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Horizons Issue 3 December 2010

Intercultural Awareness: Celebrating Differences and Combating Problems Together

ISW China Exchange Program Creating a Love for Lifetime Learning

Inclusive Education Multicultural Library and Information Services to serve a Multicultural Community

Information Overload Music educationluxury or necessity?

Message from the Director

December 2010 Many of the articles contained in this issue of “Horizons” center on multicultural education. It is, however, important to acknowledge that the goal of multicultural education is not only to teach children about other people and countries. It is also to help children become accustomed to the idea that there are many lifestyles, languages, cultures, and points of view. The purpose of multicultural curriculum is to attach positive feelings to multicultural experiences so that each child will feel included and valued, and will feel friendly and respectful toward people from other ethnic and cultural groups (Dimidjian 1989). The thread of multicultural education is woven throughout a curriculum that also involves the acquisition of knowledge and skills both abstract and technical, necessary for operating in a complex world. This indicates the necessity of international education and the acquisition of intellectual curiosity to give students the opportunity to seek truth and become empathetic and socially responsible. The time students spend in school is a time of exploration and inspiration. It is during these formative years that students discover the subjects that are of interest, the issues that they are passionate about, and the problems that they wish to solve. At International School Winterthur, we attempt to foster a habit of honest inquiry and questioning, and students who are learned, curious and productive. This edition of “Horizons” highlights many of the ways we are attempting to stimulate our students into celebrating intercultural awareness within an international school setting. We attempt to heighten this awareness through our school library, student involvement in KIVA and World Community Grid, our Chinese exchange trip program, and environmental awareness in the Design Technology classes. In our world of failing global economies, wars, extreme poverty for many and riches for the few, there can still be hope in our students for the future through the best of the ideals of international teaching and learning. Sincerely,

Rhonda L. Mott-Hill Director



Library and Media Specialist

Gretha Wocke reading

Teaching the Grade 4 students about

Discussing the different methods

“The Very Hungry Catepillar”

fiction and non-fiction

of research with the Grade 10 students

to the Early Years’ class International schools serve constantly changing, heterogeneous and multicultural societies. Our students have diverse and complex cultural identities. This is one of the unique features that provides the international school community with a wonderful diversity to celebrate, but also with a complex task to serve all our students well. This article is an investigation into how a school library can showcase the diverse cultural nature of the school community and support our multicultural students. Our school libraries serve as learning, cultural and information centres, open to all members of the school body, across barriers such as subject, grade level and language ability. The IFLA/UNESCO School Library Manifesto states that, “School library services must be provided equally to all members of the school community, regardless of age, race, gender, religion, nationality, language, professional or social status.” - a clear charge

to deliver equal services, collections and programs to all our students. This should also be true in respect of our promotion of and respect for the multicultural identity of our student body.


Sadly, much of what we find in our school libraries are still dominantly Eurocentric and very much slanted to the various forms of English we speak and teach. It is so easy to fill up our physical and electronic shelves with resources from the English speaking world, if that best represents the lingua franca of the school. It seems such a logical choice, since English is the language in which most information on the Internet is available. The challenge lies in fashioning library collections, programs and services that are truly representative of the multicultural fibre of the school and that truly serves all members of the school body equally. The unanswered question is if this is a vague dream, or a realisable goal?

Firstly, create and maintain collections which include high quality multicultural resources: These resources must be accurate, in terms of cultural depiction, language and historical content. Selection must be done carefully to include various perspectives of an issue. Regardless of the multicultural content, sources should give a realistic portrayal of people’s lives, with accurate settings and little stereotyping, cultural bias or oversimplification of issues – the recount must ring of truth (Agosto 2007).

To transform our school libraries into culturally diverse information centres, we have to:

Literary and non-fiction works must be evaluated according to the expertise of authors and illustrators. The creators must have the necessary qualifications and cultural expertise to portray situa-


tions and settings accurately and with sensitivity, where applicable proof of facts should be supplied through varied resource lists. Secondly, multicultural sources should be promoted through storytelling, book talks, reader advisory services and through creating a visually diverse library environment. Thirdly, librarians should purposefully develop and portray a positive attitude that respects and celebrates the colour and variation brought to our world through cultural diversity. Other teachers should be encouraged to do the same and be supported and challenged to incorporate multicultural material into their classrooms and lessons. Teacher-librarians have plentiful opportunity through one-to-one conversations with students and staff to promote the use of multicultural resources and encourage a positive

and open attitude towards cultural diversity (Agosto 2007). Library media specialists should strive to include many different types of media in multicultural collections in order to accurately portray visual and audio illustration of culture (e.g. music, language and film), not only through written and illustrative means, thereby giving students the opportunity to explore different forms of expression . The focus of libraries today is not to own information sources, but to provide access to information sources. We must take the multicultural aspect into account when


we subscribe to databases – be sure to include sources that do not only include documents from US and European publications, but that will provide various perspectives that will allow students to appreciate other viewpoints. Non-English speaking students should be supported through access to information sources where both interface and content are available in different languages. Students should be actively supported and encouraged to locate and use print and electronic information sources in their mother tongue. IMPLEMENTATING A MULTICULTURAL APPROACH IN THE SCHOOL LIBRARY Is a truly multicultural school library a vague dream, or a realisable goal? How can we practically go about reaching this lofty ideal?

local students to feel less foreign in a new school environment. We all have different personal cultural backgrounds, which by definition will leave us with specific interpretation of situations, events and other cultures. It is difficult, but necessary, to look past one’s own cultural prejudice and bias to be open to other interpretations of resources. If I have never been to China, do not know anyone from China and cannot read Chinese, am I really able to evaluate the bias and stereotyping in works about China? What is more, often new students are initially appreciative to see resources in their own mother tongue, but as soon as they have some proficiency in English, they like to show this and choose the

