SDGs Group Projects
Over the last six years, our secondary students participated in two major school-innovated PBL (Project Based Learning) activities each year. At the end of May, when the DP1 students are writing their final exams in the exam hall, MYP 1-5 students engage in student-led SDGs Projects. In each of the six years of SDGs projects, there have been nuanced adaptions to mark global changes; for example, in 2020, we held our SDG Pandemic Projects, where students, emerging from a long quarantine, looked at how the pandemic is impacting the seventeen most important issues of our times.
In the past, some student leaders went down to Shenzhen to talk about their projects at an SDGs Summit for teachers, and one student, Liang Jia Wei, presented multiple times about the project he led, then he went on to focus on the topic for his MYP culminating Personal Project. (This work is featured in a book called World Wise Learning by Carla Marschall and Elizabeth Crawford.) Jia Wei and other XLIS students, influenced by these yearly projects, are now pursuing education looking at environmental issues, seeking to be the change in the world.
This year, our student-leaders applied for leadership positions and received advanced training, including sessions with Inspire Citizens, Steven Sostak and Ivy Yan, and the Secondary Principal, Daun Yorke. Student leaders sharpened and expanded their leadership skills. The leaders worked to build capacity in others. The leaders arrived at their groups with the starting point of an SDGs or a genre (theatre or film-making) chosen and then empowered their groups to develop either the SDGs or genre for workshops and presentations. The SDGs projects involved research and collaboration, and the students added a workshop format to their final presentations as they wanted to encourage active engagement and experiential learning.
Our SDGs Projects highlight the power of advocacy and collaborative student-led action. Our student leaders led regular reflection sessions with their groups and reflected on the growth and development they experienced over the week.
“I thank all teachers and students who supported this project and helped us improve as leaders.” ——Angelina, MYP5
“These were the best SDGs Projects I have experienced over the last five years.” ——Rafferty, MYP5
“The student-leaders were incredible this year. They had amazing leadership strategies, and students listened to them as peers and leaders” ——Mr. Stone (MYP Design Teacher)
Every week, our students have one hour of dedicated time to work on an individual META project of their choice. The homeroom teacher is the guide-on-the-side, mentoring and encouraging students. Teachers also provide probing questions and encourage students to extend their thinking on their topics.
The results of the META Projects this year were quite remarkable for some MYP students. From creating kinetic sculptures to a transistor radio to researching LGBQ issues to detailed analysis of health fitness, and body systems, our students, explored topics with inquiry and innovator’s mindsets. These projects represent our lived mission. We believe in student agency, as our mission is to enable confident, open-minded global citizens. When we empower students to lead the learning, we encourage exploration inside and outside the classroom that embeds a passion for learning that we believe will be lifelong.
At the end of MYP, every student will produce a large-scale project called the Personal Project, and the META Projects (over four consecutive years) provide excellent preparation for this MYP culminating project. At XLIS, we are not merely fulfilling the requirements of the IB but empowering students, so student-led learning and project-based learning are ways of being at the school.
Click here for more details.
Daun Yorke (Secodnary Principal)