St. Joseph’s Institution International High School
How do we teach at SJI International?
We believe that a first rate education requires the following:
- A strong and clear values system
- Teacher and student expectations of the highest academic standards
- A rich enrichment programme that builds character as well as both enduring interests and friendships
- A sensitive and quickly responsive pastoral system
Our teaching philosophy is based upon the understanding that our students:
- love to think, enquire and discover
- learn most effectively through engaging, active, challenging learning experiences, particularly outside the classroom
- best absorb concepts and information as a bi-product of practising skills
- thrive on a variety of teaching methodologies
- benefit from reflection upon their own processes of learning
- are the best appraisers of the teaching they receive
- have diverse skills that require assessment through diverse methods
- thrive on encouragement and an absence of fear of failure
- experience no conflict between academic success and wholehearted commitment to activities
Thus, we expect our teachers to:
- be enthusiastic, principled, creative, sensitive and have high expectations
- create active, diverse, engaging learning experiences for their students
- design tasks that allow students of different capacities to be fully stretched
- integrate IT into learning activities
- take learning from the classroom into the Singapore community whenever possible and into the region for adventurous activities and expeditions
- ensure that homework assignments are equally as thoughtfully designed as classroom learning
- adopt diverse assessment techniques that measure a broad range of skills
- ensure that marking offers constructive and empowering feedback to the students
- help the students both to reflect upon their own learning and to inform the teaching they receive
- form an intellectually and pedagogically lively teaching fraternity that shares ideas and constantly seeks to find better ways of helping students to learn
- contribute fully in the enrichment programme
High School Curriculum
- The Arts
- Physical Education
- TOK, RE and WE
In the English Department we aim to instil in students a love of both Literature and Language. Our students are introduced to Literature in all its forms and from around the world. We study Poetry, Drama, The Novel, Short Stories and Non-Fiction, giving students the opportunity to understand and enjoy the ways in which writers create their works, as well as learning how to analyse and evaluate language and meaning. We give our students the opportunity to explore how language is used for a variety of purposes: to inform, persuade, instruct and entertain. Students are also given a range of tasks to explore and develop their own linguistic styles and skills.
In Grade 7 and 8 we introduce students to a range of literary and linguistic genres and text types. Students of both years study Poetry that will allow them to engage with different cultural experiences. They also study a Media unit that introduces them to the world of mass communication. Appreciation of the Novel is a primary focus, as is the study of extracts from the plays of William Shakespeare. The skills developed lead to the Cambridge IGCSE English Language and English Literature curriculum in Grade 9 and 10. Students are awarded two grades: one for Literature and one for Language.
The culmination of the English programme is the study of the IB Diploma in Grades 11 and 12, where native speakers of English choose a Language ‘A’ course in either English Literature, or English Language and Literature. Both Higher and Standard levels are offered. As well as the Language ‘A’ option, there is a Language ‘B’ alternative which is designed specifically for students for whom English is a second language. This curriculum is also available for study at both Higher and Standard levels.
Our Approach to Learning
In Grade 7 and 8, we focus on skill building, including study skills, in order to equip students with the tools needed to be successful in the examined courses. Across all grades, close reading, analysis and evaluation are embedded into the teaching of each unit. Drafting, editing and proofreading are instilled as part of the writing process. Our students are encouraged to read widely in order to develop the skill of reading for understanding, and to develop their appreciation of language and its ability to convey a range of meanings. Speaking and listening activities are an integral part of the teaching. Students work in pairs, groups and individually as part of a process which will develop deeper levels of insight, while encouraging collaboration as well as independent thought. We also teach research skills throughout the Grades, culminating in students’ ability to produce independent coursework in Grade 11 and 12.
Grade 7 classes recently studied a novel set in World War One, Private Peaceful, by Michael Morpurgo. As part of their study they made a couple of videos, one of which shows the aftermath of a gas attack. Both these short scenes show how the students are engaged, in different ways, leading to a greater understanding of some of the issues canvassed in the story. Watch them here:
We believe that all students should be given the chance to develop their mother tongue. We recognise the strength and the great benefits of learning the language and about its culture. We also strongly believe in the benefits of learning a second language. Not only does it enable students to communicate effectively in an increasingly global context but it enables them to understand the cultures of other people. We aim to nurture and educate students so that they can appreciate other languages such as Chinese, Spanish, Bahasa Melayu, Bahasa Indonesia, Tamil and Hindi. Through language learning, we expose students to various societies and people who speak and use these languages, thereby providing students with a more holistic understanding of language in its broadest sense.
