Shedding light on Learning Communities at EARCOS

YCIS Beijing _Earcos

Between October 31 to November 2, Yew Chung International School of Beijing and other member schools attended the East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS) annual Leadership Conference in Malaysia. Considered a pioneer in the region, YCIS Beijing was invited, once again, to the conference to shed light on its innovative Learning Community Model and its implementation.

With 179 member schools in attendance hailing from Singapore, Thailand, Japan and Myanmar to name a few, the conference was an opportune moment for those invited to network with thought leaders in the education industry and to learn more about how we have responded to 21st century demands though Learning Communities.


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Representatives from YCIS Beijing included Head of Primary, James Sweeney, Jane Martuneac Kang, Upper Primary Learning and Teaching Coordinator, and James Honey, Year 3 Learning Community Team Leader. The theme of their presentation was Building Learning Communities: A Transformative Process and it highlighted the transformation of a school from single-cell, traditional classroom teaching to dynamic, relevant Learning Communities.

”The focus was on the implementation of Learning Communities across the school - how all stakeholders played their part, the successes and future plans thereof” Mr. Sweeney asserted. Having implemented Learning Communities at YCIS Beijing several years ago, “We are considered a leader in the subject and we should share our experiences with our colleagues.”  he added.


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During their presentation some of the key points James and his colleagues shared were the three Ts; ‘Teams, Time and Tracking. “These are the essentials in making a successful Learning Community” explained James. They elaborated on each area and how schools can implement these if they wish to introduce the concept of Learning Communities effectively.

Due to our school’s ever changing nature, it was crucial for us to share the process involved in remaining relevant and dynamic. “YCIS Beijing is a school that is always improving and has undergone lots of changes in recent years. We wanted to share our experiences and attendees wanted to learn about our continuous journey of improvement” said Mr. Sweeney.


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Nurturing Growth and Building Relevance was the theme at this year’s conference and in line with that, the YCIS Beijing team was able to indicate how Learning Communities do that to an audience of their peers from various International Schools. They were also able to share how for the school to undergo that kind of shift, collaborative work from all stakeholders was required.
 
To prospective parents who may still not clearly understand the Learning Community Model and the benefits thereof, James elaborated “Our aim is to create opportunities for students to not only advance their academic knowledge but also build their Dimensions of Learning. These are critical for life after school. Our Learning Community approach aims to create students that are critical thinkers, collaborators, people who preserve, self-regulate and innovate.”

To learn more about Learning Communities, click here.

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