Finding good multicultural resources proves to be difficult, although selection tools and resource lists are being published and made available on the Internet more frequently. Parents and students from different cultural backgrounds are invaluable in identifying youth literature and other resources from their region and languages. One of the first steps to a multicultural collection is to start a list of such resources which are seen to be important to our current community and acquire such sources, both in the original published language and also in English, to provide wide access to these resources. Collaboration is so much part of how we teach our students to inquire and research, that valuable input from librarians and teachers at other international schools cannot be overestimated – both in identifying specific multicultural sources, but also in identifying locally important resources, appropriate search engines and websites in the languages of the countries where they work. Since many of our students at international schools live as foreigners in host countries, our school libraries can play an important role in unlocking the local culture and customs to those new to the school. Conversely, many international schools are experiencing a rising local student enrolment. Including a good selection of resources about the local country can make it much easier for new

same type of material as their classmates, leaving their mother tongue behind. Practical implementation of a truly multicultural library may be just impossible because of lacking knowledge, suitable resources, money, time, and last year’s Danish students may have been replaced by some from Costa Rica this year! CONCLUSION The school library is a core facility in the school where a culturally tolerant environment is possible. It can be the centre from which attitudes towards cultural differences can be dictated and should be committed to the universal principles of fundamental freedom and equality of access to information and knowledge to all. They provide a non-threatening setting where multicultural awareness and effec-

Creating a Love For Lifetime Learning By: Denise Zeender Grade 2 Teacher

tive community integration can begin/ be fostered. It is clear that to work a changed school environment that is more in-tune with a multicultural approach, the library can act as starting point and catalyst, but to truly work a change in the school attitude this will have to be taken into every classroom and to every curriculum revision. There is much to be done. Works Sited Agosto, Denise C. 2007. “Building a multicultural school library: Issues and challenges”. Teacher Librarian 34, no. 3: 27-31. De la Iglesia, Michele. “Multicultural Literature for Children.” Internet PublicLibrary. IPL, n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2010. <>. IFLA. “The IFLA Multicultural Library Manifesto.” International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. IFLA, Mar. 2009. Web. 12 Oct. 2010. <>. Summers, Laura L. “Culturally Responsive Leadership in School Libraries.” Library Media Connection 28.5 (2010): p10-13. EBSCO Professional Development Collection. Web. 1 Oct. 2010. <http://search. e&db=eric&AN=EJ886017&site=ehos t-live>.

One of the important goals of the Primary Years Program is to prepare students to function as happy well-adjusted adults. The future will be a world with people capable of questioning the status quo. These will be the people who succeed and feel satisfaction with their endeavors. These people will have the skills to explore their world and question what they do not understand or do not agree with. At an IBO school these qualities are practiced through experimentation and play when ever possible. This type of inquiry based learning first starts with making connections with what students already know about a particular body of knowledge. One method to practice that facilitates this goal is called brainstorming. The teacher or a student determines the main topic and this is given a central place on the white board or flip chart. Students then contribute their ideas and, with the help of the teacher, create a general picture of what the students already know about a topic. This approach not only provides information for individual students to share with their classmates, but gives the teacher or facilitator insight into

what the students are enthusiastic about. For example, if the class shows an interest in the individual cantons of Switzerland during a unit on European culture, the teacher can respond to this interest by creating new opportunities for students to learn about the similarities and differences between the cantons. Making these connections between what we want our students to learn and what they want to learn encourages a love for life time learning. While the teacher’s job is to keep the topic focused and aimed at what the general goal of a lesson might be, students interests should be reflected in the new knowledge being learned. Once ideas and perceptions have been clarified, students can do further research or apply new concepts to deepen their understanding. This can culminate in students forming an opinion and learning to defend their position on a particular body of knowledge. Ways to practice this form of communication is through activities such as giving presentations, creating plays, writing brochures and books, and composing music. The possibilities are only limited by the authors’ imagination.


The Benefits Of Music Education

By: Alfred Vorster MYP/DP Music Teacher

Music, often wrongly mistaken to provide students with a break from their busy and challenging timetable has been used since the Greek times for healing, communication, education and mental development. Even before birth we are aware of our mother’s heartbeat and during infancy the language that is being spoken plays a big role in the cognitive development of a child. Every day everybody hears some form of musical pitch or rhythm and it can even be found in nature such as how birds communicate through a song-like speech. Music is a very powerful force and has a number of advantages that can help the students to develop certain skills, skills such as working in teams, communication, self-esteem, creative thinking, calmer attitudes, imagination, discipline, study skills and invention are learnt and improved through the study of music and by focusing on the fact that young children are mostly highly receptive to pitch and rhythm - one of the main ways a child learns its language - that we can drive education in music to children to help them with benefits ranging from success in society to success in life.

raising questions that would allow them to become “active” listeners and to ask themselves; what is it that I am hearing in this song? Or what is it that I am perceiving when I walk in the street? As the great philosopher and composer, John Cage said: “When I listen to music I do not wish to make a distinction between my own past and the past of musical culture, I think what is the most invigorating, for me, is the music that has not yet been written“. This quote being a personal source of inspiration I decided to pass it on to all my students and have them take part in musical composition, with or without any prior knowledge of this wonderful and challenging art. The outcome being very interesting and fulfilling. The following picture shows the grade 8 students at work on their own compositions, making use of graph notation and musical improvisation.

Music is a part of our society and a part of all communities - every human culture uses music to carry forward its ideas and ideals. A study of the arts provides students with an internal glimpse of other cultures and teaches them to be empathetic towards the people of these cultures. This development of compassion and empathy, as opposed to developing greed and a selfish attitude, provides bridges across different cultures that lead to a respect of other races at an early age. How are these skills being introduced to the students at ISW? Since the start of the school year I have made it a personal goal introducing music from all the different periods to my students, giving them a good deal of historical and theoretical information,


ing between 500 B.C. and 1600 A.D. Also here the students had the opportunity to improvise by means of using their compositions as the source of basis. I personally find the process of com-

The following picture shows the grade 9 students working on a more challenging project, the art of music composition in the middle ages. Here the students had to make use of traditional music notation in composing a short piece of music that was inspired by paintings rang-

position combined with improvisation a very challenging but satisfying learning process and the outcome of these projects has proven to me that music can have various beneficial effects on the students and can dramatically improve and enrich everybody. It makes sense to push music education and to allow young generations to gain these wonderful benefits - higher intelligence through increased creative thinking, problem solving and physically stronger brains, a higher perception of life including better attitudes, strong desires to achieve and fulfill and higher self-esteem, better developed discipline, study skills, concentration, communication and team skills which transfer from education through to career and a better understanding of communities and society.