We follow the Foundation IGCSE curriculum in Grade 7 and 8, leading in Grade 9 and 10 to the Cambridge IGCSE for all languages, except for Tamil which is studied at GCE ‘O’ Level.
At Grade 7 and 8, we offer Chinese, Malay/Bahasa Indonesian, Tamil, Hindi, Spanish, and possibly French (if there is demand). We have three types of Chinese courses: Advanced Chinese, Intermediate Chinese and Foreign Language Chinese. The Advanced Chinese course is designed for students who have attained a higher level of Chinese, while the Intermediate course is for students who have learned the language for some years and have a satisfactory level of competency. We also offer a Foreign Language Chinese course for students who are learning Chinese as a foreign language and whose level of experience is not sufficient for the Intermediate class.
At Grade 9 and 10, we offer Chinese, Malay/Bahasa Indonesia, Tamil, Hindi, Spanish, and possibly French (if there is demand). For Chinese, there are three different types of examinations: the IGCSE First Language Chinese examination which will be taken mainly by Advanced Chinese classes; IGCSE Chinese as a Second Language, mainly for Intermediate Chinese and Foreign Language Chinese class students; and IGCSE Chinese as a Foreign Language which will be taken by some students from Foreign Language Chinese classes.
For the IB Diploma course in Grade 11 and 12, we offer different levels of languages to cater to the different needs of students. For their First Language course, we offer Chinese and Indonesian. Students whose first language is not English, Chinese or Bahasa Indonesian will have full support from the school to continue developing language skills in their mother tongue and culture and we will support students to ensure they fulfil all the requirements of the Literature self-taught course as set by IB. For the Second Language course, we offer Chinese, Malay, Tamil, Hindi and Spanish as a continuation from IGCSE. We also offer Beginner Language courses such as French, Spanish and Bahasa Indonesian.
For more information download the Language Routes from Elementary/Primary School through High School.
Our Approach to Learning
Our philosophy is to maximise the benefits of both ‘teacher-centred’ and ‘student-centred’ learning. In the former, we design language lessons and activities that provide for systematic learning so as to prepare students for practical language use and an appreciation of literature and cultures. In the student-centred approach, students are engaged through a wide range of activities in the classroom such as role-play, presentation, debate, games and singing. To support both approaches, we use a wide variety of teaching and learning resources such as textbooks, documentaries, movies, song lyrics, online video clips, apps, literature texts, newspapers and magazines. Assignments and assessments are varied so that our students are aware of their strengths and areas for improvement. For the Chinese course we have a streaming system in place to ensure that students are placed in the course that is best for their level of language competency. For Chinese as well as other languages differentiation is used to ensure that students of different language levels are able to reach their potential.
We include the use of Experiential Learning: educational outings that complement learning in the classroom, such as visits to Chinese restaurants and heritage places in Singapore. We also organise trips to Indian art performances and Chinese theatre. Students use the target language when asking questions during the trip, complete specific tasks and share their findings in different forms after the trip.
We enhance cultural learning by organising other cultural activities for our students. For example, we organise a cultural trip to China every two years. Celebrations of traditional festivals are extended into lesson time, for example during the Chinese New Year, students from Chinese classes will learn paper-folding and paper-cutting, Chinese calligraphy and the making of glutinous rice balls. We also present four assemblies for different festivals: Lunar New Year, Vesak Day, Hari Raya Puasa and Deepavali, and each year we organise internal Chinese competitions for Chinese classes from Grade 7 to 11. Our aim is to raise students’ interest in the Chinese language and culture, as well as to give students a platform to display their talents and abilities. There are different types of competitions for different levels, for example, a Chinese handwriting competition and an essay-writing competition. Our students also participate in various external Chinese competitions, such as in public speaking. Our students and teachers participate in co-curricular activities to develop their interests, skills and passion beyond the classroom. For example, students learn how to play the Gamelan, sing various folk songs, and produce a Chinese on-line magazine, Sky. We also organise peer support for students who need extra help; Grade 11 and 12 Chinese A students help their juniors with their Chinese during lunch hours.
