language is not English.  It is likely that the parent will either use their first language with the child or converse in it with other members of the family.

We recognise that communication is the basis of language acquisition and believe that we need to ensure that EAL students and all languages are celebrated and supported. EAL children are simultaneously learning to use English whilst learning curriculum content through the medium of English. As a result, meaningful, useful communication in a safe, stimulating, language-rich, learner-centred environment, and effective teacher pedagogy provides the foundation of EAL teaching and learning. This approach within a PYP context engenders confidence, facilitating successful language acquisition, building upon what the children already know. Our purpose is to nurture and to encourage EAL learners to achieve their highest potential and to value their multi-lingual and multi-cultural backgrounds.

Mother Tongue

At KJS we believe that children should have the opportunity to maintain and develop their mother tongue(s).  Mother tongue is the culture that an individual identifies with as their culture of origin and is often the language that is used at home. Mother tongue development is necessary for cultural identity and cognitive development. Therefore we support the mother tongue of each student to participate more effectively in the global community.

Teachers at KJS:

  • Encourage children to use their Mother Tongue in school and at home.
  • Try to place children in classes with other children who speak the same languages they do whenever possible.
  • Encourage parents to talk, read and write with their children in their mother tongue
  • Develop the school library contains numerous books in a variety of languages
  • Encourage students to share their learning and progress with their parents in their mother tongue.

Maths

At Kowloon Junior School we aim to nurture able, confident mathematicians who embrace and enjoy inquiring into all five strands of our programme:

Data handling

Data handling allows us to make a summary of what we know about the world and to make inferences about what we do not know.

  • Data can be recorded, organized, represented and summarized in a variety of ways to highlight similarities, differences and trends; the chosen format should illustrate the information without bias or distortion.
  • Probability can be expressed qualitatively by using terms such as “unlikely”, “certain” or “impossible”. It can be expressed quantitatively on a numerical scale.

Measurement

To measure is to attach a number to a quantity using a chosen unit. Since the attributes being measured are continuous, ways must be found to deal with quantities that fall between numbers. It is important to know how accurate a measurement needs to be or can ever be.

Shape and space

The regions, paths and boundaries of natural space can be described by shape. An understanding of the interrelationships of shape allows us to interpret, understand and appreciate our two and three-dimensional world.

Pattern and function

To identify pattern is to begin to understand how mathematics applies to the world in which we live. The repetitive features of patterns can be identified and described as generalized rules called “functions”. This builds a foundation for the later study of algebra.

Number

Our number system is a language for describing quantities and the relationships between quantities. For example, the value attributed to a digit depends on its place within a base system. Numbers are used to interpret information, make decisions and solve problems. For example, the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are related to one another and are used to process information in order to solve problems. The degree of precision needed in calculating depends on how the result will be used.

At KJS students have five hours a week of maths, either embedded within Units of Inquiry or as stand alone lessons.  Students are taught to explain their ideas, theories and results, both orally and in writing in order to invite constructive feedback and lay out alternative models of thinking for the classs.

© International Baccalaureate Organization 2007 85 Mathematics in the Primary Years Programme

Science

In the PYP, science is viewed as the exploration of the biological, chemical and physical aspects of the natural world, and the relationships between them. Our understanding of science is constantly changing and evolving. The inclusion of science within the PYP leads learners to an appreciation and awareness of the world as it is viewed from a scientific perspective. It encourages curiosity and ingenuity and enables the student to develop an understanding of the world. Reflection on scientific knowledge also helps students to develop a sense of responsibility regarding the impact of their actions on themselves, others and their world. Inquiry is central to scientific investigation and understanding. Students actively construct and challenge their understanding of the world around them by combining scientific knowledge with reasoning and thinking skills. Scientific knowledge is made relevant through its innumerable applications in the real world. The science process, by encouraging hands-on experience and inquiry, enables the individual to make informed and responsible decisions, not only in science but also in other areas of life.

During their six years at KJS, students will study science through the following strands:

Living things

The study of the characteristics, systems and behaviours of humans and other animals, and of plants; the interactions and relationships between and among them, and with their environment.

Earth and space

The study of planet Earth and its position in the universe, particularly itsrelationship with the sun; the natural phenomena and systems that shape the planet and the distinctive features that identify it; the infinite and finite resources of the planet.

Materials and matter

The study of the properties, behaviours and uses of materials, both natural and human-made; the origins of human-made materials and how they are manipulated to suit a purpose.

Forces and energy

The study of energy, its origins, storage and transfer, and the work it can do; the study of forces; the application of scientific understanding through inventions and machines.

The science component of the curriculum also provides opportunities for students to:

  • observe carefully in order to gather data • use a variety of instruments and tools to measure data accurately
  • use scientific vocabulary to explain their observations and experiences
  • identify or generate a question or problem to be explored
  • plan and carry out systematic investigations, manipulating variables as necessary
  • make and test predictions
  • interpret and evaluate data gathered in order to draw conclusions
  • consider scientific models and applications of these models (including their limitations).

Taken from:   Making the PYP happen: A curriculum framework for international primary education

Social Studies

In the PYP, social studies is viewed as the study of people in relation to their past, their present and their future, their environment and their society. Social studies encourages curiosity and develops an understanding of a rapidly changing world. Through social studies, students develop an understanding of their personal and cultural identities. They develop the skills and knowledge needed to participate actively in their classroom, their school, their community and the world: to understand themselves in relation to their communities. The aim of social studies within the PYP is to promote intercultural understanding and respect for individuals and their values and traditions. In support of the IB mission statement, the social studies component of the PYP curriculum will encourage students to “understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right”. Therefore, there is a strong emphasis on the reduction of prejudice and discrimination within the classroom, the school, the community and the world. The IB learner profile is integral to teaching and learning social studies in the PYP because it represents the qualities of effective learners and internationally minded students. The learner profile, together with the five essential elements of the programme knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes and action—informs planning, teaching and assessing in social studies. Social studies learning guides students towards a deeper understanding of themselves and others, and of their place in an increasingly global society. It provides opportunities for students to look at and think about human behaviour and activity realistically, objectively, and with sensitivity. Exposure to and experience with social studies therefore opens doors to key questions about life and learning. Evidence of student learning will be apparent in their willingness and ability to take action in order to make a difference in the world.