Intercultural Awareness: Celebrating Differences and Combating Problems Together

By: Jonathan Bradley Humanities and Technology Teacher Special Projects Coordinator

This year we are celebrating intercultural awareness as a community and service theme for the school. We believe intercultural awareness is an effort to celebrate and understand the differences that make different populations, groups, and individuals so special in our global community. Intercultural awareness isn’t more than a desire to recognize the uniqueness of communities but to recognize societal problems that affect everyone worldwide and to combat these issues together. To support this effort we have decided to work with two special organizations to promote this effort. Kiva and World Community Grid are two organizations that are working to improve the lives of people all over the world. On the following web pages you’ll find information about both of the organizations. What is Kiva? Kiva’s mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty. Kiva empowers individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe. By combining microfinance with the internet, Kiva is creating a global community of people connected through lending. Kiva was founded on the following beliefs: • People are by nature generous, and will help others if given the opportunity http:// to do so in a transparent, accountable way. • The poor are highly motivated and can be very successful when given an opportunity. • By connecting people we can create relationships beyond financial transactions, and build a global community expressing support and encouragement of one another. Kiva promotes: • Dignity: Kiva encourages partnership relationships as opposed to benefactor relationships. Partnership relationships are characterized by mutual dignity and respect. • Accountability: Loans encourage more accountability than donations where repayment is not expected. • Transparency: The Kiva website is an open platform where communication can flow freely around the world. As of November 2009, Kiva has facilitated over $100 million in loans. The International School Winterthur has been making loans through Kiva to people for over a year now to people all over the world and we’ve lent money to people in eight different countries to help them improve their lives Join the ISW Lending Team! Members of Kiva Lending Teams continue lending as individuals, but they have the option to count each loan they make towards the overall impact of one of their teams. If you are interested, email Jonathan Bradley at and he’ll send you information. It’s easy to do and it will have a meaningful impact on communities all over the world. Join us today!


Millions of personal computers sit idly on desks and in homes worldwide. As they wait, every hour hundreds of people contract and die from infectious diseases. While computer owners run their screen savers, millions die from hunger, or environmental disasters devastate whole communities. What if each of the worlds estimated 1 billion computers could be linked to focus on humanity’s most pressing issues? World Community Grid uses grid technology to establish a permanent, flexible infrastructure that provides researchers with a readily available pool of computational power that can be used to solve problems plaguing humanity. Grid technology joins together many individual computers, creating a large system with massive computational power that far exceeds the power of a few supercomputers. Importantly, World Community Grid is easy and safe to use. To make this vision a reality, International School Winterthur has become a partner of World Community Grid, joining the IBM Corporation and a group of more than 400 companies, associations, foundations, nonprofits, government agencies and academic institutions. International School Winterthur is encouraging members of the community to contribute their idle PC time to assist humanitarian research by joining World Community Grid at and becoming a member of the International School Winterthur team.

To join, individuals should go to and simply download and install a free, small software program on their computers. When idle, your computers request data from World Community Grid’s server. Computers then perform computations using this data, send the results back to the server and prompt it for a new piece of work. “World Community Grid provides our busy members of the community with an efficient and effective way to make a difference on problems that plague humanity,” Rhonda Mott, Director of School, International School Winterthur. “We are asking individuals to join World Community Grid as part of our overall efforts to enrich the lives of our communities.” Today, hundreds of thousand of volunteers around the globe are donating some of the time when their computers are on but not in use, and World Community Grid is harnessing this power to help advance promising humanitarian research projects. Results on critical health issues have already been achieved, demonstrating World Community Grid’s potential to make significant inroads on a great range of future projects that can benefit the world. You can get involved as well! Please contact Jonathan Bradley at, to find out how your company, group or family can help support these two worthwhile organizations. You can start making a difference today. Please go to and become a member today and then join our team. Information for these articles comes from: and


Left and right: Mr. Bradley with the Diploma Program, Creativity Action Service students. Below: Organizations and Individuals that have benefited from KIVA loans. International School Winterthur currently support 13 projects in various countries around the globe. The MANKO solidarity group of Louga, Senegal, consisting of twelve (12) women, was formed on December 14, 2008 at the end of training by the management committee of the Banc Villageois of Touba Seras1, to which the group belongs. The group members are from the same neighborhood and have been working side by side for many years. They are involved in a lot of activities together, including tontines, meetings, etc. This justifies the name chosen for the group, “Manko”, which means UNION. All these women are married with at least three children, and their ages range from 30 to 55. The various activities of the group include livestock fattening, selling firewood and charcoal, processing and selling peanut oil, and small trade. This loan will allow them to stock up on supplies and develop these activities.

Dulamjinhuu Suhbat is 50 years old and lives with her husband and four children in Arhangai province in central Mongolia. She and her family live together in a ger, a traditional Mongolian nomadic housing tent. Her elder three children are university students. Dulamjinhuu operates a dairy production trading business in her town with the help of her husband. She and her family started a dairy production trading business in 1992 and have had success in growing their business. She began her business with the working capital of 150,000 MNT and since it has operated successfully for many years, she has been able to increase it up to 2,000,000 MNT. She has many plans for the future and said, “My only wish is to be able to support my children to be better people in the future”. Dulamjinhuu is requesting a 3,000,000 MNT loan to purchase dairy products for her retail business. Edermira is the coordinator of her group, Camino de Victoria, and her story is representative of her group and of Esperanza’s Haitian and Dominican clients generally (many of whom recently emigrated to the Dominican Republic from Haiti). Edermira’s group is located in the urban slums surrounding Santiago, an area famous for tobacco and beef production, and the second biggest city in the Dominican Republic, where running water (none of which is potable) and electricity are unreliable. She makes her home there in a simple structure being a single mom with three children. Edermira is excited to be taking her first loan with Esperanza to invest in her fried food stand, improving her business and enabling a better quality of life with her children. She plans to use this loan to buy foods like cheese, chicken, flour, oil and some vegetables with which she will make fried food named empanada (made of flour and stuffed with meat, chicken, cheese or vegetables).