Experiential Learning – Lunar New Year 2016
On Monday 1 February, the Asian Languages Department presented the Lunar New Year Assembly to celebrate the Spring Festival. Charmaine Tan Yee Ching from Grade 11GWK presented solo erhu pieces entitled xi yang yang (喜洋洋) and sen ji de ma (森吉德玛). Following this, the Folk Songs Group and our Chinese teachers Ms Shirleen Toh and Mr Chang Chia Hao presented a few festive songs to the school. At the end of the assembly, two of our Grade 7 students dressed up as Datou Wawa to present mandarin oranges to Dr Koh, Brother Larry and Mr Roberts.
During their Chinese lessons, students also celebrated the festival by participating in various activities. Grade 7 and 8 participated in guessing the Lantern Riddles to usher in the Year of the Monkey. Grade 9 and 10 took part in the Hongbao Costume Fashion Show, our very own Project Runway, while Grade 11 embarked on their Spring Festival Research Project.
We wish all a fruitful & fulfilling new year ahead!
Across all aspects of the Humanities we seek to encourage students to engage fully with the world around them. We provide our students with the knowledge and skills they need to understand and question the complex and often contradictory information they absorb through personal experience as well as via the media. Our students become well-informed, globally minded and critical thinkers who are able to judge for themselves the values, policies and people they encounter throughout their lives.
Students begin their journey with bespoke programmes of study in History and Geography in grades 7 and 8. Their learning will cover a wide range of content but will focus on establishing the skills required to analyse and interpret information in humanities subjects as well as developing a fluent style of writing which helps them establish clear, evidence based arguments within a broad variety of issues and debates.
During grades 9 and 10 students can choose to continue their exploration of either or both of History or Geography, but could also consider Economics as an addition to their portfolio of Humanities subjects. There is of course considerable overlap in the issues and themes explored within these subjects and students can benefit from the alternative ways in which similar issues are investigated and evaluated.
IB students are able to select as many as two specialities from a full range of Humanities subjects with Psychology and Business and Management offered in addition to History, Geography and Economics. In all areas the emphasis is on stimulating curiosity and encouraging independent thought as a means to developing students who can not only enjoy a full spectrum of life opportunities but who will also retain a life long passion for learning.
Our Approach to Learning
Humanities lessons are active; students are encouraged to explore new information, explain their ideas, listen to the opinions of others and judge the relative merit of competing theories. Rational discourse is a key skill throughout our curriculum and students will often spend time selecting which evidence best supports a particular view as well as considering alternative ways in which the same information could be interpreted. Consideration of different cultural perspectives, historical causes and the implications of our learning for the future are central to everything we do.
Lessons will have a practical element where appropriate and all members of the faculty embrace the importance of experience as well as learning outside the classroom as a platform for deep learning. Fieldwork is an integral part of teaching in Geography, but all of our subjects have clear and contemporary real world application which can provide a platform for valuable and enjoyable educational visits. Above all else, our teachers are passionate and enthusiastic professionals who are committed to creating valuable, effective and fun opportunities to learn.
Death of a Salesman
This video, which was produced by our students studying Economics, won two categories in the Singapore Economic Development Board National Film Competition 2014.
We aim to develop scientific understanding by creating opportunities for students to question what goes on around them. We explore what science and scientific endeavour are in order to put a human face on the relentless pace of progress. Students learn objectivity and scientific literacy whilst appreciating the need for greater public understanding.
We develop their experimental skills so that they will be able to try to answer the questions they pose. Our students develop a critical and analytical way of thinking, allowing them to always work beyond what is being presented.
In Grade 7 and 8 our students study a general science course based on the Australian national curriculum which prepares them for the study of IGCSE. In Grade 9 and 10 students embark on the IGCSE (Cambridge Board) Science course and can choose to take all three separate sciences as individual subjects (3 IGCSEs) or complete the more general Coordinated Science subject (2 IGCSEs).
