Tag Archives: IB

TOP 10: Ways the IB Programme Helps Students Flourish

With the new school year underway, we asked some of our faculty members how the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP) and Diploma Programme enable our students to reach their full potential.

According to our faculty members, here are the top 10 ways the IB Programme helps students flourish:

  1. Equips Students with the Tools to Learn

Students learn more than facts and figures; they learn the tools to apply them to real world situations.

  1. Helps Them Discover Their Passions

Students are challenged to discover their own passions, while exploring the opportunities each may uncover.

  1. Teaches Communication Skills

Students discover how to better communicate and understand themselves, their peers and the world around them.

  1. Instills Global-mindedness

The IB Programme teaches students global-mindedness; it teaches them to not only be open to other perspectives, but to embrace global worldviews. This helps to develop empathy and caring, and ultimately, it helps students become good global citizens.

  1. Teaches Students to Think Critically

The IB is a remarkable programme that encourages students to think critically about the world in which we live and challenges them to think about the larger picture.

  1. Encourages Students to Take Risks

The programme encourages students to become risk-takers and inquirers.

  1. Teaches Lifelong Skills

The IB Programme helps our students flourish, teaches them resilience and team work and, most importantly, teaches them about humanity.

Prepares Students for Their Educational Journey

Although the programme can be challenging at times, it is a fantastic preparation for post-secondary education.

  1. Creates a Personalized Education

With a focus on student-centered learning, the IB allows for richer experiences in education. In the MYP, through the Personal Project, students can learn more about topics that are relevant and interesting to them. This leads to greater engagement in the learning process and is highly rewarding from a student perspective.

  1. Opens Opportunities for Faculty

Teachers can also open many doors to learning through the IB Programme, through IB professional development. This allows our teachers to continue to grow and provide students with the best learning experience.

 

Adding Grit To A Positive Education

One of the advantages of a Ridley education is that the experience of being a student is about more than passing tests and meeting standards. In recent years, researchers have identified predictors of success as well as keys to living a satisfying, happy life and this is something our school consciously enacts.

At Ridley, we are infusing the best of this research – centred on grit and flow – into a Ridley education to help instill in our students the lifelong habits they need to flourish in our global community.

The concept of grit is one aspect of Positive Education that Ridley has incorporated into school culture. Grit is defined as the tendency of a person to sustain interest and effort in pursuing long-term goals. Grit allows people to pursue challenges over the course of years.

In her groundbreaking research, Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth, University of Pennsylvania Professor of Psychology and MacArthur Foundation Genius Fellow, determined that passion, perseverance, and stamina outweigh IQ as a predictor of success. In other words, grit is the key to lifelong success.

“Educational policy has not yet taken adequate note of the whole child. Kids are not just their IQ or standardized test scores. It matters whether or not they show up, how hard they work,” says Duckworth, in an interview with the Washington Post. Duckworth has advised the White House, the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams, and Fortune 500 CEOs.

Ridley encourages students to discover and pursue their passions and equips them with the capacity and determination to persevere through challenges, risk failure, and develop grit and resilience, while creating a supportive culture that allows students to face adversity in a positive and engaging environment. Accomplishment and engagement are essential elements of a flourishing life, and both can be fostered through conscious effort, grit is a fundamental element for achievement.

“The importance of the environment is two-fold. It’s not just that you need opportunity in order to benefit from grit. It’s also that the environments our children grow up in profoundly influence their grit and every other aspect of their character.”     – Angela Duckworth

Duckworth’s research began by searching for an answer as to why some people succeed while others do not. Being ‘gritty’ means consciously deciding to push forward in the face of adversity, failure, and physical or emotional pain, without knowing when the adversity will be over.

“One way to think about grit is to consider what grit isn’t,” explains Duckworth. “Grit isn’t talent. Grit isn’t luck. Grit isn’t how intensely, for the moment, you want something.”

