《声音》启明星专刊 VOICES for Daystar Academy VOICES Spring/Summer Edition 2019 - Page 28

MHS CORNER Learning and Taking Action for the Community By Nicole Last, English Individuals and Societies Teacher, DS Beigao Campus T his spring, Daystar’s 8th graders have been planning and taking action on their MYP Community Project, which they have been working on since the beginning of the school year. Their hard work investigating and planning is finally paying off as they have been taking action in their school, residence, and charity communities! There are two ways of thinking about the Community Project: as the project itself, and as a vital part of the MYP 5-year program. First – what is the point of a community service project? In the MYP, a big part of the point is for our students to dream and execute a concrete way to add concrete value to a real-world community. It’s one thing to say that we should end world hunger, find a cure for cancer, or “help the poor” – but those are big, ambitious, and non-specific. A student’s task changes quite a bit once they identify, say, a specific orphanage that they want to help. What does that orphanage actually need? Do they want school supplies? Blankets? Fresh fruits and vegetables for healthy lunches? Free ice cream for all (probably not!)? Our students are discovering that the only way to sort that out is to actually ask – write emails, send messages, show up and ask. Our students are also discovering that their chosen service can – in fact, should – speak to their own personal interests. One of our students enjoys baking, and used her baked goods to raise money for the community she chose. Another is a computer-literate type, and aimed to create an online forum for Daystar students to express their own opinions and ideas about the school in a safe and appropriately moderated way, but in a way that might also be heard by the powers that be. A third feels passionately about protecting pets from the unfortunate effects of ill-considered adoption, and designed a brochure to educate would-be pet owners about the responsibilities that adoption carries, so that they can make more informed commitments. Finally, our students will be asked to evaluate the long- term impacts of their service on the community. Will it be a matter of giving a man a fish, as the old saying goes, or of teaching him to fish? Will the orphans simply get better apples for a few weeks in March, or will they be learning a skill they can use to support themselves or Daystar Academy Spring/Summer Edition 2019 explore their own passions? Will the Daystar students learn to navigate responsible and constructive civic speech? So the Community Project gives our students a concrete way to think about the real-world consequences of their actions, and a real way to think about why the quality of their work matters. This will be an incredibly important learning experience for them, both in its own right, but also as a precursor of the MYP Personal Project, which is the ultimate assessment of the MYP student’s progress towards the IB values of principled inquiry followed by responsible action. Both projects follow the same process cycle of Investigating, Planning, Taking Action, and Reflection: During the 8th grade process, the students have received a lot of direct instruction, teacher modelling, and instant feedback from their project supervisors. As they move to the 10th grade Personal Project, they will be asked to complete the same cycle under their own power, taking responsibility for their own learning, investigation, time management, seeking of feedback, communication with partners, and skills of execution. So this is valuable practice, and everything they are learning by trial and painful error during this process should be informing their success in the future!