Learning that allows for a variety of learning styles and language levels is planned, encouraging students to ask and answer their own questions. Through their interaction with the resources and dialogue with each other, students consider different points of view, develop skills and attitudes, and gain knowledge and conceptual understanding. Students apply skills and concepts in new contexts, and transfer new skills and concepts to familiar contexts. The social studies component of the curriculum provides opportunities for students to:

  • learn how to ask compelling and relevant questions that can be researched
  • gain a secure understanding of their own identity and their place in the world
  • develop an understanding of other cultural groups and an appreciation of other ideas and beliefs
  • gain knowledge that is of genuine importance in understanding the human condition through the exploration of themes that have significance for all students in all cultures
  • gain conceptual understanding through participating in learning experiences that foster sensitivity, creativity and initiative, leading to socially responsible action
  • gain a sense of time and place in relation to their own experience and the experience of other people
  • gain an understanding of humankind’s role in, and dependence on, the natural and constructed world, and learn to apply this knowledge in responsible ways.

As a result of their learning, students share with each other and take action.

Taken from:   Making the PYP happen: A curriculum framework for international primary education

PSPE

Personal, Social, Physical Education is an integral part of students’ everyday life at school and at home. It is an essential part of the curriculum and, as students engage with it across and between the subject areas, they come to a deeper understanding of its relevance and applicability to their everyday lives. Appropriate attitudes and behaviours are also modelled within the school and the school community.

At KJS students have two designated lessons of Physical Education a week, using the gymnasium, hall or playground. We believe that physical education is more than just student participation in sports and games. Its purpose should be to develop a combination of transferrable skills promoting physical, intellectual, emotional and social development; to encourage present and future choices that contribute to long term healthy living; and to understand the cultural significance of physical activities for individuals and communities. As such aspects of PSPE permeate our Programme of Inquiry.

Taken from:   Making the PYP happen: A curriculum framework for international primary education

Arts

The arts component of the curriculum provides opportunities for students to:

  • develop proficiency as dancers, actors, musicians and visual artists
  • acquire audience skills such as listening and viewing responsively
  • interpret and present their own or others’ works to a range of audiences
  • evaluate the different roles of artists in society such as to entertain, provoke debate or challenge views and perceptions
  • create and critique choreographed performance, plays, compositions and artwork using a selection of tools and techniques
  • express feelings, ideas, experiences and beliefs in a variety of ways
  • improve coordination, flexibility, agility, strength and fine motor skills.

There are two common strands in all areas of the arts – creating and responding:

Responding

The process of responding provides students with opportunities to respond to their own and other artists’ works and processes, and in so doing develop the skills of critical analysis, interpretation, evaluation, reflection and communication. Students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the concepts, methods and elements of dance, drama, music and visual arts, including using specialized language. Students consider their own and other artists’ works in context and from different perspectives in order to construct meaning and inform their own future works and processes. The responding strand is not simply about reflecting; responding may include creative acts and encompasses presenting, sharing and communicating one’s own understanding. By responding to their own artwork and that of others, students become more mindful of their own artistic development and the role that arts play in the world around them.

Creating

The process of creating provides students with opportunities to communicate distinctive forms of meaning, develop their technical skills, take creative risks, solve problems and visualize consequences. Students are encouraged to draw on their imagination, experiences and knowledge of materials and processes as starting points for creative exploration. They can make connections between their work and that of other artists to inform their thinking and to provide inspiration. Both independently and collaboratively, students participate in creative processes through which they can communicate ideas and express feelings. The creating strand provides opportunities for students to explore their personal interests, beliefs and values and to engage in a personal artistic journey

Taken from:   Making the PYP happen: A curriculum framework for international primary education

Learning Technology

This page will be updated soon.

Home Learning

Purpose

The purpose of this agreement is to develop a consistent and purposeful approach to home learning between KGV, BHS, KJS, CWBS and JCSR based upon the shared language and values.

Philosophy

Home learning should be a shared responsibility between the student, teacher and family. It is designed to develop self – directed, responsible and independent and lifelong learners. Home learning should form part of a balanced and healthy student lifestyle.

Principles

 Home learning…

  • Develops the learner profile, attitudes and approaches to learning.
  • Enriches, enhances and develops learning through appropriate challenge.
  • Provides choice and voice, enabling student ownership.
  • Encourages a partnership with families and develops understanding through mother tongue.
  • Provides opportunities for students to take action based on their learning.

Responsibilities

Teachers Students Families
  • Support students in developing healthy learning practices.
  • Home learning is explained to students (and/or families) in a clear and concise manner
  • Home learning is developed as a team, aligns with concepts being taught and enhances learning in the classroom.
  • Timely feedback is to be given to students
  • Home learning is planned and organised in accordance with the shared Kowloon Learning Campus values.
  • Develop healthy, effective learning practices.
  • Balance time between home learning, activities and family
  • Clarify what is expected from home learning tasks with teachers.
  • Complete and return home learning in a timely manner
  • Complete home learning with an appropriate level of support and collaboration
  • Aim to complete tasks to a standard they can be proud of.
  • Support their child in developing effective learning practices with an appropriate level of independence
  • Help their child to balance time between home learning, activities and family to support wellbeing.
  • Offer support and collaboration when appropriate.