International School of Bologna

Specialist Subject Areas

Language & Literature
Language Acquisition
Mathematics
Individuals & Societies
Physical and Health Education
The Sciences
The Arts
Digital Design

Language and Literature

Language is fundamental to all human learning. Language skills are the basis for effective communication and lifelong learning in our multicultural world. Aesthetic appreciation of language means that language and literature can transect culture and time, allowing us to recognise our shared humanity whilst acknowledging our individual and cultural diversities.

At ISB students explore, critically and creatively, the multifaceted richness of language and genres through which ideas are expressed. Through the study of literature and universal themes, as well as through their own writing, oral expression, and experience, our students participate in a meaningful, critical and reciprocal discourse about human experience and communication. The student’s personal voice and his/her appreciation of multiple textual perspectives are crucial factors in the development of language skills and literary appreciation.

Our students are offered rich opportunities to experience, appreciate, and explore diverse texts reflecting diversity of expression, experience and viewpoint. Through learning about the systems of language, our students acquire the tools necessary to communicate their ideas in the appropriate context in the appropriate register in a structured and meaningful way.

Here at ISB students have the opportunity to study English and Italian at Language A level. This class is for mother tongue Italian students and students who are competent English speakers. Teachers work together closely and follow the same objectives and assessment criteria to promote continuity between the languages.

develop accuracy when speaking and writing in the target language.

Language Acquisition

The aim of the Language Acquisition program is to help students to gain competence in another language with the long term goal of multilingualism.

At ISB we believe that our programme contributes in an enjoyable and active way to the holistic development of the student by improving personal skills and fostering an attitude of openness, respect and understanding in a complex and multicultural world.

Holistic learning through:

  • establishing links between subjects, cultures and other areas of experience
  • enhancing knowledge of different learning styles and strategies
  • integrating language skills and developing a range of transferable study techniques
  • effectively developing the areas of interaction

Intercultural Awareness through:

  • developing a deeper understanding for the culture of the target language using authentic sources
  • developing awareness of linguistic, cultural and societal similarities and differences
  • increasing student awareness of the various needs within
  • communities appreciating own and others’ cultures and traditions

Communication through providing opportunities for:

  • speaking
  • listening
  • reading
  • writing

At ISB the following Language Acquisition subjects are provided:

  • English
  • French (minimum of 4 students required)
  • Italian
  • Spanish (minimum of 4 students required)

ISB has clear policies on enrolling onto Language Acquisition programmes and each student will be individually assessed by the Language team alongside the MYP Coordinator and Secondary Principal.

From the academic year 2013/14 students enrolling into Grade 6 will be able to select from Spanish or French however, as the MYP states, students will complete the MYP course with that language choice and they may not alternate between the two.

The Language Acquisition Courses are centered around four key concepts:

  • Connections
  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Culture

Throughout the five years of the course, students will have experience of the following objectives:

A. Comprehending spoken and visual text

As appropriate to the phase, the student is expected to be able to:

  • listen for specific purposes and respond to show understanding
  • interpret visual text that is presented with spoken text
  • engage with the text by supporting opinion and personal response with evidence and examples from the text.

B. Comprehending written and visual text 

As appropriate to the phase, the student is expected to be able to:

  • read for specific purposes and respond to show understanding
  • interpret visual text that is presented with written text
  • engage with the text by supporting opinion and personal response with evidence and examples from the text.

C. Communicating in response to spoken, written and visual text

As appropriate to the phase, the student is expected to be able to:

  • interact and communicate in various situations
  • express thoughts, feelings, ideas, opinions and information in spoken and written form
  • speak and write for specific purposes.

D. Using language in spoken and written form

As appropriate to the phase, the student is expected to be able to:

  • organize thoughts, feelings, ideas, opinions and information in spoken and written form
  • develop accuracy when speaking and writing in the target language.

Mathematics

Mathematics, as a foundation of science, engineering and technology, is increasingly important to future citizens. Providing learners an opportunity to develop abstract, systematic and logical thinking, problem solving skills and analytical reasoning, the study of mathematics provides students with a universal language that can be applied to the world they live in. In the Secondary School mathematics focuses on development in the skills needed to communicate and think mathematically in class exercises, tests and mathematical investigations.

