PYP Students Promoting an International Mindedness by Collaborating through Skype
“The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect” (IBO Misssion Statement)
My PYP 5 students sat down on the carpet and waved to themselves on the SMART board screen as I set up the web camera.
That was not the first time for them to Skype with new friends from Australia, we had one Skype session with other school before, but it was obvious that they had not lost their enthusiasm and excitement. Having a Skype chat with other students from different countries had always been a much awaited event for them. And at that moment last week, they were about to have one with year 6 students from Mount Scopus Memorial College Smorgon Family Primary School, Melbourne, Australia.
A message flashed at the bottom of the screen indicating the caller was ready. Students went quiet as they heard I answered the call. It was Hailey, my teaching pal from Melbourne teaching year 6. Her class was inquiring into interconnectedness , and that’s the reason she wanted to give her students the experience of getting connected to other students from other parts of the world.
When Hailey’s students appeared on the screen, I could see the big smiley faces and enthusiastic eyes of my students. Most of them were amazed with their new friends being there on the SMART Board screen. They loved to see themselves on the screen, too.
We started the Skype session by introducing ourselves. It was an awkward first five minute because some of them were shy to speak up. But the conversation began to be more engaging when the students asked each other questions about their lives. They talked about many things; their school, their families, and their hobbies.
“How do you go to school?” asked one of my students. Then, the Australian student said most of them go to school by school bus and some of them go to school by car. My students were amazed and told me they wanted a school bus at our school.
A new thing that my students found out that there are 2000 students in their school in Melbourne and most of them are Jewish. That’s why some of the boys wore hats to cover their heads. We found out that it’s called a kippa. A kippa is a head covering that Jewish males wear to show respect for God– my students found the fact interesting. They said it’s similar to what Moslem females usually wear- jilbab or hijab.
Then it led to a wider topic about the world issues.
“What would you do if you could change the world? What’s your most likely unfairness?” asked one of the students from Melbourne.
Many responses came from my students to respond the questions. They said they wanted a better world where there is no conflict, no pollution, no poverty and no crime. They said that unfairness happens in many different aspects of life such as hunger, poverty, conflicts in Gaza. Some of the students said that bullying is also one of the examples of unfairness.
In the end of the Skype chat, the students from both schools found out that despite the differences, they have got many commonalities. They both love playing games in a computer, doing sports, and making new friends. We need to celebrate the similarities and differences that we have, not making it as an excuse to create a conflict.
We ended the Skype after having a 45 minutes of rewarding chat. We were waving hands to them and saying thank you and hoping to have more opportunities to connect and collaborate in the future.
After the Skype chat, we did a reflection in the class on what things ran well and how to improve our Skype session to be better organized next time.
I feel great knowing my students were very excited and engaging during the Skype session. I am happy to bring the world into our classroom and provide an opportunity for students to get connected to other students from other countries in the world. This Skype collaboration is only one of examples of many ways to promote an international mindedness in our school.
It is expected that our students in the future will achieve a greater chance at being successful in the globalized and interconnected world they will live and work in.
- Flat Classroom Part #2: A Skype Chat with New Friends from Melbourne (tantrialmira.wordpress.com)
- #Flat Classroom Part 1: A Skype Chat with an International School in Australia (tantrialmira.wordpress.com)
- #flatclassroom: A Skype Session with an International School in Australia (tantrialmira.wordpress.com)
- The Power of Teaching Others (piedpyper.wordpress.com)
- International Baccalaureate: A step forward in education? (dawn.com)
- Mystery Skype!:Connecting Our Classrooms One Skype at a Time! (oldschoolteach.wordpress.com)
- How Teachers Use Skype in the Classroom (techland.time.com)