The BIS curriculum focuses progressively on a holistic view of the child as the centre of the learning experience. This is a very complex process and has had over forty years or innovative and cutting edge theory explored at our school for us to develop the rich and exciting curriculum that we have now. Our Tripartite curriculum uses the Australian Curriculum as core content, with the BIS Values as the focus of our Study of Self curriculum. These Values also are part of our teaching of the Australian Curriculum, as they encourage an extra layer of integrated understanding based around the learning about the Self, the Community and a Global Perspective.
For Example: When studying the concept of Time in math we may explore how we understand time ourselves, what is our challenges (getting out the door on time or knowing when lunch finishes); this is links to Values of Self. We would also incorporate our classroom schedule and how we use the clock and calendar in class; this links to the Values of the Community. Finally, we might look at the time around the world and track it together or explore the history of time measurement. This integration of Values and Australian Curriculum outcomes creates a robust and dynamic set of content outcomes to cover.
Self Study – (UL and UR)
This part of our curriculum is about developing and nurturing the individual’s experience through a range of strategies
*Self Direction skills, managing time, passions, self assessment, questioning and autonomy
*Working with a combination of critical thinking and intuition to develop ideas and creativity into a reality
*Learning how to talk about and manage feelings and needs (Non Violent Communication)
*Developing body control and mindfulness through meditation, relaxation, yoga and jujitsu
*Learning core breathing practices and how to work with our body to achieve personal physical goals
*Learning about how you like to learn and how to improve your effectiveness to learn.
The Cultural component is assessed through projects, real life experiences such as the morning meeting, fundraising, peer tutoring and whole community presentations. Each term the students engage in a complex project called OMNI. Class groups may take on a three to five day project with varying levels of complex project planning and management. The OMNI project is an assessment tool for us to track students on our Self Directed Learning tracking tool. The project challenges students to choose a new topic they have not done before, to learn it with minimal adult help and to plan and reflect to complete it. The present their final project to the parents at the end of the week. This is a very rich process that allows us to see where we need to intervene to improve their learning strategies and how much self direction we can allow them in the standard program.
Group and Community Study (LR)
Learning how to work with others, communicate effectively, develop rules that work for the whole community, run meetings, understand your role as a member of the civic body. This part of our curriculum is all about connecting successfully with others.
*Explicit group work training, including cooperative group work
*Attending and running Whole School Meetings
*Experiencing the role of leaders and developing skills to be a leader
*Developing a clear understanding of how self management helps us connect with others
*Learning how to understand the feelings and needs of others
*Learning about democratic process
*Taking on classroom and community jobs
*Learning how to work within and develop rules and consequences and resolve conflicts through conflict resolution training in the older years.
Systems Skills and Knowledge
The Australian Curriculum (AC) is explored and mastered through this part of our curriculum. We study the systems of the world around us and learn how to work with them successfully. We unpack the AC to suit each child, not everyone is ready for concepts at the same time. Children progress through this curriculum with a goal of mastery so we pause, intervene and engage with personalised strategies when necessary. This means that some students may be engaging with the AC across a few grades at the same time, grade 4 in English grade 3 in Math and perhaps grade 5 in HPE. By using curriculum compacting and pre-testing, we aim to keep progress through AC interesting and engaging.
Assessment for this part of our curriculum includes ACER testing in maths and comprehension, regular diagnostic testing and a combination of small assessments through the term with some culminating tasks at the end. Our first three class group ( Big Cats, Kestrels and Penguins) do not know that assessment is happening. We want them to learn and engage without a sense of judgement or critique. Report cards do not have an A to E system in place, rather looking at their level of mastery. Students in the Otters class are the first to know they are being assessed and their reports contain optional A to E reporting for parents. Once in the Dolphins class, in preparation for High School, we use grading with the students and help them learn how to handle the experiences of grading so it is useful rather than labeling or painful. Our school does participate in NAPLAN with some families choosing to remove their child from the program for the Grade 3 test.
AC content includes:
*English: Writing (spelling, grammar) reading and listening, handwriting
*Maths: Number, measurement, algebra, chance and data, space
*Science: Materials, Energy, Living Things, Earth and Space
*Technology and ICT
*History and Geography: Local and national focus to global
*Arts: Visual, Dance, Drama and Design.
*HPE: Health studies and physical skills
How do these come together?
Our tripartite curriculum draws all three facets together as integration is key to our Curriculum.
We also organise our daily experience to explore the three parts of our curriculum as all work concurrently but also have a moment in the day to be the focus.
Morning Meeting – Group and Community Skills and Self Study; HPE goals, Show and Tell, Oral Presentations, Focusing activities and intentional breath work as well as setting out goals and reviewing events or calendar dates.
