Nurturing an open mind

Sponsored: Northbridge International School Cambodia prides itself on its academic success. But it is also acutely aware that its teaching mandate transcends the traditional classroom setting

“For most of us, the problem isn’t that we aim too high and fail,” writes the educator Ken Robinson in his New York Times bestseller The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, “it’s just the opposite: we aim too low and succeed”.

Astute as ever, the self-proclaimed creativity expert’s words are likely to ring true for many adults who feel they have not lived life to their full potential. In a TED talk that has been watched online by over 60 million people, Robinson blames our lack of ambition on an education that taught us to fear making mistakes and, by extension, “educated us out of [our]creative capacities”.

Fortunately, the same cannot be said for Northbridge International School Cambodia’s educational philosophy. Set among twenty acres of greenery on the outskirts of Cambodia’s chaotic capital, the school is a keen advocate of teaching students “how to think, not what to think”, a philosophy reflected in its hands-on, interdisciplinary approach to teaching science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM).

Developed in conjunction with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the school’s STEAM curriculum tests students in real-life situations so as to promote critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving, skills that the World Economic Forum claimed in 2015 would be the three most sought after workplace skills in 2020 as a result of increasing automation.

Breaking from tradition has paid dividends. Last year’s cohort achieved the best International Baccalaureate (IB) results in the school’s history, registering a 96% pass rate and an average score four points higher than the global average, a set of results the school’s principal Richard Vaughan credits to “the quality of the teaching and learning experience that exists at Northbridge”, as well as “the commitment of staff across the whole school and how being part of Nord Anglia Education has supported our faculty in attaining the school’s highest academic outcomes to date”.

“These IB Diploma results mark our school’s breakthrough to sitting 4 points above the ‘global average’ for DP scores and 16% above the ‘overall global pass rate’. This places the school amongst the highest performing IB schools around the world. The students in this graduating cohort have experienced our full IB continuum curriculum of phases from the Primary Years Program to the Middle Years Program, and on to the Diploma Program, building on the strengths of the teaching and learning that is taking place across the whole school”, he adds.

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