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Authentic learning through student voice & choice at International School Eindhoven

Global Missions is an engaging, relevant, and meaningful learning experience for students, who have range of voice & choice in developing and demonstrating their learning.

-by Gavin Latham, Leader for Learning, International School Eindhoven

At the International School Eindhoven (ISE), we emphasize authentic learning opportunities wherein students can demonstrate ownership of relevant learning experiences. This is reflected in part of our guiding statements: “…students to become creative, resilient, and responsible citizens who will thrive and be happy in an ever-changing world.” At our school, this statement manifests in our Global Missions work, which inspires students to address Sustainable Development Goals through active project-based learning. 

How can we reduce food waste?

Recently, our Group 4 students completed a Global Mission related to SDG 2: Zero Hunger. Specifically, students answered the essential question: “How can we reduce food waste at our school?” During their project, students had to move through the 10 steps of the Global Missions project:

During their work, students had to record their progress along several skill components: team work, communication, critical thinking, and data management. With these parameters established–an essential question, success criteria, and the GM process–students were then free to creatively address the question through whatever means they developed. 

For instance, one group designed an automatic composter to reuse food waste…

Design process

Students developed many other projects, including puppet shows, board games, websites, digital games, and other creative products to help reduce food waste. Through this process, students also engaged in multiple subject domains, such as: 

  • Art (creating “food portraits” of themselves), 
  • Science (collecting data related to food waste), 
  • ICT (creating presentations to share with the class and community),
  • Geography (learning about farming around the world), and 
  • History (learning how ancient civilizations managed food waste). 

Students also worked through the design process as a team, which helped develop their skills related to communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. Students worked on these skills throughout the GM process by setting targets, monitoring their journey, and reflecting on their progress. Lastly, when working in a team each week, students assigned themselves various roles, which changed every week to broaden the skills and tasks of each student, such as Facilitator, Resource Manager, Reporter, and Quality Checker.

Building experience and empathy

By students having choice and voice in how they developed, engaged, and expressed their learning, they were interested and genuine in their work. By students evaluating and reflecting on their work, they defined what mattered to them as learners. By students collaborating in a variety of ways throughout their project, they built experience and empathy.

It is through projects like Global Missions that students develop the competencies they need to thrive in the future world. Importantly, it also teaches students that their voice can make a difference, and that everything we do is better when we do it together. Happy learning!

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