Morning Skills Lab – Honing our self understanding to best master the skills of literacy and numeracy, maths and English. A range of teaching strategies and processes are used but primarily focused on mastering learning and curriculum compacting. Learning is very tailored in this section of the day and focused on helping each child master their skills.
Middle Session – Project Lab – Using the Systems of the World and Community focus of the curriculum students use varying forms of project learning practices to utilise their own passions and interests whilst learning about a focus topic. These projects are often the focus of presentation night at the end of term.
Afternoon Session – Study of Self – Using the Self section of our curriculum students will learn explicit breathing/relaxation and mindfulness strategies as well as skills in unlocking their creativity. They also learn about Friendship, Feelings and Needs as well working on classroom rules and classroom culture goals.
The week of course has variations with Ju Jitsu, Yoga and Spanish lessons as part of our week. Library and Whole School Meetings also have afternoons devoted to them. We know how much our students like routine so we work hard to provide enough structure to help them feel safe and comfortable with enough variation and choice to keep it exciting.
For more information on any of these approaches please peruse our reading list below or email our Principal Jen with any questions.
BIS Philosophy and Process of Learning Suggested Reading List
Bellanca, J., & Fogarty, R. Blueprints for Thinking in the Cooperative Classroom.
Bloom, B. (1994). Reflections on the development and use of the taxonomy.Bloom’s taxonomy: A forty-year retrospective. In K. J. Rehage, L. W. Anderson, & L. A. Sosniak, Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education (p. 92). Chicago: National Society for the Study of Education.
Clark, B. (1968). Optimizing Learning: The Integrative Education Model in the Classroom. Merrill.
Dawkins, B. U., Kottkamp, R. B., & Johnston, C. A. (2010). Intentional Teaching. USA: Corwin.
Dea, W. (. (2011). Igniting Brilliance: Integral Education for the 21st Century. USA: Integral.
Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education. Macmillan.
Esbjorn-Hargens, S. (2009). An All-Inclusive Framework for the 21st Century. Retrieved July 15, 2014, from Integral Life: http://integrallife.com/integral-post/overview-integral-theory
Fleming, D., & Baume, D. (Issue 7.4, Nov. 2006). Learning Styles Again: VARKing up the right tree! Educational Developements SEDA , p 4-7.
Fleming, N. &. (1992). Not Another Learning Inventory, Rather a Catalyst for Reflection. To Improve the Academy, 11 , 137-155.
Fowler, J. (1981). Stages of Faith . New York: Harper Collins.
Gardner, H. (2011). Frames of Mind. New York: Basic Books.
Gilligan, C. (1982). In a different voice: Psychological theory and women’s development. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Glasser, W. (1986). Control Theory in the Classroom. USA: Perennial.
Glasser, W. (1975). Schools Without Failure. New York: Perrennial Library.
Goleman, D. (2011). The Brain and Emotional Intelligence : New Insights. USA: E Book.
Gruber, J. (n.d.). What-is-integral-education? Retrieved January 18, 2013, from Next Step Integral: http://nextstepintegral.org/branches/education/what-is-integral-education
Holt, J. (1975). How Children Learn. London: Pelican.
Ken, W. (2005). http://www.kenwilber.com/Writings/. Retrieved September 11, 2014, from Kenwilber.com: http://www.kenwilber.com/Writings/PDF/IntroductiontotheIntegralApproach_GENERAL_2005_NN.pdf
Kohlberg, L., & Charles Levine, A. H. (1983). Moral stages : a current formulation and a response to critics. . Basel, NY: Karger.
Lipman, M. (1991; 2nd edition, 2003). Thinking in Education . New York: Cambridge University Press.
Loevinger, J. (1998). Tehcnical foundations for measuring ego development. New Jersey: Laurence Earlbaus Associated.
Neill, A. S. (1993). Summerhill School: A New View of Childhood. St Martin’s Press.
O’Doherty, B. (2011, December 29). Integral Theory. Retrieved January 17, 2013, from Brodoland: http://brodoland.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/integral-theory/
Renzulli, J. S., & Reis, S. M. (1997). The schoolwide enrichment model: A how-to guide for educational excellence. Mansfield Center: Creative Learning Press.
Rogers, C. (1969). Freedom to Learn: A View of What Education Might Become. (1st ed.). Columbus, Ohio: Charles Merill.
Rogers, K. B. (2002). Re-forming Gifted Education. United States: Great Potential Press.
Rosenberg, M. B. (2003). Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life. USA: Puddledancer Press.
Skager, R. (1979). Self-directed learning and schooling: Identifying pertinent theories and illustrative research. International Review of Education , 517-543.
Turiel, E. (1983). The Development of Social Knowledge: Morality & Convention. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Wilber, K. (2000). Integral Pyschology. Boston: Shambhala .