What is the first step to having a bright career?
Education is the primary aspect on the road to success!
But one must be patient and work hard to complete their journey holistically. And education is a lifelong journey of learning to work and enjoy the finesses of mighty natural and human creation.
The traditional steps for a formal education include preschool, primary and secondary school, high school, universities and institutions. To reach the desired path, one has to complete the whole education process. But the most amusing thing about education is that the students never know or understand their interests and capabilities until primary and secondary education.
When one enters high school, one starts evaluating their abilities and begins visioning their career, and accordingly, one determines their goal and field of education. The high school offers students various noble and necessary professionals like that of an educator, doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs, industrialists, etc.
Earlier, high schools used to emphasise science and commerce fields only. With the dramatical technological advancements, the need for various other streams like liberal arts, IB (International Baccalaureate) and many different pedagogies are also emerging with the changing trends.
Previously, students who wanted to pursue their higher education in personalised and customised streams had to go abroad. However, with the changing landscape, schools, high schools, and universities are adopting new ways of learning and introducing various educational streams to students for their holistic growth.
Catering to the need for liberal arts and IB pedagogies, Taipei Municipal Binjiang Experimental Junior High School is located in Taipei city of Taiwan. The high school cultivates a love for learning and promotes the students’ consciousness to be a learner with a world horizon, creating a sincere caring heart and technological skills among students.
The high school also adopts a curriculum full of creative practice, technological interaction and many other essential aspects which every human should indulge in themselves to become a responsible citizen. With the unique curriculum, the school prepares students to become life practitioners and liberal art learners who make society and the world a better place.
In the quest for ‘The Significant Schools of Taiwan’, we crossed paths with Binjiang Experimental Junior High School and interviewed the Head of the School, Pauline Chen, where she shared the inception story of the institute, as well as its future envision.
To get detailed information about the school, read ahead.
The Budding Tale
The newly created, straightened riverbed is where Taipei city is reborn. The development and construction of a modern shopping and recreation centre, low-polluting high-tech industrial park, and riverside residential demonstration area in Taipei City will improve the convenient transportation network. Inviting the rich living functions assisted by several business opportunities, and accelerating the overall development of the knowledge economy, according to the Taipei Municipal Government’s master plan, which has the appearance of an international city.
The school structure was constructed in 2002 with the support of Mayor Ma Ying-jeou in the Keelung River Rehabilitation Plan in 1998 on the contemporary riverside along with Principal Su Ping, who is serving as the Director of the Preparatory Office.
In 2005, the 7th graders began their formal enrolment, and Mayor Ma Ying-jeou oversaw the building’s opening. Since that time, Taipei Municipal Binjiang Junior High School has taken on the responsibility of raising global citizens for the twenty-first century.
Due to rapid changes in the social environment, teachers around the school warmly embraced the reform of the existing educational situation. On June 26, 2019, the interim school affairs meeting approved the conversion to an experimental education institution.
On April 14, 2020, the school officially changed its name to Taipei Binjiang Experimental Junior High School and became an IB International Diploma Candidate School. The unveiling ceremony for the IBMYP International Baccalaureate was conducted on December 24, 2020, under the direction of vice mayor Cai Bingkun.
Pauline Chen – Demonstrating New Direction
The school’s general policy has had a more defined direction since August when Principal Chen was put in charge. With the goal of ‘Establishing basic academic ability, understanding local life, exploring sustainable cities, and developing international awareness.’ She intends to actively promote sustainable development education in schools through ‘Life practitioners and liberal arts learners’ as the specific educational concepts.
The Statement of Values
After sharing her story, Chen also enlightens us with the vision, mission and core values of the school and asserts, “Taipei Municipal Binjiang Experimental Junior High School cultivates our students’ love for learning, promoting their consciousness to be a learner with a world horizon, a sincerely caring heart, and technology skills. We strive to support this environment by implementing a curriculum full of creative practice, technology interaction, caring participation, and aesthetic perception to prepare our students to become life practitioners and liberal arts learners who make society, Taiwan, and the world a better place.”
