Tuesday 4 June 2019

Guest Blog: Leading the IMYC at NAIS New York

Nicola Lee

UNICEF & International Curriculum Lead at NAIS New York

This year, I was lucky enough to take on the post of International Middle Years Curriculum (IMYC) Lead at Nord Anglia International School in New York City. Teaching here, using the IMYC framework has led to some wonderful educational discoveries for both myself as a practitioner, but more importantly for the students.

The IMYC ethos has ensured that students feel connected and challenged by their learning and has created a wonderful atmosphere for debate, evaluation and progress in students thought process.

This term, Year 8 and Year 9 have both been looking at events in European history, predominantly in and around Russia

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As part of the unit on Renewal, Year 9 are looking at the rise and fall of the Romanov’s; the concept of the “right to rule” and the characteristics needed to be a good leader. We played a great game of giant Jenga to reinforce the ideas around leadership qualities, and why some places are just fundamentally hard to manage. It was interesting to look at bordering countries, differences in culture, status and ideologies. These were identified and stuck to blocks in one colour, while the personal and professional attributes of Tsar Nicholas 2nd were stuck in another. We then divided into 2 teams to play and see what would make Tsarist Russia topple!

Year 8 have been focusing on the Cold War as part of the Reflection unit, using analogies of school bullies to fully understand the underlying tensions between Capitalist and Communist ideals. There has been great discussion around both concepts to ensure understanding of the pros and cons of both sides. The students were particularly animated when learning about the Space Race, trying to understand its importance to both sides – not to mention a lot of heated debate as to whether or not the moon landings actually happened. Fake news may not have been an invention of 2018, it seems!

For our students living in America, it can be really interesting to review USA history in such a way. Students are currently producing news reports about the moon landings for their younger peers.

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The wonderful thing about the structure of the IMYC, especially for us here at NAIS New York is that students are able to make links across their learning, despite being taught discreet subjects. For example, the students have read and discussed Animal Farm in English which has assisted their learning in the History and Geography elements of the IMYC.

As a curriculum, the links with the UNICEF Sustainable Development Goal plays a huge role in student’s understanding of their own responsibility to the world around them. The International Primary Curriculum and International Middle Years Curriculum have clear links to this throughout the units. This ensures that we can provide understanding of the goals, become advocates and assist in working towards the goals so that they form a big part of our overall learning.

The fact that the IMYC ensures a comprehensive overview means that our international students get a better global view, and create links that deepen their understanding in a way that is truly international.

Find out about our International Middle Years Curriculum