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Why Does the Teaching Method of an International School Differ from a National One?

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Since the beginning of the previous decade, the ‘craze’ behind international schools has been increasing eminently. And sitting in 2023, it feels like almost everyone is getting admitted in a multinational school for one reason or another. But, what is the reason behind it?

As a parent, whose daughter’s currently studying in an international school, I can confirm that the teaching method is a large part of it. Let me explain a little more. 

International School: The Exclusivity in Teaching Methods

The teaching methods of international schools generally differ from those of national or local schools due to a variety of factors including the school’s –

  • Mission, 
  • Curriculum, 
  • Student demographics, and 
  • Overall educational philosophy

Let’s keep reading to know more about these. 

1: Diverse Student Body

International schools often have a more diverse student population, consisting of students from different countries, cultures, and linguistic backgrounds. This diversity necessitates teaching methods that are inclusive and adaptable to various learning styles and needs.

Furthermore, the international schools also offer education to almost anyone from any kind of background. This, in turn, makes the diversity in educational approach more necessary.

2: Global Curriculum

International schools tend to adopt international curricula like the International Baccalaureate (IB) or Cambridge International Examinations. 

These curricula emphasise on critical thinking, inquiry-based learning, and a much broader understanding of global issues, which can lead to different teaching approaches.

Also, due to the change in curriculum, the pace of teaching is also slowed considering how an individual is adapting to it. So, that might change the teaching approach as well. 

3: Language of Instruction

In many international schools, the language of instruction might not be the local language. It can impact teaching methods as an educator needs to support language development alongside the aspect of subject matter learning. 

Differentiated instruction and language support strategies also become more important in this context, which, in turn, might change the learning methods. 

4: Cultural Sensitivity

International schools need to be sensitive to the diverse cultural backgrounds of their students. So, the teaching methods might need to be adjusted to respect and incorporate various cultural perspectives, values, and communication styles.

The issue of cultural sensitivity is exuberantly followed by the more welcoming countries like the USA and Singapore. But, it’s a common thing in almost every international school.

5: Flexible Approaches

International schools often have more flexibility in shaping their curriculum and teaching methods. It will allow the centre to incorporate innovative teaching practices, interdisciplinary approaches, and the integration of technology more readily than anything else. 

Besides, as we’ve said before, most of the international schools also provide a slower teaching and learning approach 

6: Global Skills Emphasis

Many international schools prioritise the development of skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, collaboration, and cultural awareness. 

Teaching methods are often designed to foster these skills through project-based learning, experiential activities, and real-world applications.

7: Parent Expectations

Parents who enrol their children in international schools might have different expectations for education, seeking a more holistic and globally oriented approach. 

It’ll influence the teaching methods employed by the educational centre to meet and get to these expectations. In case you want to know more about these, make sure to talk to the centre at the earliest. They can help you understand the situation better.

8: Professional Development

Teachers in international schools often have opportunities for professional development that expose them to a wider range of pedagogical approaches, global education trends, and best practices from various educational systems. This can result in a more dynamic and evolving teaching methodology.

9: Adapting to Transitions

International schools often cater to expatriate families who might move frequently. Teaching methods may need to be adaptable to help students transition smoothly between different educational systems and cultures.

10: Resource Availability

Depending on the location and funding, international schools might have access to different educational resources, technologies, and teaching tools, allowing them to implement methods that leverage these resources effectively.

The Bottom Line

It’s important to note that while there are these general trends, there can still be significant variation among both international and national schools. 

Teaching methods are ultimately shaped by a combination of educational philosophy, student needs, available resources, and the overall goals of the institution.

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