ISHCMC: Empowering primary and secondary learners for a progressive world
Source: ISHCMC

Celebrating 25 years of learning, the International School Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC) in Vietnam values student development and advocates a culture of achievement through engaging academics, global accreditations and affiliations, and empowering learning environments.

The first international school in HCMC to be authorised to offer three International Baccalaureate (IB), ISHCMC is one of the most established academic institutions in Ho Chi Minh City, but remains forward-looking to the future.

With a genuine commitment to student well-being and happiness through an established programme that focuses on the development of the whole child, ISHCMC is a welcoming and diverse community with over 50 nationalities represented by the student body, also providing a wealth of opportunity for both primary and secondary school students.

Progressive primary school education

ISHCMC primary school welcomes children aged 2 to 11 years and provides the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) from 3 years old. Concept-driven and relevant to learners, the PYP curriculum enables students to develop as individuals socially, physically, academically and emotionally, promising learning opportunities that challenge their thinking, allowing them to construct meaning from experiences and encouraging them to take real-world action.

Source: ISHCMC

ISHCMC students explore learning opportunities through broader lenses of conceptual understanding (e.g. connection, perspective, and function) rather than learning content and facts in isolation. The approach ISHCMC uses to implement the PYP framework highlights learner agency and the development of skills (i.e. thinking, social, communication, self-management and research).

Therefore, students develop the dispositions and passions of lifelong learners and apply this knowledge to the wider world. Evidence of student choice, voice and ownership of their learning can be found in every classroom from the youngest students through to the final PYP classes in Studio 5 (Grade 5).

ISHCMC students as young as two can be seen setting up their own snacks, making plastic bricks out of discarded water bottles and participating in real-world inquiries about the living things in their environment – they even take turns running their own assemblies and workshops for other grades. Upper primary students at ISHCMC will plan their own units of inquiry, schedule their own learning times and reflect on their personal learning success (including school-issued reports).

As the world continues to change at a rapid pace, ISHCMC learning spaces reflect the need to provide a facility that allows the development of 21st-century learners.

Source: ISHCMC

The ISHCMC primary learning community, including students, have reimagined learning spaces to ensure all learners have ample space to connect, collaborate and create. Current learning environments include open-concept art and music studios (including 5 instrumental practice rooms), makerspaces, an award-winning library at the hub of the school with flexible learning areas, a 6 lane 25-meter pool, flexible levels of seating and furniture, two gyms, town halls and shared learning spaces for each grade level.

Gone are the days of rigid classroom environments; at ISHCMC, students can be found in hallways discussing books, filming in the IT makerspaces or building a mini-golf course in the grade-level town hall from recycled materials!

Empowering secondary school education

At ISHCMC, secondary students are empowered to make a real-world impact by acquiring the key skills of critical thinking, research, communication, collaboration and self-management and are encouraged to solve the big picture problems identified in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

By engaging in wide-ranging projects that allow them to synthesise their conceptual understanding across the eight disciplines in the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP) in grades 6 to 10, students take ownership of their learning and explore areas such as the relationship between mathematical modelling and economic growth in the South East Asian region, or they consider real-world solutions for recycling plastic waste to support the recreation of global fishing fields.

Source: ISHCMC

This emphasis on student empowerment helps ISHCMC students appreciate their individual strengths and areas of growth and develops them into innovative young adults, ready to be part of the progressive global community.

In addition, the balanced MYP curriculum exposes students to rigorous concept-based curricula in Language & Literature, Language Acquisition, Individuals and Societies, Sciences, Mathematics, Design, The Arts, Physical & Health Education, as well as the critical components of social interactions, relationships, team building and leadership.

As ISHCMC states, “Parents should consider ensuring that their school of choice develops the whole child and ensures they are equipped to be able to navigate an uncertain future world.  Young people need to be given the opportunity to explore and develop areas of interest or passion whilst also developing key underlying foundations across a wide variety of courses.”

That’s why, to allow creativity and innovation to flourish, ISHCMC has built a Secondary campus that’s both purposeful and engaging for adolescents.

At this campus, structures have been created to support brain research around the effectiveness of problem-solving, and the need for the development of negotiation and teamwork skills.  Many of the walls are writeable, moveable and the projectors are Wi-Fi enabled, allowing flexibility and adaptability of the learning space for the wide variety of projects that students undertake.

Source: ISHCMC

There is also light and purified air throughout the learning environments with a multitude of specialist spaces to help develop each students’ passion. These might include the creation of prototype sound amplifiers from recycled materials or building water sensors to supply the herb plants used in the food tech space.

ISHCMC’s senior students have the widest range of IB Diploma courses in Ho Chi Minh City, recognising the philosophy that adolescents learn best when provided voice and choice in their learning.

These choices, coupled with the emphasis on skills development, have led to strong academic results over the past few years with the school’s DP average growing consistently.

Consequently, the graduating classes at ISHCMC find themselves spoilt for choice when considering which country they want to choose for university studies.

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