Inclusive Education

By: Sakina Fayad Learning Support Teacher

learning eliminates competition hence students work in teams and there is social integration. So how can teachers make inclusiveness happen in their classrooms? The answer is three fold. First, they must understand that students learn differently thus, presentation of teaching should advocate various teaching styles enabling students to learn and participate to their best of abilities. Second, modify assignments when they are too difficult and third, encourage and respect friendships. What encompasses an inclusive classroom? Physical aspects of an inclusive classroom:

What is Inclusion? Inclusive education is a child’s right and not a privilege. It is the humanistic path towards quality life. It is how we learn to live with each other through various trials in our life. When we think of the word inclusion what comes to mind? Togetherness, oneness, bonding, belonging, supporting each other and giving a feeling of happiness. On the other hand, exclusion, which is the opposite of inclusion springs to mind meanings such as segregated, lonely, pushed aside, feelings of anger and unhappiness. What does the word inclusion mean? The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as the act on including or belonging being together from beginning to end. Research tells us that several factors have contributed to the development of inclusive education. These include the fact that segregation and special schools did not improve the students’ academics and


social emotional outcomes, especially for those with mild disabilities. A differentlyabled child does not need to perform at the same level or even behave the same as the other children in the class to benefit from general education. Therefore, schools being the next closest and safest environment for children should advocate and implement inclusive education. Schools that implement inclusion know and require classrooms with an environment that is safe, caring and accepting. The inclusive classroom is a place where all students matter and are engaged in learning. In classrooms, inclusiveness promotes the opportunity for teachers and students to learn about diversity and similarities. It promotes teamwork amongst students which in the long run teaches the students how to cope in an inclusive world and of course with different students with a range of abilities and disabilities in a class, teachers are required to use alternative teaching styles. In classrooms, self-discipline, better social skills, high self-esteem and academic proficiency is visible. Cooperative

•Welcoming classroom; bright and cheerful •Appropriate furniture that is suitable for the appropriate height for the individual student •Classroom temperature is at a comfortable level •Fresh air from windows •Good lights in the classroom •Teachers and students are able to move around easily and safely around the classroom •Resources are clearly labeled and reachable •Appropriate IT equipment; e.g. computers, keyboards, voice recognition software, mouse •Adaptable classroom equipment; e.g. left handed scissors, pencil grips, foot stools Differentiated learning •Teaching for Mastery •Variety of teaching styles for different learning styles in classroom All students participate in class by having their opinions heard •Learning from a variety of experiences and knowledge from the diversity of students •Encouraging students to ask critical

thinking questions of all materials provided. Teachers to model critical thinking questioning. •Teaching materials by connecting it to the lives of students •Students experiences are the forefront of learning

ISW China Exchange Program

By: Sabine Morf Teter Executive Assistant

Teaching materials •Teaching materials must be diverse and make sure that it is not biased or oppressive •Accurate and complete teaching materials from a variety of sources •Recognize students as a source of teaching materials All children belong to their neighborhood schools or mainstream schools where they are with their peers and friends. With appropriate support for teachers in the form of professional development, access to specialists who are there to provide additional assistance and insights, and teaching assistants, we can strive to provide appropriate education for all. Let us not forget the parents who are the greatest advocates for inclusion and hold one of the keys to successful inclusion, the other keys being the teachers, administration and our children.

Did you know... Jonathan Bradley worked for 3 of the Olympic Games- Atlanta, Salt Lake City, and Sydney, and even had the honor of running with the Olympic torch in Sydney. Another cool fact? His brother, Stephen Bradley , is a trumpet/keyboard player and singer in the band No Doubt with Gwen Stefani! Jonas Labhart went to Connecticut when he was 5 years old and was in Kindergarten for 3 months there. He managed to not talk for 3 months at school, but when he returned to Switzerland, spoke his first English phrase,“Please tie my shoes”. Jonas is also a saxaphone player and plays in his own jazz trio, the Dharmalarm Trio, and also in various other bands in Switzerland, as well as a band called ASAP from Paris.

The students with Mrs. Morf Teter and Ms. Xu at Zurich Airport ready to embark on their culturally enriching trip to Shanghai and Suzhou. From March 27 to April 10, 2010 a group of ISW students left for a big adventure to China. The first student exchange program has been launched by Mandarin teacher Mrs. Yunjun Xu and the trip chaperoned by her and myself, Sabine Morf. I would like to share my impressions with you that I noted during these exciting two weeks. The flight to Shanghai was very smooth but led us with no sleep into this foreign world. We were picked up at the airport and brought directly to Suzhou Xujinag Experimental Middle School where we met the students of our guest families. Our students introduced themselves in Mandarin and the local students introduced themselves in English. The welcome was very warm. We could tell that the school was as excited to meet us as we were excited to meet them. All our students received a Chinese-English dictionary as a welcome present. After our first exotic lunch (I’m very impressed how many different dishes

everyone samples and actually likes) we went into the first calligraphy and Chinese painting lesson and the children learned how to paint flowers on bamboo paper using black ink and old traditional brushes. In the following music lesson they practiced the very famous folk song “Jasmine” or in Mandarin: “Mo li hua”. Song Zhuiying in the Vienna Opera House has sung this song. At this point our fatigue caught up with us and everyone was pleased to go along with their host families and find a bed to recover from this first eventful day. In the meantime the students got used to their routine. They accompanied their friends to the morning classes and received special lessons for themselves in the afternoons such as: waist drum, Chinese knots, kung fu, etc. Another afternoon they had a special program and visited the Humble Administrator’s Garden, the largest and most renowned garden in this area. It is listed as a World Cultural Heritage site and has also been designated as one of the Cultural Relics


of National importance under the protection of the State. But most of all it is just very beautiful. It was very cold the first days. The school is very modern but, as customary in China, has no heating system. The families helped us out quickly and brought some additional jackets to the school for our students to wear. The children have an excellent time and they tell us each day about their new experiences. Michael always had a lot of girls around him who would tell him how nice his hair and eyes looked. Jacqueline made her first experience as an English teacher in front of her class. Jeremy supposedly looks like President Obama. Rhiannon took so many pictures that we have to organize a new memory card for her and Diederik was very popular in his class and felt almost like at home there. I have never eaten tastier food or seen a bigger variety of different dishes. From the morning until the evening we are able to sample all these various meals and snacks that Mrs. Xu recommends to us. If it weren’t for her, we wouldn’t know what to order. Instead of giving us detailed information about our meals, Mr. Xu just says, try it. We are positively surprised all the time (O.K. almost - the only time I skipped the meal was when offered shrimp that were still alive. No, thank you.) The week in Suzhou passed incredibly quickly. The Suzhou Middle School organized a final ceremony for us on Friday night. The delicious dinner was followed by different performances of the local people as well as of our students. Everyone enjoyed the last day with their host family and some tears were shed when it was time to say good-bye on Sunday afternoon. However, our minds were quickly occupied with new impressions. Getting on a train with a lot of luggage together with so many other people is not an easy task. The train ride to Shanghai took only about 30 minutes thanks to the very modern railway system around the big cities in China. We had time to check into our hotel before we started exploring progressive Shanghai.


