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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Promoting Global and Cultural Awareness through Private School Programs

For the past 4 years, I have had the pleasure of working as an Academic Director at an international private school. The position has allowed me to experience the general nuances of international schools, particularly their curriculum. While I am a product of public schools, and I’m aware of the AP program, I was slightly less familiar with IB and its benefits. Both programs allow students to excel well beyond their potential in college, however few schools actually offer both program. From my experience, the main reasons for this are space constraints, and also the cost to educate teachers and coordinators to implement the program.

The American School in Paris is a prime example of a private institution who excels in providing both programs to students. Their IB curriculum is global, stressing serious academic research, critical thinking and oral presentation. Their AP allows students to pursue coursework equivalent to first-year American college courses, thus allowing student to earn college credit and/or advanced placement in American universities and gain admission to many non-American universities. While the ASP AP/IB programs are pristine and well formed, they also have so many more resources for all types of leaners that very few schools provide.

ASP offers an intensive English program that allows students to fully integrate into the classroom, thus promoting inclusion. Their learning support services support a diversity of documented mild learning differences. The program is designed to support Grade K-12 students in need so that they can be successful in our mainstream classrooms. Additionally, they offer service-learning opportunities, which I am a great proponent of as this is something I completed prior to my position working with internationals.

The key component of a successful international program and/or curriculum is creating opportunities. As an anthropologist and student of life myself, I want my students to become more culturally aware and globally minded, and let go of their ethnocentric mindsets. We desire schools that promote personal excellence and inclusion, and also provide a compassionate environment that allows students to feel at home and comfortable to explore their potential. ASP is a prime example of a school that satisfies this need.


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