One of the things that sets BASIS International Schools apart is the unique BASIS Curriculum Schools Primary Program. Our primary classrooms utilize the expertise of two teachers (a Learning Expert Teacher and a Subject Expert Teacher) in every classroom in grades 1-4, with each teacher focused on specific aspects of the learning process. This Frequently Asked Questions blog is intended to answer some of the most common questions teachers have about the BASIS Curriculum Schools Primary Program.
Q: What is the role of the Learning Expert Teacher?
A: The Learning Expert Teacher (LET) co-teaches the class alongside the Subject Expert Teacher (SET). The LET’s focus is on individual student understanding, classroom management, and tracking the personal progress of each student.
Every day, each LET works with the same group of about 25 students. The LET stays with his or her students as they move from subject to subject–remaining in the classroom with the students as Subject Expert Teachers present the subject of their expertise. The LET also helps ensure that lessons are cross-curricular by taking the lead on the Connections course, where students use a hands-on approach to create unique solutions to scenario-based problems which require the utilization of knowledge and skills learned in their other classes.
Q: Which teacher is the lead teacher? Is the Learning Expert Teacher an assistant to the Subject Expert Teacher, or is the SET an assistant to the LET?
A: BASIS Curriculum Schools do not have lead and assistant teachers in primary grades. The LET and SET are equal teachers in the classroom, each with specific, delineated functions focused on the students’ learning.
Q: What type of qualifications does each type of teacher need?
A: A Subject Expert Teacher must have a degree in the subject field that they teach, or a degree in education with additional coursework or certification in the subject area specific to elementary/primary teaching. A Learning Expert Teacher needs to have at least a bachelor’s degree in education, or early childhood education, to understand pedagogical approaches to learning.
Q: Approximately how many students are in each preschool, kindergarten, and primary school classroom?
A: At the Pre-K1 level, there are no more than 20 students per class. In the Pre-K2, kindergarten, primary school, middle school, and high school levels, there are 25 students or less per class.
Q: Are there set times for the Learning Expert Teacher and the Subject Expert Teacher to plan?
A: Each school determines the best way for LETs and SETs to co-plan lessons together, based upon the unique needs of the students and faculty, and the other scheduling needs at the school. The SETs and LETs work closely together to determine the best way to collaborate on lessons and how to meet specific needs.
Q: Which teacher works primarily on parent communication?
A: Both our Learning Expert Teachers and our Subject Expert Teachers communicate with parents, depending on the subject of the communication. The LET is the primary point of contact for parents about the overall scope of the student’s education and well-being. Part of the LET’s role is to maintain regular contact with parents regarding their student’s academic, social, and personal progress.
Each student’s various Subject Expert Teachers will also readily communicate with parents for questions or concerns about a student’s education and well-being in their particular classroom and subject.
Q: Who handles behavior/interventions?
A: Both teachers handle behavior/interventions, and are responsible for aspects of student understanding and classroom management. Both Subject Expert Teachers and Learning Expert Teachers are expected to be versed in and capable of managing student behavior and intervening whenever needed and in whatever manner necessary.
As the LETs work with the same students all day, every day, they may have deeper insight into individual student needs, learning styles, and personal development–insight which they will share with a student’s SET when appropriate.
The SET is responsible for offering Student Hours to deliver additional academic support for students who want it. The LET is often responsible for working one on one with students to offer specific academic interventions, or to fortify academic help necessary in an SET’s class.
Q: In general, what are the language abilities of students at BASIS International Schools?
A: The language ability of our students varies by school and class. Some students are still learning English while some are native speakers–with many ability levels in between. There will be a variety within each class and grade level.
Q: What is the Connections class?
A: The Connections class is a cross-curricular project based class designed to help students understand the interrelationships across academic subjects. It leads students to see the connections each academic subject has with other academic subjects. The class, usually taught by the Learning Expert Teacher, utilizes scenario-based projects to deepen student understanding of, and appreciation for, the application of the concepts they are learning in every class.