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ISB’s learning philosophy encompasses a firm understanding that learning has no boundaries. In fact, learning that moves beyond known confines and securities have often been found to be a far more powerful experience than when students are safe and comfortable. Engaged with challenges that force a re-evaluation of understandings and beliefs, students often encounter exponential and profound growth. Numerous studies (Changing minds: The Lasting Impact of School Trips, 2006; A Review of Research on Outdoor Learning, 2004; Learning Outside the Classroom: How Far Should You Go, 2008 and Visible Learning – John Hattie, 2008) have shown a strong link between outdoor adventure/ learning opportunities and students’ sense of academic, mental, emotional and social well being. At ISB, we also use these experiential learning opportunities to complement our in-school learning programs, which are focused upon the development of self-efficacy, empathy, self-motivation and resilience.
The grades 5-10 expeditions and grades 11-12 Classroom Without Walls trips are tailored to meet two key challenges. The expeditions place students in unique Serbian outdoor natural environments, which offer a range of physical and social experiences. These experiences include abseiling, fishing, horse riding, rock climbing, white-water rafting, hiking, camping (with compulsory campfire and marshmallows!), zip-line, farm duties, caving and environmental and wilderness medicinal activities just to name a few. The settings encompass pristine woodlands, mountains and waterways that sadly are becoming more and more rare in a student’s world. With Classroom Without Walls, the academic learning environment is transposed to settings such as Vienna, Northern Greece and Venice. Through these opportunities, students are able to connect their studies to the “real world”, apply their knowledge and understandings in everyday contexts, whilst also getting an opportunity to perform experiments and collect data that will underpin their studies across a range of subjects.
At ISB we endeavor to create circumstances that merge the within and beyond, the familiar and the unfamiliar, and the secure and uncertain. Through this process, students are encouraged to synthesize both affective and cognitive systems to create greater awareness and appreciation that authentic learning is ever-present.