She further narrates, “The curriculum framework is based on international understanding and respect for cultural diversity. It is learner-centred and connects the learning situation with the global context, through the process of ‘inquiry, action, and reflection’ to develop knowledgeable, inquiring, and caring learners.”
“We care about how our students learn and the well-being of humanity. Our core value is to co-create a better and more peaceful world through education,” she added.
Nurturing the Community of Lifelong Learners
In order to foster lifelong learners, the 12-Year Basic Education Curriculum and the IB share this mission. The school’s teachers have a deeper comprehension of the IB philosophy and mission statement due to extensive IB professional development training.
To foster well-rounded, lifelong learners in the students, the IB courses offer a framework that complements the literacy-focused objectives highlighted in the 12-Year Basic Education Curriculum.
While stating further about nurturing lifelong learners, Chen notes, “When we promote IB education in Taiwanese society, it represents responsibility and commitment. It not only advocates the universally accepted concept that ‘everyone in the community is a learner,’ but teachers, students, and parents agree to take the well-being of all humankind as a priority. We prioritise teaching and learning, care about the planet we share, and are willing to take on more social responsibilities and put ideas into action.”
A Unique Way of Learning and Looking at the World!
After knowing the changes that nurture lifelong learners, we asked Chen about the unique programmes of the school, and she stated, “Through changes in ATT (Approaches to Teaching) and ATL (Approaches to Learning), we expect students to develop the 10 IB learner profiles during the three years of experimental education. In addition, we also attach importance to ESDG (Education for Sustainable Development Goals). When teachers design unit plans, SDGs are integrated into the important goals of school development.”
Engaging Learning Activities
Binjiang Experimental Junior High School strongly emphasises self-directed learning, in which students participate in learning activities, help determine learning objectives, and select the mode that best facilitates learning outcomes instead of relying solely on teachers.
Through teacher-student engagement and peer connection, children can also develop their capacity for cooperation with others and a compassionate heart in addition to self-evaluation and criticism.
While mentioning the extra-curricular activities, Chen postulates, “Many details and challenges are involved in integrating IB and the local curriculum. We have conveyed our five policies through continuous communication so that parents and the community can understand how we practice our experimental educational philosophy and receive positive feedback.”
Culturally Diverse Opportunities
The school has developed a consensus to implement the mission statement and curriculum. The curriculum is based on concepts, and by shifting the teaching context to the real world and global issues, the school has observed an improvement in students’ research skills and willingness to show concern for their communities.
In addition, it caters to the specific needs of all individuals, considers the diverse cultures and differences between ethnic groups, and pays attention to socially vulnerable groups. Through adaptive education, the school hope to motivate student’s desire to learn and stimulate their courage to innovate and become lifelong learners with social adaptability and responsiveness.
Chen further states, “We also encourage active parental involvement to facilitate more understanding. In addition, our IB curricula provide inter-disciplinary and integrated learning materials under the design and integration of key concepts, related concepts, and global contexts within the professional context of each area of study.”
The school encourages students to consider global concerns and complete their community service projects to demonstrate their concern for their communities and to adapt the learning and teaching context to the actual world. Accordingly, the national curriculum defines the fundamental competencies of spontaneity, communication, interaction, and social involvement relating to the performance and improvement of Binjiang pupils.
Future: Creating Dream a Reality!
It is the first public school in Taiwan to be accredited as an IB MYP world school. As such, in addition to advocating for the IB’s educational philosophy and concepts in the local community, the school is also charged with putting its ideals into action locally and exchanging lessons learned with other local schools. The school is willing to share its expertise and advance the notion of being ‘learner-centred’ in Taiwanese society. The school has taken its responsibility to meet its educational commitments seriously.
While stating the school’s future vision, Chen says, “Since its inception, we have been adhering to the spirit of respecting local culture and promoting international education and cultivating students to become global citizens with love and a global outlook. We develop experimental education to integrate local culture with the world so students can develop adaptively through experimental courses.”
“We expect our students to care for the environment and community and to contribute to society through innovative services and actions,” Chen concluded.