Here at ISB, mathematics is categorized using MYP recommendations. Students enquire into and are assessed in the following areas:

Knowledge and Understanding: Students are encouraged to use their knowledge and understanding of areas of mathematics to solve detailed problems in unfamiliar situations.

Investigating Patterns: Students are supported to recognize patterns in mathematics, to describe relationships between patterns and to draw conclusions on their findings in an appropriate manner.

Communicating: Students are encouraged to use mathematical language to explain their reasoning in concise, logical and complete ways. Students are taught different methods for sharing and representing mathematics.

Applying Mathematics in real-life contexts: Students are encouraged to see problem solving as a real-life tool which they can apply outside of the school context.

The Mathematics Course is based on three key concepts:

  • Form
  • Relationships
  • Logic

Individuals and Societies

Individuals and Societies, as the study of the human condition through time, includes a diversity of academic disciplines that have as their core endeavor the understanding of human thought and behavior. While this may embrace such studies as Psychology, Anthropology, Economics, or Sociology, it is History and Geography that are the main subjects of study.

Instruction aims to teach students how to understand and appreciate the richness of our human experience within the contexts of these two disciplines. This is achieved through the study of individuals, societies and environments in a wide context: historical, contemporary, geographical, political, social, economic, religious, technological and cultural.

Development of skills – learning how to acquire knowledge, critically analyse it, generate meanings from it, and transform knowledge into action, are equally valued and emphasized in the course.

Students engage in question formulation, research projects, investigations, discursive exercises, close reading, and critical writing tasks, as well as speech and debate activities designed to refine their abilities to communicate and share their knowledge with others.

The Individuals and Societies program at ISB aims to address content through conceptual lenses whilst supporting the development of each student’s knowledge and understanding, investigating and communication skills, and their ability to think critically about content.

The Individuals and Societies Course is based on four key concepts:

  • Time, Place, Space
  • Change
  • Systems
  • Global Interactions

Throughout the four years of the course, students will aim to meet the following objectives:

A. Knowing and understanding

  1. use terminology in context
  2. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of subject-specific content and concepts through descriptions, explanations and examples.

B. Investigating

  1. formulate a clear and focused research question and justify its relevance
  2. formulate and follow an action plan to investigate a research question
  3. use research methods to collect and record relevant information
  4. evaluate the process and results of the investigation.

C. Communicating

  1. communicate information and ideas using an appropriate style for the audience and purpose
  2. structure information and ideas in a way that is appropriate to the specified format
  3. document sources of information using a recognized convention.

D. Thinking critically

  1. discuss concepts, issues, models, visual representation and theories
  2. synthesize information to make valid arguments
  3. analyse and evaluate a range of sources/data in terms of origin and purpose, examining values and limitations
  4. interpret different perspectives and their implications.

Physical and Health Education

Physical and Health Education aims to educate, encourage and enable students to make informed choices leading to healthy living. Students will be encouraged to use their own experiences, both within and outside of sports, to support and teach others.

Throughout the program students will be introduced to a range of sports and physical activities so that they can develop a wide variety of skills and knowledge.  This includes the theory behind these sports also.  MYP Physical and Health Education encourages inquiry into individual sports, team sports, aesthetically challenging sports and sports from another culture to those of the students in the class.

The overall philosophy is to create a learning environment that emphasizes physical, intellectual, social and emotional well being. We encourage students to be physically active with the aim of developing lifelong healthy lifestyles and supporting students in this aim through making direct links to the IB Learner Profile.

For hygiene reasons, all students need to change clothes for PE classes.

PE Kit:
Shorts/track pants
Tee-shirt
Clean indoor trainers
Deodorant
Grades 7&8: Tennis Racket

The Physical Education and Health Course is based on three key concepts:

  • Change
  • Communication
  • Relationships

Throughout the course, students will develop their work based on the following objectives:

A. Knowing and understanding

  1. explain physical health education factual, procedural and conceptual knowledge
  2. apply physical and health education knowledge to analyse issues and solve problems set in familiar and unfamiliar situations
  3. apply physical and health terminology effectively to communicate understanding.

B. Planning for performance

  1. design, explain and justify plans to improve physical performance and health
  2. analyse and evaluate the effectiveness of a plan based on the outcome.

C. Applying and performing

  1. demonstrate and apply a range of skills and techniques effectively
  2. demonstrate and apply a range of strategies and movement concepts
  3. analyse and apply information to perform effectively.