The ISW students at the Xujiang Experimental Middle School. The students had to introduce themselves to their Chinese colleagues in Mandarin, and the Chinese students had to introduce themselves to our students in English.

The subway system is impeccable and transports millions of people every day without any problems. Even for us westerners it is easy to find our way around. We got another glimpse of this forward-looking city when we visited the newly built Shanghai South Railway Station that definitely looked more like an airport than a train station. Nearby we found a nice park where we had lunch and a little rest (and as much nature and fresh air as it gets in Shanghai). Unfortunately, we could only see a few of the Expo buildings and only behind a fence because they were still under construction. More stimulating was the ride with the Shanghai Maglev Train (Shanghai Tran rapid). The magnetic levitation train line achieved a speed of about 430 km/h. It took us 6 minutes to cover the 30.5 km. Our students were able to join some English, German and French classes at the Pudong Foreign Languages School of Shanghai. The PFLS is a boarding school and has currently an enrollment of 1600 students. The evening boat ride opened up the view onto the modern architecture of Shanghai’s lite up skyscrapers. To catch up with the former ISW Stiefel

family was a real blessing. Not only did they accompany us to the Shanghai Zoo but they also invited us for dinner in their residence where we met another former ISW student, Zihan Jiang. It was pleasure to hear how they are doing and it was a pleasure to eat some familiar spaghetti! Another day we toured the Urban Planning Center of Shanghai. This museum has five floors that detail the ambitious plans of Shanghai’s urban planners. Visitors are provided with a glimpse of how Shanghai will look like in a couple of decades. The centerpiece on the third floor is a huge model of the city as it is now. After an adventurous ride through Shanghai by bus and by metro, we reached our last destination of our visit to China: the Oriental Pearl TV Tower. Located in the Pudong Park it is with its 468 m the world’s third tallest tower. Although it was a foggy night, we could catch some glimpses of the busy city before the clouds obstructed our view again.

Above: Two of our students with the host families they stayed with.

Below: On the last day of their stay, Chinese students teach Jacqueline how to wrap Chinese dumplings.

Above: All the students and staff who were involved in the China Exchange Program.

Above: ISW students were given a private Kung Fu lesson at the school in Pudong. Below: Our students were able to experience life as a Chinese student, meeting and talking to all the students, and also having the opportunity to experience some of the beautiful sites of the city of Shanghai, and the province of Suzhou.


Information Overload

By: Anna Klasen Grade 5 Teacher/ Grade 11 English Teacher for ourselves. Too often, like my search for insurance, we immediately want the answers. But typically, we don’t even know our questions. We don’t know what we are looking for. And lastly, once we have found some information, we don’t know what to do with it. Observing students conduct research is like a firework show. They start with a word document, then Google is opened, then minimized, then the online dictionary flashes up, suddenly Wikipedia brightens the space, and all the while, the rhythm is kept steady with their fingers dancing across the keyboard. Within minutes their screen is clouded with images, articles, documents; they are virtually drowning. The availability of information is overwhelming. The awareness of students’ inability to find and then decode information is alarming. Somewhere in the shifting and sorting through the stockpile of information, students often forget to consult their own personal library upstairs.

Information is not knowledge. Albert Einstein As a new resident to Switzerland, I began my investigation into insurance. How did I start my research? I opened up Safari, went to Google, and typed in what I was looking for: Swiss insurance. My answer: 1,070,000 results. And amazingly is only took 0.14 seconds! I click on the first link Switzerland Guide: Public and Private Insurance in Switzerland. That sounds good. I skim through the first couple paragraphs. Most is information I already know. Then, I read: Benefits are identical from all providers, but premiums can vary considerably, so shop around (and have a look at www. (Just Landed, Switzerland). Well, I guess I better shop around. So, then I click on Suddenly, I am filling in my postal code and date of birth. Then, deductible rates and


accident coverage. I check a couple more boxes. And I click continue. Then, 70 offers flash on my screen. Within minutes, I am navigating websites of insurance companies I have never heard of before. I am suddenly light years away from the insurance information page only three clicks back. Research is easy these days. Just type it into Google. Choose one of the first three articles that show up, open it, highlight a couple paragraphs, copy, paste and wha la, answers. The artistic finger positions of control C and then the pasting of control V has come to replace typing our own sentences. Furthermore, the systematic process of clicking through articles has come to unfortunately define the essence of research. We need to reanalyze our approach to finding information. We, teachers, parents, and students, must take back the responsibility to think

What can be done? As educators, we need to be able to enable students to first, define their task. Secondly, we need to teach them how to locate information. Lastly, students must be able to extract the relevant information and organize the information as support to their ideas or arguments. As a 5th grade and 11th grade teacher, I have the advantageous position of seeing both ends of the spectrum. My 11th graders are attempting to use textual evidence to support their argument in a commentary piece while my fifth graders are navigating non-fiction texts attempting to utilize the index and contents page to locate the information needed. Both groups avidly search for the “answers.” In grade 11, students work to develop a strong thesis, an arguable point. They must use textual evidence to support their argument. Too often, their paragraphs are consumed by a quote; the one-line analysis is an afterthought. The

quote should be used to support their argument, their ideas. Instead, their research, finding relevant textual evidence, drives the paper and their analysis takes a backseat. In grade 5, students recently researched Roman and Greek artifacts and systems. Internet research was not allowed for this project in an effort to focus and enable to students to lead the research process versus following the flashy links online. We practiced using non-fiction features such as an index and contents page. Students developed their research questions and identified key words. We highlighted what we wanted to know and how we were going to find information. School-wide, the initiative to develop research methodology has taken root. In the Media Center, Mrs. Gretha Wocke is emphasizing the Big 6: Task Operation, Information Seeking Strategies, Location and Access, Use of Information, Synthesis, and Evaluation. Furthermore, the MYP and DP are using Noodletools: an online resource to synthesize and organization research. Developing a universal program where we use the same language and encourage similar practices is essential is we want to students to eventually independently and successfully engage in research. As a whole, we are working on handling the overload of information; the sheer amount is intoxicating. According to John

Naisbitt, founder of the Urban Research Foundation, “We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge.” Information is no longer just at our fingertips is not only true, it’s frightening. We must recognize the students’ knowledge and find ways to help them grasp and place information. It is imperative that information supports their ideas, furthers their inquires, and builds on their prior knowledge.

