∙ Are all teachers trained to use the IB system – how and when?
Yes. IST has a comprehensive Professional Development Programme that includes online IB workshops, in-house IB training, and external IB courses. We have introduced yearly IB in-house workshops to ensure that all teachers, both full-time and part-time, get some level of IB training every year.
∙ What is the IB?
The International Baccalaureate Organisation is a worldwide educational foundation aimed at creating a better world through education (http://ibo.org/mission/) These 2 videos help explain the PYP and MYP in greater detail.
∙ What is the school’s policy concerning mobbing/bullying and how is this addressed, enforced and followed up?
Bullying is addressed throughout the year in both PYP and MYP. This takes the form of assemblies, through units of inquiry and PSPE (Personal, Social and Physical Education), discussions through the Learner Profile and the Bully Box and class surveys and one-to-one conversations with the class teacher and student. Teachers are consciously on the look-out for incidents of bullying, either in the classroom or the playground and if matters do arise, all teachers are made aware of the situation in order to monitor it effectively. See the school bullying policy for further information.
∙ How do you deal with level differences in the class?
Teachers at IST have undergone in-house training in Differentiation. Being a small school, teachers can very quickly ascertain if students need further support. We also have a Special Educational Needs Coordinator who can assess students that we feel may need further support. Having small classes means that teachers are able to spend more time with those students who need the support. We positively encourage a supportive, trusting classroom environment where students feel able to express themselves if they need support or extension activities.
∙ Will my child work from a textbook?
We do not work from a set text book. We have a wide variety of resources that we use in the classroom in order to research our Units of Inquiry. Research skills are an important part of the IB curriculum and therefore students and teachers are encouraged to find information from several sources.
∙ What books do students take home weekly?
This will depend on the class and their homework requirements. Students should always have a reading book with them. Students in the higher grades have a homework notebook and parents are encouraged to check this and the weekly newsletter. Parents are always welcome to come in and speak to the class teacher if they have a particular question, or to ask their child to bring some of their books home.
∙ What about a 3rd language?
Spanish lessons begin in 7th Grade. Any parents who are able to offer further mother tongue support are asked to get in touch with the office. Students with limited English or Norwegian language skills, joining MYP from other schools, may not start with Spanish immediately in order to first strengthen their English or Norwegian.
∙ Do all teachers use Mathletics?
All students in PYP have a Mathletics sign-on. Mathletics is an extension online activity for PYP students to work on at home, rather than a daily classroom activity. It is mainly used to consolidate skills, knowledge and understanding in mathematics, Teachers have access to students’ scores on Mathletics and can use this information to see how well students have grasped a concept or if they need further challenges.
∙ Does the teacher talk with the students about their work on Mathletics?
Yes, if it is necessary to explain how to complete a set task.
∙ Are traditional methods still taught, for example in Maths, do the students still learn things by heart or using repetition?
Teaching through inquiry is different to traditional methods and this impacts on lesson structure and how it is delivered. There is still a time and a place for rote learning and memorising facts and figures but this is not the core of the IB. It is more important that students are able to understand why and how they are doing something so that they are then able to apply this knowledge to other areas.
∙ What is the language of instruction?
English is the language of instruction and communication throughout the school.
∙ How does the school manage the transition between the primary school (PYP) and the middle school (MYP)?
Students in G6 follow a slightly modified programme of study in order to better prepare them for the challenges of MYP. Whilst still part of the Primary Years Programme of inquiry, they are introduced to the Middle Years Programme subjects and teachers such as Sciences, Individuals and Societies (formerly Humanities), and Design (formerly technology).Students are also prepared for the greater demands of assignments, and how to be more organized and independent in their learning to ensure a smooth transition.
∙ What subjects are taught in MYP? Are they the same as in a Norwegian school?
Students in G7-10 study the following 8 subjects: Language and Literature (English and Norwegian), Language Acquisition (English, Norwegian and Spanish), Standard Mathematics, Sciences, Individuals and Societies (formerly Humanities), Design (formerly technology), Performing and Visual Arts, and Physical Education (gym).
∙ Do the students sit exams?
IST runs a comprehensive programme of whole school testing in order to ensure quality learning. This includes progress testing in English and maths from G1-G7, reading testing from G2-10, national compulsory testing, and end of year exams in G7-10. Assessments are reported through Mangebac and in the end of term reports in December and June.
∙ Is it possible to have morning supervision for older students and also afternoon supervision? We come from all parts of the region and buses do not always arrive near our homes.
Morning supervision is available for all students at no cost. Should parents need afternoon supervision for their child in any grade, they can attend SFO.
∙ What about after-school activities, other than SFO?
At present, IST does not offer any other after-school activity.
∙ Which grades will have swimming lessons this year?
This year, most classes will have swimming training. These take place for 6 week blocks on a Friday afternoon at Stridsklevhallen.
∙ Do students coming from abroad get the opportunity to share their experiences?
We believe the students do have such opportunities. The student body is made up from students from countries as diverse as China, America, Finland, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Norway…and many more – over 20 nationalities at the last count. We celebrate this diversity and hope to develop students who are open-minded. We welcome feedback to help develop this even further. Class teachers and students, through inquiry, make many connections to the learning community’s experiences, either shared or unique to an individual.
∙ Will homework/information/newsletters be posted in Managebac?
PYP information is published on the class blogs. Both PYP and MYP homework is posted on Managebac. If you need a refresher in how to use Managebac, please speak with the office.
∙ How do you arrange substitute teachers?
Where the substitution cannot be covered by one of our own members of staff, we have a list of qualified teachers that we have regularly used as substitute teachers that we can contact. There is also a local supply teacher agency that we use.
∙ Is there somewhere for students to store their PE kit?
All students have a cubbie to store their things, including their PE kit. We recommend that students take their PE kit home on Fridays so that it can be washed.
∙ What are the transport arrangements to Hovet, especially from Skien.
IST at Hovet is on the M3 bus route. See local bus routs on this website.
∙ Does IST collaborate with a local kindergartne?
As part of the local community, we are developing strong relationships with other organisations in the area. We visit local kindergartnes yearly in an effort to further develop relations. We celebrate the National Day on the 16th May with Hovettunet Barnehage.