D. Reflecting and improving performance

  1. explain and demonstrate strategies that enhance interpersonal skills
  2. develop goals and apply strategies to enhance performance
  3. analyse and evaluate performance

The Sciences

The sciences (Chemistry, Physics, Biology) and their methods of investigation offer a way of learning through inquiry that can contribute to the development of an analytical and critical way of thinking.

MYP Sciences emphasize the role of inquiry and encourage the development of not only scientific inquiry skills but also transferable thinking skills.

Our ISB Sciences curriculum encourages the development of a scientific way of knowing that enables students to investigate, understand and explain the world in which they live. This scientific way of knowing encompasses two types of understanding: conceptual understanding and procedural understanding.

  • Conceptual understanding is concerned with the development of scientific knowledge and an in depth understanding of the main scientific ideas and concepts of science.
  • Procedural understanding is concerned with the skills and processes that students need to develop to understand how science and scientists work and to evaluate scientific evidence.

Conceptual understanding and procedural understanding cannot be developed independently. Students’ understanding of the skills and processes used in science enables them to construct their understanding of concepts, and this insight provides the driving force for the development of further scientific inquiries.

The Sciences Course is based on three key concepts:

  • Change
  • Relationships
  • Systems

By the end of Grade 10, students should also have acquired a range of mathematical skills, which they can apply to their Sciences work.

The five-year course is based on the following set of objectives:

A. Knowing and understanding

i. explain scientific knowledge

ii. apply scientific knowledge and understanding to solve problems set in familiar and unfamiliar situations

iii. analyse and evaluate information to make scientifically supported judgments

B. Inquiring and designing

i. explain a problem or question to be tested by a scientific investigation

ii. formulate a testable hypothesis and explain it using scientific reasoning

iii. explain how to manipulate the variables, and explain how data will be collected

iv. design scientific investigations.

C. Processing and evaluating

i. present collected and transformed data

ii. interpret data and explain results using scientific reasoning

iii. evaluate the validity of a hypothesis based on the outcome of the scientific investigation

iv. evaluate the validity of the method

v. explain improvements or extensions to the method.

D. Reflecting on the impacts of science

i. explain the ways in which science is applied and used to address a specific problem or issue

ii. discuss and evaluate the various implications of the use of science and its application in solving a specific problem or issue

iii. apply scientific language effectively

iv. document the work of others and sources of information used.

The Arts

The Arts are a form of human expression through activity. They contribute to a school curriculum by offering a distinctive way of learning where seeing, feeling, hearing, thinking and creating are combined in a powerful form of visual, aural and tactile affective communication.

The Arts are one of the eight subject areas of the MYP and at ISB we consider this to include Music and Visual Arts. The two teachers work together to standardize their assessments and follow the same objectives and assessment criteria. This ensures students have a thorough and well planned experience of the Arts.

Through art and music, students work both cooperatively and individually having opportunities to research, identify and discuss issues; to provide insights, opinions, solutions and resolutions and to reflect on, appreciate and evaluate artwork.

The arts are a powerful medium for the exploration of the human condition, our society and our world. In this respect it is a powerful educational tool for the exploration of different areas of the curriculum.

Throughout the MYP experience, students are required to create an Arts Process Journal (APJ). This is a compulsory part of the Arts MYP (all grades). It is a written record of each student’s developments and reflections. It differs from a portfolio as the portfolio is a collection of samples of work, the APJ should include all the work students do over their 5 years of the MYP. It is an ideal way to assess students on their ability to reflect on their arts work and a useful way to note progress over each year of the MYP. The APJ focusses on the process students go through during a unit and aligns with the objectives and assessment criteria for The Arts.

The Courses in Arts are centered around four key concepts:

  • Aesthetics
  • Change
  • Communication
  • Identity

Visual Arts

In the Middle Years students work primarily on “Stand-alone” Units. Here they explore more sophisticated techniques of photography, architecture, screen-printing, lino-printing, mask-making, sculpture and ceramics. There are many trips outside school in the Middle Years, as they explore the city in the architecture Unit and further afield Florence and Venice where they are involved in visits to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and mask-making workshops in Venice.

