IBL Cluster Meeting - 10 October at Redhill

October 16, 2019 | Campus, Junior Preparatory, Girls’ Preparatory | Author: Dr Adrienne Watson, Girls' Prep

The ISASA IBL Cluster group meeting was initiated by the Girls’ Prep last year and has been a forum for productive sharing, debate and ideation and solution focused thinking as our community of schools grapples with this exciting yet challenging curriculum innovation.

The last meeting of the year was hosted by Redhill, for which we thank and acknowledge them, and chaired by St Stithians Girls’ Preparatory Deputy Head: Curriculum Innovation and Research, Adrienne Watson.  As is the norm, our fellow schools are invited to submit ideas they would like to share, and then a programme is compiled by the Chair.  The range of ideas submitted this term shows that, over the past two years, there has been tremendous development and growth in how different schools, across the phases, have implemented Inquiry Based Learning into their schools.

We saw Chantel Jarvis, Deputy Head of St Stithians Junior Preparatory,  presenting a fascinating exploration of how the Grade 2s have looked at patterns as a transdisciplinary concept, and how all of their learning culminated in a fashion show of their individually designed clothing items based on the patterns theme.  Next, Natalie Meerholz, Deputy Head of Roedean Junior School, and a team of pupils from Johannesburg Girls’ Preparatory School, shared their experience of working together on an IBL unit that culminated in the JGPS students developing an App and winning in their category in the international #hackathon project.  What is exciting about this is to see the power of IBL emerging in the production of authentically useful artefacts; these help to solve real world problems encountered in marginalized communities with whom our ISASA schools are frequently affiliated in community engagement partnerships.

Returning to how IBL is being implemented in St Stithians, Pam Fleming, Julia Pechey and Claire Eskinazi from the Girls’ Prep demonstrated the power of a good Provocation as a beginning step in the implementation of a new IBL Social Studies Unit.  Finally, Katy Mellor, the IBL Drive Team Leader from St Stithians Boys’ College, took the audience through their Activ8 programme, the culmination of a totally redesigned Grade 8 curriculum to promote IBL.  This impressive presentation highlighted the extensive – and intensive – months of planning and generative teamwork, divergent thinking and informed risk taking that is at the heart of implementing IBL.  The current Activ8 project entitled ‘The Endgame’ will end with an authentic Exhibition Evening of problem solving work to which parents and members of the school community are invited.

All the IBL Cluster contributions were extremely well received by the audience, and we are excited at the prospects for collaborating further with the ISASA community on how to strengthen the development of creative, solution focused and future ready young people.