The International School of Bremen has met the required standards and has been awarded the status 'MINT-EC Partner School' by MINT-EC das nationale Excellence-Schulnetzwerk; one of only three schools in the State of Bremen, and the first international school in Germany, to achieve this recognition.
The International School of Bremen prides itself as being an international minded school and a beacon of inter-cultural awareness and internationalism within Bremen and its environs. An important and growing aspect of that internationalism is our awareness as educators of the importance of a science and technology within the education process.
Our students are aware not just of human interactions as part of internationalism but also our responsibility as global citizens to consider our relationship with the natural world and the impact of scientific and technological advances upon the natural world as well as human activity.
Our mission as a school challenges us to focus our education and activities on making positive contribution to the environment and ‘developing’ responsible global citizens. It is through our international education programme along with extra curricula activities that we try to achieve these goals.
This programme delivered to students from EL1 (age 3) through to Grade 5 (age 11) integrates science and technology into cross and trans-disciplinary activities. Students are asked to consider how to investigate their world, to critical review human impacts on the world and how to improve their world. By using ‘knowledge harvests’ the students build upon their existing knowledge base and through many practical activities discover and question assumptions about their world. The physics of a circus and playground equipment can be contrasted with soil investigations and analysis of human impact upon the rain forest. Simple machines constructed initially from cardboard lead into more complex structures that involve elementary computer programmes. The young mind is open to many practical examples that show the need for humans to understand the complexity of natural and the man-made environment around they live within.
In the middle part of the school, the (ages 12 – 14) this programme promotes an increasingly complex and abstract appreciation of the human role in the world. Abstract notion of ‘Risk’, ‘Collaboration’ and ‘Sustainability’ are just a few examples of the umbrella ideas that channel students thinking into dissecting and reassembling formal school disciplines so as to address current world problems. The independence of work which this programme encourages and the use of technology skills from applying computer programmes to producing films develops their communication skills It is putting a human face upon the technologies they encounter. The use of technologies makes them aware of the fact that technologies give us increased knowledge of ourselves and the world and they allow us to analyse and later communicate that knowledge to others. Through their ‘exit point’ presentations students explore scientific advances, their associated problems and offer potential solutions. They see first-hand how the scientist/discoverer works and thinks and even more so how these people have to communicate their ideas.
The Middle Years programme is a solid foundation for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education programme offered to our Grade 9 and 10 (age 15 – 16) students. Within their activities more abstract problem solving is experienced in Mathematics. They encounter with science, reflected the classic Physics Biology and Chemistry divisions, however their roles are practical. 25% of their assessed work in the science area comes from practical activities done by students’ involved in constructing and evaluating experiments not only directly encouraging problem solving and team work but also building the foundation for more specialist work within the last two years at ISB.
The IB (age 16 – 18) offers a broad challenging curriculum requiring students to pursue Mathematics and at least one science (two is possible) in an educational environment that further encourages independence of thinking, risk taking and open mindedness (see IB learner profile). The sciences again are required to present practical investigations through compulsory experiments and students driven experiments. Alongside this all students need to complete a ‘group 4 project’ that requires their integration and appreciation of scientific methods and approaches. The compulsory extended essay requires lengthy independent research and investigation. The outcome is not merely an internationally recognized diploma but also cohorts of students who aspire to match the ‘IB learner profile’.
Computer usage and the use of technology to aid learning is almost taken for granted at ISB. Smartphones, net books, laptops, and interactive white boards are part and parcel of the normal day. Learning Spanish or even Greek can be aided by a smartphone. All student in Grade 8 have an opportunity to acquire the ECDL. Computer applications allow classes not to be limited to one room; an Indian student who was away temporarily recently took part in his physics class through skype. Work is submitted electronically, yet this is not to say that we all have become slaves of these machines. Writing records and talking to each in small and larger groups is essential to learning and has a paramount place.
Beyond the classroom students are given opportunities to develop individual interest by taking part in dedicated ‘clubs’ such as solar car race, representing the school at a robotic conferences and discussing with other international students in schools across Europe how humans must face up to the environmental and social challenges of the 21st century Global Issues Network (G.I.N.). Similarly in Maths students who show high ability and interest in maths travel across Europe to compete in extremely demanding competitions. Although these are rigorous they are also fun and our students enjoy the thrill of running in a truly international field of the best.
At ISB students face the challenge of becoming citizens of the future having acquired skills such as adaptability, tenacity team work and compassion. This future requires them to appreciate the wonders of scientific discovery and to apply technologies to improve the human condition. This future with its unknowable opportunities and challenges is a future bright with possibilities to make a better world