Music

Music is an important part of the Middle Years experience and develops from the student’s PYP experiences.  The Music curriculum involves theory of music, research into movements in global music history and each unit also includes a practical element; be this on the band equipment, percussion instruments or through music technology. Visits to hear music are undertaken where possible and students are encouraged to take advantage of Bologna’s status as an UNESCO City of Music in their explorations around the city.

In both Visual Arts and Music, students will develop their work around the following objectives over the five years:

A. Knowing and understanding

i. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the art form studied, including concepts, processes, and the use of subject-specific terminology

ii. demonstrate an understanding of the role of the art form in original or displaced contexts

iii. use acquired knowledge to purposefully inform artistic decisions in the process of creating artwork.

B. Developing skills

i. demonstrate the acquisition and development of the skills and techniques of the art form studied

ii. demonstrate the application of skills and techniques to create, perform and/or present art.

C. Thinking creatively

i. develop a feasible, clear, imaginative and coherent artistic intention

ii. demonstrate a range and depth of creative-thinking behaviours

iii. demonstrate the exploration of ideas to shape artistic intention through to a point of realization.

D. Responding

i. construct meaning and transfer learning to new settings

ii. create an artistic response that intends to reflect or impact on the world around them

iii. critique the artwork of self and others.

Visual Arts

 

In the Middle Years the students work primarily on “Stand-alone” Units. Here they explore more sophisticated techniques of photography, architecture, screen-printing, lino-printing, mask-making, sculpture and ceramics. The students are encouraged to be independent and keep an Arts Process Journal (APJ) where they store their ideas and develop these ideas into a finished Artwork. There are many trips outside school in the Middle Years, as they explore the city in the architecture Unit and further afield Florence and Venice where they are involved in visits to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and mask-making workshops in Venice.

Music

Music is an important part of the Middle Years experience and develops from the student’s PYP experiences.  In Grade 6, as in Visual Arts, students keep an Arts Process Journal (APJ) which follows them through the five years of their MYP schooling. The Music curriculum involves theory of music, research into movements in global music history and each unit also includes a practical element; be this on the band equipment, percussion instruments or through music technology. Visits to hear music are undertaken where possible and students are encouraged to take advantage of Bologna’s status as an UNESCO City of Music in their explorations around the city.

Digital Design

We live in a technological world which advances at a rapid rate and therefore ISB have selected Digital Design as the course of study for MYP students in years one, two and three. The way in which digital design has worked in partnership to shape our society is both a controversial and multifaceted study.

In Digital Design students follow the Design Cycle to inquire into different forms of technology and developing similar creative products of their own. Some of the Design units link directly to the MYP Individuals and Societies, Language and Literature and Language Acquisition programs thus allowing for the development of holistic and transdisciplinary skills.

The Digital Design Course is based on four key concepts:

  • Systems
  • Development
  • Communities
  • Communication
What is the Design Cycle?

The Design Cycle allows for students to follow a systematic journey through an inquiry process. It has four stages and students have a digital design folder where they record their findings for each stage. At the end of a unit, students are given a level of achievement for their design folder, their final product and reflections. The Design Cycle is as follows:

Throughout the three years of the course, students will work towards the following objectives:

A Inquiring and analysing

i. explain and justify the need for a solution to a problem for a specified client/target audience

ii. identify and prioritize the primary and secondary research needed to develop a solution to the problem

iii. analyse a range of existing products that inspire a solution to the problem

iv. develop a detailed design brief which summarizes the analysis of relevant research.

B Developing ideas

i. develop a design specification which clearly states the success criteria for the design of a solution

ii. develop a range of feasible design ideas which can be correctly interpreted by others

iii. present the final chosen design and justify its selection

iv. develop accurate and detailed planning drawings/diagrams and outline the requirements for the creation of the chosen solution.

C Creating the solution

i. construct a logical plan, which describes the efficient use of time and resources, sufficient for peers to be able to follow to create the solution

ii. demonstrate excellent technical skills when making the solution

iii. follow the plan to create the solution, which functions as intended

iv. fully justify changes made to the chosen design and plan when making the solution

v. present the solution as a whole, either: a. in electronic form, or through b. photographs of the solution from different angles, showing details.

D Evaluating

i. design detailed and relevant testing methods, which generate data, to measure the success of the solution

ii. critically evaluate the success of the solution against the design specification

iii. explain how the solution could be improved

iv. explain the impact of the solution on the client/target audience.