In Grade 11 and 12, as part of the IB Diploma Programme, students can choose to study Chemistry, Biology, Physics (SL or HL), Environmental Systems and Societies or Sports Exercise and Health Science or Computer Science (SL only).
Our Approach to Learning
Our students learn about the basic principles of each subject through a mix of theoretical and practical studies, while also developing an understanding of the scientific skills essential for further study. They also learn how science is studied and practised, and become aware that the results of scientific research can have both good and bad effects on individuals, communities and the environment.
Throughout their time at SJI International we encourage our students to develop their investigative skills. They are inspired to think as scientists and are often challenged to use their scientific knowledge to explain observations and processes. We place great importance on the development of creativity in experimental design, enabling our students to establish the planning and manipulative skills necessary to create and perform practical investigations with accuracy and precision. Our ‘hands-on’ approach is designed to aid the development of students into excellent scientists and also to inspire in them a lifelong love of the subject. By utilising various means to engage a wide variety of learning styles, we strive to enable all students to reach their full potential. We want them to become responsible, self-motivated learners, individuals who take the initiative and seek to learn about the Sciences because we have helped them to develop a curiosity and desire to know more.
In 1953, the scientific community underwent a monumental paradigm shift when Watson and Crick proposed the double helix structure of DNA. With this discovery, a world of possibilities opened and new techniques were developed to advance other fields, such as forensics and genealogy. On a recent trip to the DNA Lab@Science Centre the Grade 12 class had the opportunity to look at some examples of how DNA can be used to determine our own physical traits, through gel electrophoresis.
They looked specifically at our individual abilities to taste a particular bitter pigment, an ability that varies with one’s genealogy. The process was very insightful, and they delved into other biological experiments such as the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) which allows the creation of multiple copies of an individual’s DNA. They also learnt how data gained from gel electrophoresis experiments can be interpreted. In addition, they had the unique opportunity to examine parts of their own DNA, a rare and exciting experience for all. The experience at the Science Centre opened up a view into the world of biomedical research, and provided useful insights that will undoubtedly be helpful for the students’ Biology course.
Our aim is not simply to instil mathematical knowledge and skills, but to allow students to develop an appreciation of, and enjoy Mathematics as a discipline. In doing this, our horizons are never set by the next series of assessments, but always beyond these to where students are headed. In preparing students for the IGCSE, we look to the skills required for the IB, and in preparing students for the IB, we look to the skills required for tertiary education.
In Grade 7 we do the ground work for the IGCSE course that starts in Grade 8. In Grade 9 and 10, our students complete the Cambridge IGCSE course in Extended Mathematics with approximately 50% of students also taking the Additional Mathematics paper. Students in Grade 11 and Grade 12 study the IB Diploma course and have the choice of doing one of three Mathematics courses: Mathematical Studies Standard Level, Mathematics Standard Level and Mathematics Higher Level.
Approach to Learning
Our emphasis is on building skills in Mathematics based on a thorough understanding of mathematical principles and their application. Students are encouraged to undertake their own investigations under the guidance of their teacher, devise their own strategies for problem-solving, and to raise questions relating to mathematical concepts and methods. Students are mathematically active: mathematics-based investigations, which develop their skills as well as their mathematical initiative and problem-solving, give students the opportunity to explore their mathematical curiosity. Our students may work individually, in groups or work collaboratively in problem-solving tasks and these occur in many different contexts such as competitions, projects, presentations, as well as more traditional group and individual tasks. Students are encouraged to use technology – as well as computers and web-based mathematical activities, Graphic Calculators are used from Grade 8 because their use allows students to explore mathematical relationships more efficiently and transparently. In this way, the conventional content of Mathematics is used as a basis to help students achieve the outcomes noted above. Our students will, of course, become proficient in the traditional topics in Mathematics, but these are vehicles for promoting mathematical thinking rather than being laboured over for its own sake.
