January 13, 2017 8:56 AM
I had a wonderful time at Mid-Pacific as an intern last semester and was inspired by the education system.
Firstly, Project Based Learning (PBL) is completely different from my teaching experience in Japan. At Mid-Pacific, I usually observed the MPX (Mid-Pacific eXploratory) program focusing on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). In the MPX class, the students have many projects and through working on them, the students not only gained content knowledge, but also fostered other skills such as communication skills. This would be a good model of interdisciplinary project at our school in Hiroshima.
Secondly, the way of assessment was so impressive for me. For example, I observed many math classes, and they had a variety of assessment which included not only paper tests, but also designing comics, videos and inforgraphics. I agree that a variety of assessments is necessary for assessing students' achievements appropriately. Therefore, I will definitely apply these ideas in my classroom.
Thirdly, many students learn independently in many cases. For instance, IB students have several assignments from different subjects at the same time. In addition, they have to think about the IB cores: CAS (Creativity, Action, and Service Program), TOK (Theory of Knowledge), and EE (Extended Essay) through the years. The IB cores are long-term tasks, so the students need to make their own plan and manage their plan by themselves. In Japan, I used to give my students only short-term tasks such as homework, but I realized that giving them different spans of assignments and responsibility is significant to help nurture their self-management skills.
I really appreciate the teachers and students at Mid-Pacific, and had a great experience. It is obvious that I will be able to apply many things to our school when I return to Hiroshima.
By Yoshihiro Furuichi
Hiroshima Board of Education