The last decade has seen the rise of the ‘international’ school in India. At the heart of ‘internationalism’ is the the spirit of transcending our fragmented identities and differences to embrace similarities we all share at our core. What does this mean for international schools?
It means that we need to build learning communities wherein children not only ‘tolerate’ or ‘accept’ pluralism, but in which they actively seek and celebrate differences and then truly appreciate the strength of their similarities.
Progress in learning of any kind is deeply connected with this celebration of differences and similarities. Perspectives different from our own have a great deal to offer us- they stimulate and provoke, and challenge us to broaden what we know. Engagement with other perspectives, especially from cultural contexts different from our own, ultimately help us discover our commonalities.
At DRS International School, our students of the IB Primary Years Programme explore everything through the lens of commonalities- the International Baccalaureate’s ‘transdisciplinary themes’. These themes powerfully anchor learning in the context of shared, human experience. The curriculum itself ideally forms the bedrock of internationalism in an international school.
Internationalism begins in the classroom. Every step of the learning journey in an international school fosters internationalism. In DRS International School, the spirit of inquiry that the International Baccalaureate programme advocates inspires our students to identify themselves as global citizens. The globally oriented classroom encourages students to think of issues and solutions in multiple dimensions- the local, the national and the global.
Nothing fosters inter-cultural understanding like a climate of robust dialogue and debate. International schools participate in international forums and platforms to promote global engagement and inter-cultural understanding. At DRS International School, for instance, our students use video-conferencing to dialogue with students from schools from across the globe about world-issues.
Schools are microcosms of the wider world. They are worlds within worlds- they mirror the conflicts and undercurrents of society at large. International schools, in which students thrive on diversity and difference as well as appreciate commonalities, are little ‘worlds’ that give us hope.
Dr Gaurav Muradia is a progressive educator who is passionate about transformational education. He is the Head of School at DRS International School, an international curriculum school (IB, CAIE).