Self-control and grit are often confused, says Duckworth in her research, while they are related there are key differences. Grit allows people to pursue challenges over the course of years, while self-control, helps to maintain focus, in the face of distraction, in the pursuit of those goals.

The concept of grit has been around for some time. In 1889, the year Ridley was founded, Dr. Francis Galton reviewed the biographies of eminent individuals, throughout history and concluded that success resulted from intellect combined with “zeal” and the “capacity for hard labour”. The modern study of grit continues in examining single-minded perseverance over the very long-term.

“I believe grit will for many adolescents be more evident in activities pursued outside of the classroom–in the school play, on the football field, in the school orchestra, in community service, and so on.” – Angela Duckworth

At Ridley we are empowering our students to do more themselves, by increasing opportunities for Ridleians to play an active role in their school communities so that they can gain the necessary habits, skills, and practice to lay the foundation for flourishing lives.

Ridley strives to be at the forefront of educational development to ensure our students become successful members of the global community. Ridley will continue to review the latest research in education for new ideas to ensure we are a leader and innovator in molding the minds and lives of our students.

Ridley Exploring Mindfulness as Part of a Positive Education

Ridley strives to be at the forefront of educational development, to ensure our students become successful members of the global community. For this reason, our school was an early adopter amongst independent schools, embracing positive education as a fundamental approach to learning.

Being on the leading edge of positive education means continuing to explore new ideas and research as it becomes available. This semester, the students of Lower School have been part of a pilot programme to evaluate the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation on students. The programme developed by Jacqueline Oscvirk, creator of The Mindful Family, involves students from Kindergarten to Grade 8 practicing mindfulness twice weekly.

Mindfulness meditation focuses the human brain on what is being sensed at each moment, instead of the past or future. It is a way to calm the mind and develop clarity, calmness, empathy, and positivity.

Within educational systems, mindfulness has shown an improvement in students’ attention and focus, emotional regulation, creativity, as well as problem solving skills. Studies have shown youth benefit from learning mindfulness, in terms of improved cognitive outcomes, social-emotional skills, and well-being. These benefits may lead to long-term improvements in life.

“Our intention is to equip all of our Lower School students with the tools to overcome everyday challenges.” – Hanna Kidd, Lower School Counsellor

There is substantial evidence that skills which increase resilience, positive emotion, engagement, and meaning can be taught to school children. In this way, without compromising either, Ridley teaches both the skills of well-being and the skills of achievement.

“It’s another tool for teachers to use,” says Hanna Kidd. The Grade 7 and 8 students will begin their mindfulness training in early April, with the goal of using mindfulness to help reduce stress and anxiety as they prepare for exams.

Ridley is incorporating the latest research in positive education from around the world. Discoveries such as gritthe ability to persevere through challengesby Dr. Angela Duckworth, and flowthe ability to become immersed in a challenging taskby Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, have already been added. Based on this science, Ridley equips students to deal with the daily demands of life and learning by creating an environment that:

• Generates positive emotions
• Practices mindfulness
• Builds on strengths not deficits
• Models grit and resilience
• Nurtures positive relationships
• Encourages goal setting and accomplishments
• Fuels our vitality

Ridley students are empowered to embrace their individuality, develop who they are, strive for who they will be, and define the lives they will lead. They develop the intellectual, physical, emotional, and social skills needed to succeed. They are inspired to acquire the knowledge, explore the truths, and nurture the values that will allow them to lead flourishing lives.

Get to Know Your Prefects: David X. ’17

Introducing David Xue ’17 – a Prefect who discovered what it means Screen Shot 2016-10-05 at 10.08.16 AMto become a global citizen. Hear how he adapted to life abroad, and discovered comfort, confidence and culture within the Marriott Gates.

Why did you choose Ridley?

