Page 13 - FIS World October 2018
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where they aren't feeling challenged by the FIS curriculum. And we support all kinds of after school clubs, related to and outside of curricular subjects, like eSports or acrobatics. We want students to feel that if they have a passion, they can also develop it at FIS.”
Mr. Cowan gives me the example of a Grade 8 student, who published a book called “Essential Trigonometry” when he was in Grade 6, and who is currently enrolled in a GOA course on number theory; and of a Grade 10 student with a passion for dance and gymnastics who was instrumental in helping get a popular advanced acrobatics club off the ground. “Passion and self-discipline are the key,” says Mr. Cowan, offering his take on what motivates a labor of love. “Not necessarily genius or gift or talent in one aspect or another.”
“We want students to feel that if they have a passion, they can also develop it at FIS.” - Dan Cowan, Grade 6-8 Principal
He believes that FIS is making great strides to encourage students’ passions and highlights recent initiatives, including re-imagining the Design Technology lab with collaborative workspace and state-of-the art equipment, creating new course formats like Design for Change Studio, which focuses on empathic design, and fostering an overall appreciation of personalized learning opportunities within the framework of the bigger organization.
Pete Sinclair, Grade 9-12 Assistant Principal, tells me that “A World of Opportunities” is not just a saying on the door but an ethos at FIS, and highlights the multitude of FIS practices and offerings – curricular, extra-curricular, intellectual and emotional – that concur to help students explore their intrinsic motivations. Mr. Sinclair says, “All that we do – CAS, Model United Nations (MUN), the Debate Club, our Student Leadership program, the pastoral care program, welcoming parents to be in the school instead of keeping them out, not forgetting about kids after they leave FIS and encouraging them to come back and visit – all of these are part of a whole range of practices designed to help students find their passions and to teach them different ways to lead.”
My daughter’s labor of love is closest to home, but she is just one among many students at FIS laboring with love in the self-driven pursuit of knowledge, purpose and meaning outside of the established FIS framework. “Our role as educators is to help guide our students toward what they want to do for the rest of their lives,” says
Mr. Sinclair. “Whether it be independently learning Korean or starting a program to protect the oceans, we want FIS to be a place where their ideas are supported so that they may further develop their talents and follow those passions.”
Clearly, this is happening in all corners of our school. And with plenty of opportunities to develop what they love to do, students bring joy to their own lives and create it for others’, too
– now and in their adult future.
Maria Monteiro FIS Parent
The advanced acrobatics club
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