Beyond the Classroom: Australian Mathematics Competition July 2015
We have taken part in the Australian Mathematics Competition again this year. A group of over 100 students took part in this completion this year. This is 25% more than last year. The aim of the competition is to help students to reach their mathematical potential. The results are now out and we are delighted to have the following top performers in each grade:
Grade 7 – three Distinction Awards
Grade 8 – One Prize Award (the highest possible award for this age group) and two Distinction Awards
Grade 11 – two High Distinction Awards, one Distinction Award and a Prudence Award for the most consecutive answers
Grade 12 – One High Distinction Award and one Distinction Award
We believe that every student possesses a range of creative abilities, and it is our responsibility to discover, nurture and celebrate these talents. We aim to develop students who have a lifelong enjoyment and appreciation of the arts. Our students will develop an appreciation of different areas of the arts and will learn to love different styles, genres, methodologies etc. We want all students to feel that they are creative and can create and improve, no matter what their preferred area of the arts is. Students should leave SJI International having had a fun and inspiring journey through the Arts.
Curriculum OverviewIn grade 7 and 8 in Art, Music and Drama, we teach a foundation IGCSE course where the curriculum is based on elements of the UK National Curriculum, the MYP (the IB Middle Years Programme) and the International Primary Curriculum (IPC). In Grade 9 and 10 we teach IGCSE Art, Music and Drama, following the Cambridge Syllabus. The Grade 10 FIB curriculum is based on the first year of the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) to fully prepare the students for the IBDP course. In Grade 11 and 12 we teach IB DP Visual Arts, Music and Theatre.
Our Approach to LearningWe place emphasis on building students’ confidence within the Arts, and building on skills they already have while at the same time introducing them to a wide range of techniques and approaches in each subject area. We aim to create independent learners who are able to learn about the arts, using a wide variety of learning styles: working by themselves, in pairs and in groups. As well as teaching the students about the individual disciplines of Art, Music and Drama, we use project-based learning where the students take more ownership of their learning and working collaboratively.
We encourage our students to use deeper thinking skills to solve problems, and to use their knowledge and expertise to support each other. Students are encouraged to use different forms of technology where appropriate. This will be slightly different in each of the disciplines of Art, Music and Drama, but we encourage students to use technology to support their learning wherever possible.
Students may present their work in a variety of forms – through a wide variety of musical concerts, productions, Drama night, presentations of drama work to other classes, Art exhibitions, Art displays, and of course our bi-annual large Musical production.
The Physical Education curriculum provides children with the skills needed for confident participation in sport and recreational activities. At SJI International Elementary school, our PE programme focuses on developing skills, knowledge and understanding in the full range of activity areas and in a range of environments including: Invasion Games, Net Games, Striking and Fielding Games, Swimming Activities, Dance, Gymnastics, Athletic Activity and Outdoor Adventure. We encourage children to develop physical skills (agility, balance and coordination) and physical fitness so that they gain a sense of enjoyment and satisfaction from individual pursuits and team sporting activities.
Integral to our programme is developing an understanding of the factors that contribute to maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle. We aim to instil an appreciation for regular physical activity and making informed choices to promote and realise the body’s potential for well-being. Our programme is designed to engage, motivate and inspire children to be committed to lifelong physical activity.
Our PE curriculum makes provision for a broad and balanced PE experience for all ages and abilities and is designed to ensure the development and promotion of:
- physical confidence, enabling children to engage in a range of physical activities
- physical development, teaching children to value the benefits of participation in physical activity while at school and throughout life
- artistic and aesthetic understanding within and through movement
- improved self-esteem through the development of physical confidence and leadership opportunities, helping children to cope with both success and failure in competitive and cooperative physical activities
Early Years children experience a curriculum focused on acquiring and developing skill. Children become increasingly efficient, effective and versatile in their movement. They experience this skill development through fundamental movement and games which allow:
- opportunities for the development of the skilful use of the body
- the ability to remember, repeat and refine actions and to perform them with increasing control, co-ordination and fluency
- for a range of activities designed to challenge and improve the ABC of PE (agility, balance and coordination)
Middle Years children focus on acquiring and developing further and more complex skills and selecting and applying them appropriately. They begin to gain a knowledge and understanding in a range of activity areas. The PE programme provides opportunities to:
- develop an increasing ability to select, link and apply tactics and compositional ideas
- develop fluency and consistency in their performance
- improve observation skills and the ability to describe and make simple judgments on their own and others’ work, and to use their observations and judgements to improve performance (improving and evaluating).