I chose Ridley because of its size. I am talking about the perspectives of cultural diversity, the physical size of the school and its open-mindedness to connect to the global society. This year alone, Ridley welcomed students from more than 44 countries, which is a perfect opportunity for us students to interchange our cultural practices and get comfortable with becoming a global citizen. On top of the rare cultural diversity offered by Ridley, the school itself is 90-acres, which is spacious and gives plenty of choices for sports, activities and scientific research. Lastly, Ridley’s mindset is in line with what I am looking for; the motto is “may I be consumed in service”. I have always been looking for the connection between Chinese culture and western culture; through the humbleness of the motto, I have found the commonness.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

Of course I felt prepared coming to Ridley! Although it was quite scary to think of coming to an English-speaking country for the first time in Grade seven, I managed to watch all of the ‘Harry Potter’ movies and five seasons of ‘Friends’ during the summer of 2011 in preparation…I would say if you are an international student, definitely try to get a good grip on English conversations before coming to face the academic demands. However, there is no need to panic; the students and faculty here are very friendly and are more than happy to help us through the bottleneck of overcoming the difficulties of the language.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

To me, every single faculty member I know is unique, and very important. Mr. Hutton, Mr. Bett and Mr. Jones are my parents abroad and keep me safe. My teachers are absolutely experts at every subject and are awesome friends that I know I could feel comfortable talking to whenever I encounter an obstacle. The nurses and sewing room members keep me healthy and classy, respectively. Therefore, I am equally thankful to every single one of them.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

As an international student, my greatest challenge at Ridley was stepping out of my comfort zone and blending into the Canadian culture. The difficulty in language was minor; it was the decision of whether or not leaving the herd of Chinese speaking students, step into western culture and make friends from other countries, the most challenging. I have to admit that it was a hard time in the beginning; most of the times I did not understand what my peers were talking about. However, I soon adjusted myself to learn things my Canadian friends would be interested in and had made myself a part of the international community. I would say that the decision I made five years ago was absolutely beneficial to my global perspective.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

My greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley would be the appointment as a Prefect. At Ridley, being a Prefect requires high academic performances, the trust from the student body and faculty, and the ability to be highly responsible. I am grateful that Ridley has gradually shaped me into a person that is seeking knowledge and willing to contribute. Therefore, I think prefectship is just a reflection of the cumulative efforts I have made from my five years of experiences here.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favorite Ridley experience has been joining and enjoying the competitive sports programme. I have been lucky to have played so many sports that I would have never had a chance to play before, such as softball, rugby, basketball and soccer. Not only was I able to play with my fellow peers, but the athletic department would always organize road trips to schools in the province and we were able to compete against them… I think to some extent, the sports programme at Ridley has created a bond between us and the school; it gives us a sense of pride. Thus, I enjoy and will never forget the experience of playing competitive sports at Ridley.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favourite part of Ridley life is knowing that I can put my head on the pillow at the end of the day and feel safe. At Ridley, any adult is approachable and is there to support us. When we experience homesickness or illness, the Head of House’s door is always open for us. Whether it was Ms. Thacker driving you to the health centre at 3:00 in the morning, or Mr. Jones trying to console you after a breakup, Ridley is a place that any of us could open ourselves up and it is guaranteed that we will be supported. Ridley is my second home.

What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for?

I am most excited for planning the future activities for the student body. The Prefect team this year is dedicated to focusing on student lives, and I am very excited about the upcoming events, such as Saturday activities, house competitions and semi-formal dances.

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How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Well, I have to say, basically in every way. Academically, the full IB programme challenges me to take risks and step up to become a global citizen. Athletically, Ridley reminds me to always keep myself fit and maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the rest of my life. Aesthetically, Ridley gives me opportunities to take on several musical instruments and provides me abundant art supplies to express myself in the universal language. Lastly, the faculty members act as role models and always keep me positive, which I will do the same to others in the future.

