Brighton College Bangkok is delighted to be shortlisted for an International School Award for Teaching and Learning which recognizes an initiative that has benefited a large number of students. Our Brighton Sparks program has been designed to develop academic writing and supracurricular skills such as independent inquiry, critical thinking and self-management, exceptionally preparing students in Grades 8-10 for success at IGCSEs, at A levels and at university.
The questions we wanted to answer were: How do you encourage young students to think and learn independently? How to acquire the skills necessary to take advanced courses and build a better approach to transition to university? How does a school with a high proportion of ALA students close the literacy standards gap within its community?
Our response was Brighton Sparks. In addition to weekly tutorials from expert lecturers on topics such as SEO at Harvard, academic writing planning, high school research, and presentation skills, students are tasked with writing a 2,500 word essay (moderate with academic notes) and present their research findings and answer questions. of, their teachers, their peers and their parents (much like a viva voce). Upon completion, participants receive a certificate and the essays are published in our own college journal “The Spark”.
Essay titles are provided by teachers (to ensure consistency of rigor) in a wide range of subject areas and cover topics beyond the curriculum, including medicine, environmental science, and philosophy. Students receive a course manual that guides them through the program and have access to an VLE through which they can receive support and resources.
Brighton Sparks is quirky and creative as it aims to develop college-style study skills in our youngest high school students.. The program offers students individual support and guidance with a specialist supervisor who is passionate about this area of study, mimicking the academic rigor and customization of the university tutoring system. Brighton Sparks gives students the opportunity to study a subject that interests them personally, beyond the curriculum and, before making their IGCSE option choices, to gain first-hand experience of the subjects they wish to pursue at level A and beyond.
However, what really sets Brighton Sparks apart is that Brighton Sparks alumni act as ‘student tutors’ during the following years of the program. In this way, Brighton Sparks will, over time, become the basis for a sustainable school-wide initiative in which ‘alumni’ of older pupils will help their younger peers to develop teaching skills. essential study as they progress through school.
The following quote is from one of our Year 9 Brighton Sparks:
“I will enjoy continuing my studies in molecular biology at university and making it a career. It was my first time doing research on the subject of antibiotics and it allowed me to see if I am fascinated by advanced biology and medicine.
“After answering the essay question, I was so curious that I researched alternative options to antibiotics to cure illnesses. In terms of schoolwork, I was able to relate what I learned at Brighton Sparks to the subject I am currently studying. ”
As a school offering A levels, we wanted to set up an internal initiative focusing on the extra-curricular study skills and attitudes allegedly lacking in undergraduates. It has been felt that programs such as the detailed essay, which is part of the IB diploma, focus only on older students and overlook the opportunity for students to develop and refine their study skills and their positive learning behaviors over time and, moreover, prevent them from helping to treat it themselves; after all, a key component of Brighton Sparks is the ‘peer mentoring’ program.
The students are empowered and like to share the result of their work and are even involved in the editing of the journal itself. They act as mentors and convey their love of learning with such passion that even teachers cannot help but get caught up in the process, as this quote from a supervisor makes clear:
“The opportunity to share an enthusiasm and depth of study normally not possible during class was truly refreshing. Engaging and supporting a student throughout this process allowed us to discover an area of common interest and guide a bright spark. A truly enriching experience on both sides.
This award is one of three ISAs for which Brighton College Bangkok has been shortlisted. We are also in the running to win awards for the teaching and learning offer we provide to students with special educational needs, and for the work we do in the community with local residents who have suffered greatly during the pandemic.
The results will be announced in January 2022.
If you would like to know more about the school, please contact;
Email: [email protected]
Brighton College International School Bangkok, Soi Pracharuamjai, Bang Kapi, Bangkok 10240
Phone: +66 (2) 136 7898
Mobile: +66 (0) 89 009 1111