IIS: A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO LEARNING
The International Independent School (IIS) has been one of Jordan’s innovative educators since its inception in 2007. Now, with around 1100 students, IIS is developing curriculum that enhances their students’ skills and molds them into confident and able
young adults. Nabil Hussein, Chairman for the Board of Directors at IIS, spoke about IIS’s vision for educating today’s youth and how IIS is providing students with the essential skills and knowledge that allows them to be successful as they continue to grow.
Youth employment has been a focal point of discussion in Jordan and regionally. What skills do children need to develop between K-12 to prepare them for the workforce in the future?
Learning to learn is a teachable skill and should be at the core of the school curriculum. This includes iterative efforts at instilling and advancing learning skills, and giving students the chance to reflect and learn about how they learn best. A self-aware child will grow to be someone who can and wants to talk to all sorts of people. To listen well and to continue to learn. No success is possible if w e don’t raise children to become adaptable, thoughtful, open-minded adults.
We can work with children to understand the situations others are in, the points of view that other people have. The child who develops people sense will be a strong collaborator.
How is the International Independent Schools educating students on digital technology at an early age?
The International Independent Schools educate students on digital technology at an early age by integrating it into the learning program and having it used in rotation with other learning tools such as art materials, writing materials, play materials, and books; and by giving early learners an opportunity for self-expression without replacing other classroom
What was IIS’s incentive for developing a bilingual school system and how do you see it benefiting the students?
The IIS’s incentive for developing a bilingual school system is to improve children’s cognitive abilities. The brain of a balanced
bilingual child has been challenged by the acquisition of two languages to develop simultaneous connections between multiple representations of items, resulting in superior cognitive skills to those of monolinguals. It benefits the students by gaining huge social advantages over their monolingual peers.
These advantages are variously cultural, communication and personal. Balanced bilinguals are more comfortable in a multicultural environment and are more tolerant and open-minded towards people, culture es and languages. The child grows into an adult w ho more easily tolerates change, can instinctively attune speaking to the needs of the listener (language and vocabulary) and enjoys the confidence of being able to move freely in multiple environments.
One of IIS’s unique feature’s is its pioneering philosophy of education to consider each student’s separate interests and abilities to learn and succeed. How has IIS accomplished this and what else would you like to incorporate in IIS’s curriculum to ensure the needs of your students are met?
IIS accomplished this by using meta-cognitive strategies that identify, monitor, and regulate cognitive processes to facilitate
learning. To ensure the needs of our students are met, the following approaches will be made; varying instructional methods to try and meet different learning styles, providing students with choices to build a greater interest in the topics being taught, discussing real-world connections to make learning more meaningful, making thematic connections so that students see that information is not learned in isolation.
One of IIS beliefs is that music, drama, art and PE are fundamental in the learning process of your students. Can you expand on this? Additionally, with exceeding pressure by parents, communities and the government for students to focus on STEM, how do you see IIS combating this mentality with a holistic approach to education?
Weaving the arts into everything students do and finding that this approach not only boosts academic achievement but also promotes creativity, self-confidence and school pride.
Music can be incorporated into most, if not all school subject matters. Music can help to teach math by counting, measuring, fractions and other mathematical applications can be put to music to help understand it better.
This year the school has expanded their PE program for high school students with the addition of a full y equipped gym. High school students no w have state of the art machines and w ell qualified coaches to help them get into shape by understanding the nutrition they feed their bodies and the exercise they need
to stay fit.
Through different characters, students share the opportunity to expand their problem-solving skills both verbally and non-verbally, making room for a sense of creativity. As well, students practice and build upon various communication skills through the use of body language, facial expressions and different voices.