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan to pursue further education from a university in the United States. I am glad that the guidance counsellers are experts at Ridley, to help me through the difficult process. I would like to pursue my degree in either architecture, law or chemistry because I am absolutely excited about chemical reactions, designing buildings and defending a case.

On top of that, I will keep playing the violin because it has become my companion during my time of homesickness.

Although Ridley has given me a breathtakingly fresh and exciting experience, I also had some times of hardship. First and foremost, homesickness… So I found a place to heal my homesickness – the basement of the Second Century Building, where I could play the violin. There, I enjoyed playing music, because not only the sound of music brought me happiness, but also it became a friend to me. From then, I knew that I could always retreat from the fast pace school environment to slow down and balance myself with healing music. This helped me to overcome another obstacle – stress… When things are overwhelming, I just clear my mind and play music for an hour. Trust me, after concentrating in my violin piece, the overwhelming assignments did not seem impossible anymore! Of course, music is only one of the ways that could help you through your difficulties here at Ridley. There are many other options such as painting, filming, and meditation club that you could enjoy in order to feel the flow and find your centre.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

I would say definitely seize every opportunity you can, because Ridley provides us privileges that other schools do not offer.

Get to Know Your Prefects – Helen W. ‘17

Introducing Helen Wang ’17 – a Prefect from China,  who discoveredScreen Shot 2016-09-21 at 10.51.24 AM her skills and strengths during her time at Ridley. Read how she stepped out of her comfort zone and began to flourish. 

Why did you choose Ridley?

I first discovered Ridley when I did research on school choices near Toronto. Ridley College popped up and it obviously attracted my attention with its goal of providing a balanced student life. The appearance of the school is a bonus. There were many other reasons I chose Ridley, and it is certain that I chose it because I liked it.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

It is hard to say if you are prepared or not, when you are stepping out of your comfort zone. However, the choice was my own choice, so I wasn’t feeling unprepared in accepting new culture but I was feeling nervous, for sure.

Who is your favorite faculty member and why?

My favorite faculty member is Mr. Gordon. Mr. Gordon taught me German in Grade 9 and my International Baccalaureate course, and Spanish in Grade 10. His attitude towards learning and teaching is always very positive and encouraging, so much that he brings out my interest in studying foreign languages. Due to his unique style of teaching, I did not feel overwhelmed about learning another two languages, on top of learning English, but rather, I survived pretty well during the past three years.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

I would say managing time. Although I am very confident in time management, my schedule is busy enough that there will always be a time when I forgot to do something (for example this Prefect Profile). Every one lives a full life at Ridley, and school life certainly trains us to manage our schedule and goals. The gain is generous, but we definitely need to first survive a busy school life.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

Becoming Prefect is an accomplishment, but my improvement in English is the greatest one… I took the challenge and I knew I had to be more open to new ways of learning here in Canada, and now, I am the top three in IB English learning. I can see my development thus far and I cherished it.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

I would say travelling overseas for a Habitat for Humanity trip with my schoolmates… Friendships were also made very easily during these trips, and who wouldn’t be willing to help those families.

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What is your favorite part of Ridley life?

Although the school has planned most of your schedule, you still get chances to add your own interests. There are lots of extracurricular activities at Ridley that students can be a part of, and many courses allow you to form deeper connections, that not only help build a successful school life but also a more successful career when we enter society (ex. CAS project).

What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for?

To be a part of school activity planning! I’ve always wanted to be a part of the school year decision making, and I am so excited that now I can take the responsibility of it.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

It taught me many skills in life; it especially changed my mind about grades being everything and the only goal is to have a higher grade. I know that athletics are equally as important and my self-recognition and intellectual development is also important.

