We teach students to learn
How to Learn
The International School of Santo Domingo subscribes to a way of teaching and classroom planning based on studies of how children learn. At the International School, language and math skills are taught through the areas of social studies, science, literature and humanities. In our classrooms children learn to read, write, listen, talk, and think while involved in a wide variety of learning experiences.
Children are learning how to learn. Children participate in drama, role-playing, research and other experiences that give them tools for life-long learning. Children learn how to ask questions, select topics, find materials, read, write, interview, share and present as they focus on science, social studies and literature themes. At the International School, students are evaluated on their growth as learners as well as on their written projects or oral presentations.
The best learning experiences are those that are meaningful to the child. Learning experiences such as letter writing, storytelling, field trips, interviews, reading fiction and non-fiction books, and drama help children to construct meaning and understand the world around them. Even beginning readers can start with signs or familiar stories. Language skills are easy to learn when the focus is on making sense.
Children must be allowed to grow at their own pace. Mistakes are a part of the learning process. For example, as children become writers they “invent” spelling and punctuation rules. These invented spellings reflect the child’s learning. Teachers look for growth rather than perfection.
Hands on activities and projects provide the bases for learning and provide many opportunities for reading, writing, talking, calculating and thinking. For example, science experiments allow children to see and understand science concepts. A classroom store teaches economics and provides practice with math and language. Paper and pencil activities can’t replace first hand experiences.
Teachers develop their classroom curriculum based on their understanding of children and how children learn. Activities grow out of the particular interests and needs of each class group and child. Children have choices and are encouraged to express themselves in discussion, writing, and other creative media. Children are helped to select materials, plan activities, and organize their time so that they become self-motivated learners with a lasting thirst for knowledge.
Adults use language to get what we want, find things out, share with others, and express our thoughts and feelings. Children will read and write when they have a reason to read and write: to remember things, to give reports, to enjoy a good book, or to say thank you to someone who lives far away. Learning experiences in our classrooms have a real-world purpose.
A child’s view of himself is extremely important to success in school. Learning experiences that are successful and enjoyable give children confidence that they can learn, and encourage them to become active learners. Teachers observe and evaluate children to learn about their background and interests. Class experiences build on the child’s strengths, rather than focusing on the child’s weaknesses.
Children learn more when they talk and share with others. Classrooms are often noisy as children work on a variety of projects. Children are grouped in many different ways so that they may share their unique talents and view points.