WISS Today Article

As parents, our daily life is full of decisions. We are continually thinking about our kids and their well-being, at times having to make hard decisions that will influence their development and their future. Undoubtedly one of the most important decisions is related to their education.

Education is essential for each of us and shapes our values and our personality, influences the way we act and build relationships with others, and forms parts of many more areas that nurture our human identity.
Therefore, asking ourselves which educational program will be the best for our kids is critical, especially given the fast-paced, ever-changing, and interconnected world we now live n.

WISS students in art class

WISS: Educate With Inquiry

At WISS, we are the first and only full continuum IB World School in mainland China offering the four programmes of the International Baccalaureate (IB): the Primary Years Programme (IBPYP), the Middle Years Programme (IBMYP), the Diploma Programme (IBDP), and the Career-related Programme (IBCP).

We teach using inquiry. In our school, students don’t simply memorize facts or study only to pass an exam. Our teaching and learning approaches go much deeper than that.

At WISS, we create a culture of inquiry which means that #WISSstudents learn how to develop critical and out-of-the-box thinking skills. They also learn leadership skills and how to solve problems, conduct research, and work in a team.

WISS students in the science lab
WISS students in the science lab

Self-development is at the core of each one of our IB programmes. Our school teaches using an innovative and stimulating educational approach where the goal is to make learning more enjoyable and effective and to help students put what they learn in class into practice.

We believe that education goes far beyond books, and our teachers teach subjects through inquiry and prioritize self-management in learning. Students are encouraged to research and learn about the things that inspire them and to put theory into practice.

Transdisciplinary learning, or exploring concepts across multiple disciplines to construct meaning in the context of real-life issues and experiences, is another integral part of the IB philosophy. Rather than transmitting the simple knowledge of each discipline, students are taught from a global perspective focused on acquiring and developing skills.

Many of us studied in a traditional school setting where teaching was independently focused on each subject. Math was only numbers, and History was dry facts.

Now imagine how transformative it would be to study using critical and analytical skills to find the relationship between subjects, to learn how to learn, and to solve a variety of problems.

Students working in the Da Vinci Innovation Space in the Primary Building
Da Vinci Innovation Space in the Primary Building

#WISSstudents Achieve Academic and Personal Maturity  

Apart from the excellent academic outcomes that students achieve at WISS, we strive to develop human values that are essential for personal development and indispensable to living in a multicultural world. #WISSstudents become global citizens with great maturity, as the IB learner profile integrates academic disciplines with human and personal development.

MYP student at WISS in the Design Lab

Get to Know the Rigor of the IB Programmes at WISS

The Western International School of Shanghai offers IB programmes in Early Years through Secondary. Each one of the four IB programmes has an educational purpose and rigor that reflects the needs and abilities present at each stage of childhood development. Find out more about the rigor of each IB programme at WISS described by their Coordinators.

Primary Years Programme (IBPYP) in the Early Years by Judith Canning 

At WISS, we foster the students’ agency to be creative and to explore and discover in a flexible and stimulating learning environment, both indoors and outdoors. We nurture natural curiosity and inspire children to be thinkers and inquirers and to be knowledgeable and caring global citizens.

EY teachers at WISS are trained in the pedagogy of early childhood education which is a discipline in its own right. In the Early Years, teachers can observe a child at play and break it down into understanding what the child is thinking and understanding and the child’s unique development of conceptual thinking. We honor the individuality of each child and how they express their knowledge and understandings; after all, the child has one hundred languages!

Early Years students at WISS
Early Years students at WISS

We can better understand and measure the child as an individual through interaction and observation, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all standardized test. The child is empowered through multiple intelligences to explore, discover, and create. The teacher responds and scaffolds learning so the child can make their next steps in the learning process and consolidate new understandings.

Primary Years Programme (IBPYP) by Karin Tellis

In the Primary Years Programme (IBPYP), rigor is defined as the challenge of high-level critical thinking, negotiating generalizations, deepening conceptual understanding, and the meaningful application of important knowledge and skills to real-life contexts.