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan to go to the U.S. for university – an Ivy League school is my goal. I am also planning a one-month long trip or even longer after my graduation to travel around the world; experiencing different cultures, and enjoying some final relaxation before getting into the competitive university life.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

Don’t ever be afraid of new stuff, because you can never stop learning at Ridley. If you can’t change the environment, the environment will change you, and you definitely are and will be better than you think. Finally, “You don’t have to be good to start, but you have to start to be good”

Ridley’s Unique Playscape Supports Physical Literacy Goals

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Ridley’s all-natural playscape, which officially opened in late 2015, is at the forefront of physical literacy promotion by encouraging creative play, risky behaviours and fundamental movement skills, prescribed in Sport Canada’s Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) plan.

The concept of physical literacy came to Ridley College through Brock University and Dr. James Mandigo and it has long been promoted by Sport Canada and Sport for Life. Physical literacy is the mastering of fundamental movement skills, such as running, skipping, jumping and throwing. In practice, varying sets of skills are introduced to children at appropriate ages and stages of development. For years, Ridley has drawn upon leading physiological and psychological research on the topic to promote physical literacy; which is also pivotal in mental and social development.

Since this model was introduced at Ridley, our competitive sports programmes have experienced phenomenal success, while Lower School physical literacy programmes have been implemented to improve overall fitness, health and well-being through increased active play. This paradigm helps students develop a lasting relationship with physical activity and better prepares student athletes for successful long term athletic careers. Active play, of which our younger students enjoy three times a day for 20 minutes, has also been linked to notable cognitive function and development.

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The all-natural playscape – which was a part of the 2014-2015 annual giving campaign – is a very tangible example of how Ridley is maintaining its leading edge on physical literacy promotion in independent schools. The idea for the playscape was born from students’ International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) Exhibition projects and Ridley decided that a unique, topographical landscape with obscure apparatuses would be the ideal way to encourage active play and reach school-wide physical literacy goals. The playscape creates a far more engaging and creative experience than the traditional, manufactured playgrounds and also enacts our objective to be more environmentally conscious.

“Our challenge was to create a Lower School playground that encouraged more open-ended and creative play, while at the same time, promoting a connection with nature.”

– Mrs. Hanna Kidd

Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds, a Canadian playground designer and builder, brought forward the perfect solution – a playground constructed of all-natural elements, that could be designed to fit the needs of the students. Founded in 1982 by Adam Bienenstock, Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds aims to bring nature back into the lives of children, so that they can develop an appreciation for the environment, while engaging in active play.

“Over time, somehow what we thought was fun disappeared from kids’ lives. Their roam rates dropped right down, their world got smaller and their screens got bigger, and the need for this [type of playscape] grew.”

– Mr. Adam Bienenstock, CEO and Founder of Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds

It was clear that Bienenstock’s values aligned with Ridley’s, and the common goal of educating students on the importance of environmental conservation made for the perfect fit. After consulting with Bienenstock and receiving input from Ridley’s faculty, staff and students, the Playscape construction officially begun. Ridley was able to select playground elements that would challenge the students, encourage curiosity and creative thinking and be utilized at each age and stage of development.

The Playscape officially opened in December of 2015, but has since grown and has already become the perfect place for students to have fun, get active and even relax. It currently includes a number of large elements, such as a tree fort with a rope bridge, a rock climbing wall, a multipurpose amphitheater (outdoor classroom) and gaga ball court, tunnels, log clusters, a barrel swing, a willow dome and a sand area that includes a water feature and slides. As time passes, Ridley hopes to add several new elements, while the current elements continue to grow and evolve.

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According to Lower School faculty, instances of playground conflict have dramatically decreased with the opening of the new Playscape and the Athletics Department has already observed instances of creative play, risky behaviours and fundamental movement skills – elements that are viewed as positive markers in physical literacy studies.

The Playscape offers the perfect place for our younger students to have daily physical activity, while exploring movement and improving their social and emotional well-being. “The natural playscape will continue to help our students develop an appreciation, curiosity and respect for their world, leading to better physical and mental health.” – Mrs. Hanna Kidd

This Playscape was made possible with the support of generous donors. It is with this continued support that will Ridley be able to grow our school’s arts, academics and athletics programmes, and continue to provide students with the opportunities and tools necessary to live flourishing lives.