Reflecting back on my own insurance research, I felt more overwhelmed then before I began. I had more information and even more questions than I knew what to do with. Putting my computer aside, I pulled out my notebook. I listed what I had before for insurance. I noted the services that I wanted. I wrote the down the companies I knew others had. I recorded what I knew, my knowledge. From there, I wrote questions. “How much is doctor visit?” “What medications are covered?” “What are my payment options?” I identified my knowledge and defined my task ahead.

break apart information and rewrite the newly acquired information in students’ own words. This process has led to several analogies. To begin CHoMPing, we first cross out small words (the, a, also, of, then…), or as the students say, “we spit out the words we don’t need, they have no flavor.” Then we Highlight the important words. Here we are picking out the “meaty” words, the ones we want to keep because they taste good. Then, we observe what we have done so far (pulling back on the reins), than students Make notes on their highlighted words, and lastly Put them back into their own words.

In teaching, we need to pull back the reins on research and steady the pace. Students must also identify their task, where are they heading. All too often, they sprint full force into the web of information and quickly find themselves tangled and stuck. In grade 11, students are dissecting their papers. Highlighting quotes, analysis, and summary in a mirage of colors. They are looking at the placement of their textual evidence. How the does the factual information from the prose support their ideas? They are taking a four-line quote and choosing the most important two or three words to analyze. In essence, we are breaking their research into small, tangible parts that they can mold to support their argument.

In grade 5, we are also dissecting and breaking down the information. This year, we began practicing a method called CHoMP. This is a step-by-step process to

This method allows students to dissect the information, distinguish the relevant information, and lastly mold the information to fit into their language, their understanding. Engaging in this process encourages students to control their research rather than drowning in the presented information. When students were asked what they have learned about research, one student replied, “If I CHoMP up all the information it makes sense to me.” In the end, that is what is important. Information is relevant and applicable for students. As an educator, I will continue to encourage my students to develop their ideas, arguments, and questions first in order to define their task. Furthermore, while information may be at our fingertips, we need to continue to work to find methods to enable students to grasp the information and mold it into a recognizable form.


Is German Day today? By: Gisela Fearns and Sabine Kleine-Hirzel PYP German Teachers After introducing or repeating certain German words – 3 -5 depending on the topic- we ask the students questions like:” Where is red?” or “Can you show me the table?” Some students answer these questions either by using whole German sentences, single German words or showing me pictures with the meaning of the word.

The concept behind the idea of offering German lessons in Early Years is to establish a positive attitude towards language learning as well as to promote language acquisition and literacy education. By reading well-illustrated books and talking about the pictures in them, listening to nursery rhymes, riddles, songs and stories the children who learn German as a second or third language acquire the German phonetic system, a high frequency German vocabulary connected to the units of inquiry as well as simple German sentence patterns. Children whose mother tongue is German are encouraged to speak and use German in order to build up their existing language competence. By singing songs, repeating nursery rhymes and riddles, acting out little scenes the children are encouraged to speak and practice German. We would like to give you a brief example of a German lesson in Early Year 1 and Early Year 2. German lessons in Early Year 1 focus mainly on creating a positive learning atmosphere where the students learn


certain school routines, build up a positive emotional relationship towards the German teachers as well as learning German.

As you can see the students use different strategies to answer my questions. The chosen strategy reflects their level of German as well as their language concepts on certain topics. Language concepts are part of general concepts which children build up to structure their knowledge and understanding about different things, certain topics or the world around them in general. Language concepts consists of the

In comparison to Early Years’ 2 who have their weekly German lessons in one of the German classrooms Early Years’ 1 students stay in their classroom. Though we use the Early Years’ German Program as an example, it must be said that the structure is the same for that of the entire Primary Years’ Program. German lessons are usually divided into three parts: After coming down to the Early Year classroom we start each lesson with a language activity, which attracts the students attention. This activity could be reading a picture book, listening and / or singing a song, playing a game or acting out little dialogues with one or two puppets. We use these activities for introducing or repeating German vocabulary which is connected to a certain unit of inquiry. Most of the students like these activities and usually they listen very carefully and attentively.

ability to listen to a sequence of sounds –a word – learn or recognize it meaning and produce it by speaking it. All language-learning activities in Early Years 1 help the children to build up these language concepts. How fast language concepts are built up depends on the following facts:

1. Proximity of phonetic system When children acquire their mother tongue (first language) they also acquire a certain phonetic system. This system is like a filter. Familiar/ similar sounding sounds can pass it, are recognized and can be produced, unfamiliar sounding sounds are recognized too but have to be learned. During German lessons in Early Year 1, particularly when the children play or speak, they use sequences of sounds including specific German sounds in order to practice them. The ability of young children to learn and produce nearly all sounds they hear enables them to speak a “foreign” language like a native speaker. 2. Proximity of semantics (meaning) It happens sometimes that meanings for words in the first and second/third language are very close to one another. Similar meanings can be transferred and integrated into the language concepts of the second/third language. New meanings have to be learned first before they can be used. 3. Proximity of sentence patterns Again similar sentence structures in the first and second/third language are transferred and integrated into the second/third language, unfamiliar sentence structures need to be learned and practised. This second phase is characterized by formal and structured teaching and last about 10-15 minutes. In the third phase the students play with toys or play games. While they are playing we go around commenting on or asking what they are playing. In this case the teaching is informal and unstructured and gives the students who learn German as a second/third language the possibility to practice what they have learned and get familiar with the German phonetic system. This phase, which is dominated by play and games is also very important for the German native speakers because they can express their thoughts, feelings, problems and build up their German language competence. The third phase ends with cleaning up and saying good- bye.

