An internationally minded school is a distinct type of institution that promotes a philosophy of unity, tolerance and understanding by immersing children in the aspects of a globalising world. Internationally minded schools build on these fundamental ideologies by incorporating them into the school’s curriculum and encouraging students to strengthen their understanding of their own cultural identity, and fostering acceptance of others cultures. The International Baccalaureate Program has also been developed as a way for schools around the world to adhere to a certain academic standard, as a way of globally accepted curriculum. While many schools may be given access to the International Baccalaureate Program, many still falter in incorporating the real fundamentals of an international education that helps children grow into truly globally minded adults. However, some international schools have gone above and beyond by incorporating more than just the criteria of the IB program. These schools also encompass languages, character development and cultural experiences.
Most international schools have taken the progressive step of including the International Baccalaureate in their school’s curriculum. However, internationally minded schools, such as Yew Chung International School of Shanghai (YCIS Shanghai), have enhanced the international school capability by combining the IB program with the philosophy of international mindedness. YCIS, and schools like it, have developed these ideals through the strong cultural influence and diversity in each school’s local community, which enriches the learning of their students. The multinational and multilingual school participants complement this enriched learning environment, which nurtures the development and understanding of other cultures. These internationally minded schools also seek to emphasize current global issues, giving students the opportunity to learn about issues that have local and global significance. By emphasising the importance of cultural understanding, the internationally minded schools provide students with the resources necessary to create a secure and stimulating environment in which to thrive.
Internationally minded schools place strong emphasis on continuous language learning and development. These schools provide the necessary support for students as they continue to develop their mother tongue and the acquisition of another language (usually the host country’s language). These internationally minded schools are committed to providing the best possible learning structure to ensure a truly bilingual and bicultural learning experience. Most international schools will encourage their students to become bilingual, but schools like YCIS develop their students from an early age in stimulating settings to speak and learn in both languages. Internationally minded schools don’t restrict the learning of languages just to the classroom, but encourage their students to practice with their peers and other members of their community.
Internationally minded schools such as YCIS are helping students develop a strong sense of their own cultural identity, and also a deeper understanding of other peoples, cultures, countries and customs. We are living in an interconnected world that is facing, and will continue to face, complex challenges that require problem solvers. These internationally minded schools are developing a new generation of creative thinkers who can view challenges from various perspectives. The best way to prepare today’s students for taking on these challenges is to provide them with the opportunity to develop their international mindset. So, by providing an enhanced curriculum with enhanced opportunities and aspects, these schools are creating the great minds of tomorrow.
About Author: Derek Kemp is an International Masters student from Canada, who is currently working and living in China. He is continuously learning about the differences in world education systems, and has taken a keen interest in the international schooling system.