- ensure the development of an understanding of the effects of exercise on the body, and an appreciation of the value of safe exercising (knowledge and understanding of fitness and health).
Upper Elementary children develop their learning journey in PE by further developing knowledge and understanding by developing the more complex skills of observing and evaluating. This is achieved by providing:
- opportunities to develop the ability to work independently, communicate with and respond positively towards others
- positions of responsibility and leadership
- the development of problem solving skills
- the development of interpersonal skills
TOK, RE and WE
Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Religious Educatio (RE)n and Wellbeing Education (WE)
Theory of Knowledge (ToK)
AimsTheory of Knowledge is a compulsory part of the IB Diploma which is taught through one double period each week in Grade 11 and 12. Through the Theory of Knowledge course we aim to engage our students in critical thinking and enquiring into the process of knowing, rather than learning a specific body of knowledge. As a core component of the Diploma Programme, the ToK course references all subjects and asks students to consider how we know what we claim to know in these subjects.
Our Approach to LearningWe ask our students to analyse knowledge claims by asking questions that relate to the generation, justification and use of knowledge. By using real-life examples as frameworks for this, they are encouraged to make connections between their classroom experiences and life beyond.
Our students will be engaged in classroom and small group discussions, debates, student-led seminars, reviewing various stimulus materials, essay and paragraph writing, and oral presentations. Although ToK is not a course in critical thinking or philosophy, students will become familiar with critical approaches and be exposed to many philosophical concepts.
ToK is assessed in the final year by an essay on a prescribed title and a presentation showing how the ToK construct can be applied in a real life situation chosen by the student.
Theory of Knowledge is led by Mr Tony Scheelbeek: tony.scheelbeek
Religious Education (RE)
Through the Religious Education programme we aim to deepen a student’s conviction in his or her own belief, as well as to create in our students, a deeper understanding and appreciation of people’s differences – religious as well as cultural – in order to make the world a more peaceful place. We stimulate the inter-religious relationship by including the study of Lasallian tradition and heritage within the RE curriculum.
The whole curriculum is designed to accompany the students as they make sense of their own development at this critical stage of their lives. We have compiled a variety of activities to cater to a wide range of individuals but there is an emphasis on individual reflection to articulate and integrate the life ideas and concepts, evaluating experiences, analysing dilemmas, discussion on life issues, sharing and debates. Popular culture, tradition, current events and technology are important components that we constantly add into the curriculum.
Our Approach to Learning
RE is non-examination subject. Whilst there is no formal examination, our students are assessed through continuous monitoring of student performance which aligns with the aims of the course and the standards we expect our students to meet. These types of assessment take place at the end of each unit and can take a variety of forms such as project-based assessment, oral and visual presentations, examination style questions and group debate.
Religious Education is led by Mr Bernard Teo: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wellbeing Education (WE)
We aim to facilitate students’ self-analysis, enabling them to learn independently, to build healthy relationships and to flourish. Personal and Social Education should give students the knowledge and skills needed to lead healthy and responsible lives as confident individuals and members of society. Fundamental to these aims is the belief that we are part of a wider community. The whole curriculum is designed to link learning to life outside school and make connections between subjects and cross-curricular themes and dimensions. Utmost is our aim of providing a secure environment through which students can explore life issues with openness and confidence.
At SJI International we have developed our own unique curriculum that puts into practice our school mission: Enabling students, within a Lasallian community, to learn how to learn and to learn how to live, empowering them to become people of integrity and people for others. Units reflect wider commitments and activities are assigned to each grade so that each unit is purposeful. These units are divided into four key areas: Learning to Learn, Learning to Live, Character Education and Service.
Our Approach to Learning
Activities are varied to cater for a wide range of learning styles but there is an emphasis on group discussion, group projects, presentations and rigorous debate. We encourage students to be active learners by participating in discussion and offering their views on personal and social and cultural issues. Newspaper articles, web materials, video clips etc. are constantly sourced and modified by teachers to provide our students with up to date resources from the world around them.
Grade 8 Snack Attack Challenge
In the Snack Attack Challenge, students compete in groups to create a healthy snack and market their product in a pitch to the rest of their class. The winning groups from each class then compete against the rest of the Grade to find the winning snack.