For many teachers, the thought of leaving their current curricula and educational system is daunting, while others jump at the opportunity to immerse themselves in a new way of teaching and learning. Even though learning and adapting to a new curriculum has its challenges, the support provided by BASIS International Schools in learning our curriculum is always on-going, just as our teachers’ own professional development is constantly evolving.
The BASIS Curriculum offers teachers from a wide variety of curricular backgrounds the opportunity to bring their own best practices into their classroom, and this diversity of experience has helped the BASIS Curriculum evolve into one of the most cutting-edge educational systems in the world. Our teachers come from around the world, and all contribute to making our teaching communities the excellent places they are.
One of our Humanities teachers at BASIS International School Hangzhou shared his thoughts on making the transfer from the Cambridge curriculum to the BASIS Curriculum, the support provided to make this transition, and the positive outcomes he has seen in both his students, as well as his own children, as a result.
“First, the transfer from the Cambridge curriculum to that of a BASIS school was fine, though at BASIS International Schools we make much of our own content based on the scope and sequence for the grade provided by the network. It is much more fast paced and at least a grade level higher than the grades we teach in the Cambridge curriculum. I think you could look at this in a positive or negative light depending on whether you’re a ‘glass half full or empty’ kind of person. I like it! The kids are consistently being challenged and unlike what many friends back home who are primary school teachers have shared, we very much ‘teach-up’ here, rather than ‘teaching down.’ For example, the British EYFS nursery curriculum has objectives like ‘your child should be capable of counting to 5 by the end of the year.’ Rather than teaching up to strong learners there is a sense of focusing on the weakest students. I do not by any means suggest that it’s not important that children who may struggle in various areas do not need significant support, but we have to differentiate and the BASIS Curriculum is all about pushing kids further as opposed to meeting goals and ticking boxes.
As to similarities and differences between a British and the BASIS Curriculum the content is pretty much what literacy content is all about. That is standard and uniform, the difference is more about when you teach it as opposed to what you teach. Literacy still follows the same model: reading comprehension skills, fluency, accuracy development, shared, guided and independent reading and writing practice, phonemic awareness, and language arts. These are always pretty consistent but we find ourselves teaching, for example, ‘author’s purpose’ to our Grade 1 kids at BASIS, where in a Cambridge curriculum you wouldn’t touch this until Grade 3.
One benefit as a teacher is the tuition for our children, we couldn’t hope to afford to send two kids to a BASIS school and that alone makes the already very generous package all the more generous. I like it here that my kids get a very strong and stable education. There is a lot of valuable resources for them, activities, after-school clubs, etc.
I like seeing my students’ academic growth. Sure it’s busy and exhausting but well worthwhile when you finish all the classes’ reading benchmarks mid-year, lean back in your chair and think, ‘wow! That’s pretty damn impressive stuff!'”
– Tom Owen, Humanities teacher, BASIS International School Hangzhou, originally from the UK
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