THE NATIONAL POST: REPORT ON PRIVATE SCHOOLS, June 4th, 2016

Ridley College earns a rare scholastic distinction

Iris Winston

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Ridley College, already one of the best-known independent boarding schools in Canada, now has a prestigious new designation.

Early this year, Ridley became an International Baccalaureate (IB) continuum school. It is the only boarding school in the country to have achieved this distinction and one of just 15 schools across Canada to offer the world-class international programme. Only two other independent boarding schools in North America offer IB continuum programming.

Founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1968, the International Baccalaureate Organization is a non-profit educational foundation that offers “highly respected programmes of international education that develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills needed to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world. Schools must be authorized, by the IB organization, to offer any of the programmes. Schools usually develop the IB continuum over time, adding programmes as the school grows.”

“Ridley has been on a six-year journey with IB,” says Ridley’s headmaster Ed Kidd, who returned to Canada to take the position with Ridley four years ago after 14 years at the Shanghai American School, where he was also involved with and taught the IB programmes.

Developed for students from three to 19 years of age, the IB framework comprises three segments: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), and the Diploma Programme (DP). Holistic in style, they all encourage individual learning styles, open communication and compassion, as well as cognitive development and international thinking.

Ridley has run the PYP and DP programmes for the last five years. It was certified for the MYP programme earlier this year, completing the rare designation as an IB continuum school.

The PYP, designed for students aged three to 12, focuses on encouraging inquiring minds, inside and outside the classroom. Using an inter-disciplinary approach, the PYP focuses on teaching students to see the connections between subject areas.

The MYP, designed for students aged 11 to 16, focuses on intellectual challenge and encouraging students to become creative, critical and reflective thinkers. It aims to foster skills for communication, intercultural understanding and global engagement, crucial for success in the 21st century.

The Diploma Programme is for students ages 16 to 19 and focuses on intellectual breadth and depth. Through all three programmes, students are challenged to excel in intellectual curiosity and development, personal growth, empathy and high ethical standards, while working through a broad curriculum. As described in the background material, the aim is to develop “internationally minded people with a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond intellectual development and academic success.” This leads to greater success at the post-secondary level and eventually in the students’ professional lives.

“IB is meant to teach students how to think from a very young age,” says Kidd. “Rather than a curriculum — although we are still using the Ontario K to 12 curriculum and offer an optional Ontario Secondary School Diploma — it is an approach to learning, a pedagogical philosophy that incorporates the best of 21st-century education.”

He describes IB as “student-centred, inquiry-based, inter-disciplinary and international,” noting “it brings the world and global-mindedness and global competency into the curriculum.”

Kidd points out that every aspect of the IB approach, which is “founded on taking action and service to others,” is in line with the philosophy and internationalism of Ridley College.

“We have Canadians from all over the country and a long history of bringing students from around the world to the school. Currently, 44 different countries are represented. The IB philosophy also fits in with our commitment to service.” The Ridley College motto is Terar dum prosim  (May I be consumed in service.)

Most of all, he says, “it’s good teaching. The IB framework makes learning a rich and rigorous experience. We’ve adopted a world-class approach to teaching and learning that allows us to prepare students from around the world for living in an increasingly global society.”

All this augurs well for the future success of IB students. Their training places them at the forefront in their post-secondary studies, as well as putting them ahead in the selection process at top universities around the world.

Established in 1889 as a boys’ school, and co-educational since 1973, Ridley is one of the oldest and most prestigious independent schools in Canada. From the beginning, Ridley, which is located on an attractive 90-acre campus in the Niagara region, has combined high academic standards, a wide range of extra-curricular activities, a service commitment and internationalism.

This story was produced by Postmedia Content Works on behalf of Ridley College for commercial purposes. Postmedia’s editorial departments had no involvement in the creation of this content.