In the Primary at WISS, each Transdisciplinary Unit is organized around a broad, abstract Central Idea that takes weeks to unpack with students. Provocations and probing questions facilitate the inquiry of thinking skills such as evaluation, analysis, and metacognition; research skills such as formulating questions, collecting and interpreting data; social skills such as resolving conflict and adopting a variety of group roles; self-management skills such as time-management and informed choices as well as communication skills such as writing, reading and presenting. Students apply these skills across all subject areas, and their growth and proficiency are evidenced throughout the disciplines.

Students in the PYP are building their knowledge and skills every day, and are putting them in service of bigger understandings locally and globally. Math strategies are explicitly taught, modeled, and practiced to produce well-rounded mathematicians that are adept problem-solvers. So too are strategies used in Reading to refine reading behaviors and strengthen comprehension of both fiction and non-fiction texts. 

Primary students at WISS
Primary students at WISS

Middle Years Programme (IBMYP) by Greg Cowan

The Middle Years Programme (MYP) is a challenging framework for Grades 6 – 10 that encourages students to make practical connections between their studies and the real world.  The MYP framework is inclusive by design; students of all interests and academic abilities benefit from this programme.  At WISS, the MYP curriculum framework is comprised of eight subject groups: Language and Literature, Language Acquisition, Science, Mathematics, Physical and Health Education, Arts (Visual and Performing), Design and Individuals and Societies. 

Students from Middle Years Programme at WISS

Academic rigor takes the shape of learning by design across the variety of subjects we offer at WISS.  Students study a broad and balanced curriculum of which students are assessed formatively and summatively in a variety of techniques, both written and orally.  Students are taught to critique the world we live in and take action on real-world issues that they are passionate about.  This makes them global citizens and promotes international-mindedness. In the final year of the programme, WISS students will undertake the rigorous final year assessment called the eAssessment. It provides IB-validated grades based on examinations and course work. Our students are then eligible for the IB MYP certificate.

IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) by Edwige Singleton

The IBDP is a two-year programme for students aged 16-19 and is widely recognized as one of the most prestigious and challenging pre-university courses, being accepted in 3,300 universities in 90 countries. All Diploma Programme students participate in the three-course requirements that make up the core of the DP Model: TOK, CAS, and the extended essay. Reflection on all these activities lies at the heart of the thinking behind the Diploma Programme. 

At WISS, our IBDP students are expected to reach their highest potential, whatever this may be, and when doing so, achieve success. Rigor also means that we do not accept excuses for lack of effort. To build that capacity, individual support is provided both inside and outside the classroom with tailored in-class activities and afterschool extra help. 

By encouraging student dedication and adhering to recognized standards, WISS students are empowered to develop life skills that better prepare them to succeed beyond our doors.

IB Career-related Programme (IBCP) by Stewart Paterson

The IBCP is a flexible framework of international education that allows students to engage in personalized, meaningful, Career-related study. At WISS, IBCP students can explore their passion in either the Arts, Sports, or Business, as they prepare themselves for further study and a career in their favored profession.

IBCP Production Arts students at WISS
IBCP Production Arts students at WISS

Our IBCP students study the IBCP Core, IBDP classes, and a Career-related study. Our Career-related study options are collaborations with official IB partners that are recognized worldwide. Our CP Sports and CP Production Arts (Theatre Technology) students engage in their fields through BTEC qualifications and our CP Arts students complete university-level eLearning courses with the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Our IBCP students experience breadth of learning in their IBDP classes, depth of learning in their Career-related studies, and develop transferable skills and the tools to become lifelong learners through the IBCP Core. 

WISS IBCP students are challenged to apply their learning through one of the many WISS CP Internships and Service Learning opportunities. The combination of academic rigor and Career-related learning provides WISS IBCP students with the knowledge, understanding, experience, and maturity, to succeed within their chosen career pathways.

Do you want to find out more about the IB programmes at WISS? Visit www.wiss.cn