The students in Early Years’ learn German through various fun activities such as reading stories, learning conversational dialogues, and learning colors through games such as the one shown above. We have five children in Early Year 2, all with different language backgrounds. Since the beginning of the school year they have learnt a lot. At the beginning of every German lesson we greet each other with two songs. While we are singing we made different gestures for some important German phrases e. g.: “Guten Morgen”, “Guten Tag”, “Wer bist du?”, “Bist du ein Junge?”, “Bist due in Mädchen?” Another favorite topic is colors in German. All five of them loved the book “Das kleine Blau und das kleine Gelb” by L. Leonni, which talks about a little yellow and a little blue spot which turned into a green spot when they hug each other. All the other colors are learned through the book “Elmar, der Elefant”. Learning in this age group means a lot of repetition, touching, playing and learning by doing. The social aspect is also very important: to respect each other, to wait for their own turn and to listen. But first of all comes the joy of learning another language and taking the first steps in a playful way. The question:” Is German day today?” asked by a former Early Year student last year shows us that most of the students like to come to the German lessons and really they are very keen to learn the language. We take the positive feedback as a recognition of our work but also as an

incentive to provide our students with good and playful German lessons.

MYP Technology in grades 6,7, and 8

By : Beth Esposito MYP Humanities and Technology

What is MYP Technology? MYP Technology teaches students how to become skillful problem solvers using the Design Cycle. The Design Cycle is a critical thinking, five step process that students use to research, design, plan, create and evaluate a product or solution to a given or self-identified challenge. Using the Design Cycle teaches students how to research using various methods, organize time use and work practices, and the role that ongoing reflection plays in creating products and self improvement. Skills learned in MYP Technology are transferrable to other parts of the Middle Years Programme. For example, the broad research, organization, time management, and citation skills used in MYP Technology are also used in MYP Humanities and science courses. Additionally, MYP Technology additionally exposes students to a methodology that is used to solve a wide range of real-world problems. Design Cycle thinking for example has been used to improve energy efficiency or to create low tech health gadgets. MYP Technology consists of three branches: Information, Materials and Systems. Information is the development of information based products/solutions. Materials is the creation of materials based products/solutions. Systems is the

making of a solution or product with interdependent items performing a task. Students will participate in these branches in MYP Technology. MYP Technology is taught at ISW through the Design and Computer Technology options. Design Technology concerns itself with solving problems with the design cycle and physical materials. Computer Technology consists of solving problems with the design cycle and computer usage. Through both options, students experience the Course aims from IBO MYP Technology Guide: • Developing problem solving and innovative thinking skills through design cycle use; • Developing an appreciation for Technology and its impact on the world; • Using knowledge, skills and techniques from course to create products or solutions of appropriate quality; and • Respecting alternative viewpoints/solutions to problem. MYP Technology projects in grades 6, 7 and 8 Since the start of this school year, grades 6, 7 and 8 have enthusiastically participated in the following projects using the

design cycle. Grade 6: Creating a pop up, (a three-dimensional structure that rises up when a page is opened); Grade 7: creating a container for small item storage; and Grade 8: creating a useful item out of trash. The materials branch of MYP Technology was first introduced to students to get them to understand or review course requirements through diverse methods and experiences. Grade 6 has been very open-minded towards building their knowledge about MYP Technology. Grade 6 has analyzed various pop up products to learn how they were constructed, explored making various pop ups to broaden their understanding of the concept, and observed how certain types of paper supported pop up techniques differently. Students then used this broad knowledge to design and plan a process to create their pop up product. They also became more aware of potential challenges faced when creating the pop up product and the importance of applying alternative solutions when this occurs. Through making pop up prototypes, students learned how important it is to choose the right materials, to organize the work space and the importance of recording observations learned to build a good product. Grade 7 has practiced reviewing the

Design Cycle through identifying a storage challenge in their daily life and making a solution. They have also actively practiced using the Learner Profile (qualities of MYP students) to achieve their best and help each other. They have come up with some very interesting solutions to the challenge- ranging from a hair accessories bag to Lego storage containers for different sized Lego pieces. Grade 7 has exhibited caring and open-minded attitudes whenever extra guidance was offered in design folder documentation or how to work in a safer and organized manner. They have also worked in a principled manner in every design cycle step to date -Investigate Design and Plan. Students have not only exhibited an honest desire to try their best in everything presented; they have also worked collaboratively. Whether it was additional communication on how to achieve something related to the design cycle or reflecting upon one’s work for further improvement when everyone has benefited. It will be very interesting to witness grade 7’s risk taking attitude when creating the product according to plan. Will their product be made exactly according to plan or will unexpected challenges change this? What will the reaction of grade 7 be to this? Will they continue to be risk takers, reflective individuals, thinkers, and good communicators in offering advice to each other? Will their understanding of the learner profile by heightened by such experiences? Based on everything witnessed it is most likely that these will be the outcomes. Whatever happens, the learning that occurred from this first design cycle project will inevitably make the

next design cycle project even a more familiar and solid experience. Grade 8 has independently applied the design cycle to address an environmental issue that confronts us all- trash pollution. All grade 8 students-new and returninghave identified many useful products to create out of trash that is polluting the earth due to ineffective waste disposal methods. A bookcase created from empty pet bottles, a pencil case made out of empty Capri sun packets, shoes designed from pet bottles and other trash, and a transportation toy for elementary school students represent some examples. It has been very exciting since the beginning

of the project to see students independently identify and enact methods to collect trash needed to make their intended products and work very principled on each design cycle step. Equally impressive are the students’ ability to be very knowledgeable in identifying methods in Investigate and Design to create a product that reflects good quality, and their ability to help each other achieve solid work throughout the Design Cycle. Grade 8 students have been admirable risk takers in selecting problems requiring them to learn and use new skills and have been very open minded and engaged about this . It will be great to see the creation and evaluation of these products in the upcoming weeks and their impact on the ISW community.

