06 Sep, 2013
10 : 00
The International Baccalaureate Degree Programme (IB) is a challenging and rigorous programme for Secondary students, a programme that demands diligent academics and experiential learning in the community, which is fulfilled by the completion of Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS) hours.
In order to help students prepare for the IB Programme at YCIS Shanghai, the school organises an annual Year 12 retreat. According to Ms Maria Sieve, an IB Co-ordinator at YCIS Shanghai,
“The annual retreat provides a good introduction to IB, and what will be expected over the next two years; it focuses students and reinforces their confidence as they begin their IB journey.”
The itinerary for this year’s retreat, held at a resort on Sun Island, just outside of Shanghai, provided plenty of opportunities for the students to become prepared for, and familiar with, the IB Programme, and had the added benefit of helping the students bond with one another.
The retreat began with presentations by the IB teachers about the curriculum, with suggestions regarding how to be successful in the programme. This was followed by a round of engaging team building activities in the afternoon, and students were also taught some relaxation techniques through “Laughter Yoga” by a certified Yoga instructor who was brought in from Singapore. To round out the day’s activities, a “trivia night” game was enjoyed after a delicious barbecue dinner.
The second day opened with “Cultural Simulations”, which were designed to get students thinking about Theory of Knowledge topics, and to encourage the students to interact with one another. The afternoon group project was to produce skits to creatively display IB Learner Profile Attributes. The IB Learner Profile Attributes are characteristics that the IB Programme aims to develop in all of its graduates, such as risk-taking, open mindedness, caring, and an inquiring frame of mind. The creative, insightful student skits were presented to an audience of their peers and teachers that evening.
The YCIS students returned to Shanghai on the third day, but the retreat experience was far from over. During the third day, students received presentations from the University Guidance Counsellors, and were also fortunate to hear from seven YCIS alumni who volunteered to speak to students about their IB experience. The Year 12 students took time after returning to campus to reflect about the learning that had taken place at Sun Island.
HaLin recounted the skit that his team had produced, writing, “Every member shared opinions, discussed, and gained the best result.” Another student, Rochester, echoed this sentiment, noting, “This was a good start for IB because it incorporated a lot of interaction, learning, and fun.”
Having completed the IB Retreat, this year’s Year 12 students are now well-prepared for the challenges of IB that lie before them. The confidence and understanding that comes from the retreat experience will help students succeed in the degree programme, while also helping to shape students by the IB Learner Profile Attributes. According to Ms Sieve, “At YCIS, it is our mission to nurture the whole student, not only academically, but in a holistic manner. Character education, which corresponds with the IB Learner Profile, is just one way YCIS does this. Throughout the next two years, IB students will continue to work with the Learner Profile, both in and out of class, to become even more well rounded in all areas of life.”