Did you know... Beth Esposito is the daughter of a famous cook, Maryann Esposito, who has her own show “Ciao Italia” on American Public Television. Is being a good cook genetic? Beth claims to cook a killer Chicken Proscuitto and sage and pumpkin stuffed ravioli. Hania Price is a United States Dressage Federation certified trainer/ instructor (4th level). Despite her very American accent, Hania is actually Swiss! Denise Zeender used to be an aerobics instructor, and it helped her get over her fear of public speaking. I guess standing in front of a class full of people and having to count, give instructions, and motivate, will do that for you! Karen Siber is part of a Comedy Theater troupe called “The IMPROVables”, which is part of Zurich Comedy Club. When she is not acting, she is a sound technician for the club’s productions.

Teaching and Learning with EAL

By: Lori Beerli PYP and MYP EAL Teacher

much I repeat a word, certain students will never pronounce it right. As a result I have gained a greater appreciation when I would encounter foreigners visiting the U.S., realizing what a challenge it is for them to try to speak and be understood by people who are not used to regularly dealing with English language learners.

Ms. Beerli teaching one of her English Additional Language classes (Grade 9 students). Naturally when I tell people I work for International School Winterthur, they ask what I teach and, of course, I tell them I teach English. The correct answer would be to say I teach EAL (English as an Additional Language), however most people would not understand this title, so I go into detail to explain my role, the type of students I teach, and the overall environment at ISW. The usual response is something like, “how cool!” or “sounds nice!” which they are right, it is cool and nice! When teaching my native language to students with a wide age-range, ability-level, and geographical/cultural background, I have the opportunity for great flexibility in what I teach. It is possible to delve into many different subjects for conversational topics which all provide opportunities for practicing English and learning about various cultural norms in English speaking countries. On the other hand, I also learn about various cultural norms and different ways of looking at things from my students. Inevitably when I introduce students to new vocabulary, often I am told the word in their native language, therefore my international vocabulary could greatly expand! In addition, when faced with questions about

various English vocabulary and/or the origin of words, at times I must do some research, therefore I also learn things about my own language that I never knew. I am constantly reminded about the ridiculousness of some of the spelling “rules” in English, as well as our strange pronunciation for various words. (In the novel “Made in America…An Informal History of the English Language” by Bill Bryson the author touches on many historical factors which contribute to our current English vocabulary.) As an EAL teacher it is both challenging and exciting to try making class time and lessons fun and interesting. It takes much creativity to grasp and keep students’ attention. I am constantly challenged in finding new ideas, topics, concepts, and materials. Regardless of the level of difficulty this may pose, it guarantees that my job is never boring or redundant. Likewise it is important for me to continually improve upon the level of patience I have, as would be for any teacher. Working with students to pronounce certain words that are so very different from their native language or pronunciation requires patience, however can be greatly entertaining! At times no matter how

Finally, one of the greatest personal advantages I have from teaching EAL is the ability to put myself into the students’ shoes living in Switzerland trying to learn German. I am aware of how difficult it is to learn a new language and how having someone repeat a word or phrase again and again does not really help in the learning process, repetition is a very small piece to the puzzle of mastering a new language. I develop a larger realization of the bravery it takes to speak a different language and am aware that I have it much easier than our students. For me I am merely learning German because I live here and my husband is Swiss, whereas the students are expected to use English and perform at a certain level in order to succeed in their classes at school. This inevitably will benefit their future aspirations, but being here and having classes in English, for most of them, was not their choice. They have a big responsibility as an ISW student which takes much dedication, courage, and patience from within themselves. As a result my level of compassion for the challenges some of these students face runs very deeply and it is important that we adults, both teachers and parents, acknowledge their difficulties and efforts and remember to take time to say “I know it is not always easy….but you are doing a great job!”

Music education – luxury or necessity? By: Jonas Labhart PYP Music Teacher

cations about experiments such as the Mozart effect, where children’s IQ scores increased after listening to sonatas by Mozart, have spawned both criticism and support for music’s ability to alter intelligence in a positive way.

Your child can call herself/himself lucky to attend a school where music education is deemed such a high value. Along with art, physical education, drama, foreign languages and others music is taught by specialists in their field. As the music teacher for the Primary Years Program, I am very happy to spend the weekly music lesson with the pupils from Early Years to grade five. While I obviously love music and all the related activities, I also see the deeper significance of the curriculum and always keep it in mind while teaching. One could argue that music lessons are an unnecessary luxury. When the children grow up and apply for a job, who inquires into their musical education? Nobody will, yet the questions will be about their Bachelor and Masters Degrees, their prior work experience and the like. But when they are on the job, their obtained degrees will not advance them, but their so called soft skills will. The way one acts socially is of utmost importance also in the pursuit of a happy personal life. Of course those soft skills are indirectly taught in the classrooms every day. However, in music, art, and drama the central topic is not only the flawless execution of a skill but also the feelings that are attached to it. All those subjects directly relate to those feelings that are at the center of the traits that make us human. Whereas in other subjects the feelings must be put

aside, and here they are a central part while solving a problem in music. I pay close attention that the balance between work in groups, in pairs and in singles is guaranteed, so the children learn to be themselves in all those situations. But just pointing at the benefits in the soft skills would be the easy way out. In the past years, there has been a growth of scientific interest about musical education and the influence of music on children. Neurologists are constantly researching the effects that music has on the human brain and the question of whether music makes children more intelligent. Publi-

On this field, intensive research is done, and there are approved results about the stimulation and linking of brain regions that function as key areas when engaging oneself in music. That is why at ISWinterthur, the first instrument, the recorder, is taught to all students from the beginning of grade three. At that time, the recorder becomes the link between the weekly music lessons. Between the lessons, the benefit of music and especially the execution thereof is carried home and gets solidified in the daily practice routine. Since the recorder is not the only focus, five to ten minutes of daily practice should suffice and bring the joy and satisfaction of music to the homework in math, language and science. Therefore music education is not a luxury but a necessity. Music is only a small part of the whole curriculum, but only an education diverse in subjects will further your child’s ability to flourish in this world.

WorldFest 2010

Spirit Day 2010

International School Winterthur, Zum Park 5, CH-8404 Winterthur Tel: +41(0) 52 269 59 00 Fax: +41 (0) 52 269 59 02 Email: Web: Design and Layout by: Candice Olgun

Horizons November 2010  

The Bi-Annual Magazine of the International School Winterthur

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