The Middle year program is a five year program (grade 6-grade10) that encourages students to make practical connection between their studies and their real world. It is for students aged 11-16. Presently we are an IB MYP candidate school and are in the process of implementing the program in our middle grades. Authorization is programmed from academic year 2018-19. The program includes: Mathematics, language and literature, language acquisition, Science, Individuals and societies, Digital design, Arts (visual and performing) and Physical and health education. For each of the subjects objectives are placed and are assessed according to well defined grade related criterions.
MYP school policies
Language and Literature (L&L) aims at making Middle school students at Institut Aurora perfectly fluent and skilful in the English language. It encompasses the experience, study, and appreciation of language, media and communication. The L&L curriculum deals with Language and Literature simultaneously and concurrently. It touches on all the language processes, namely: speaking and listening, reading and viewing, writing and representing. Students become confident and competent users through many opportunities to become engaged in language arts in a variety of context.
Improving students’ literacy constitutes the core of the L&L program. In that prospect, a constant emphasis on grammar, oral and written conventions, handwriting and spelling accuracy is maintained through the entire MYP (Middle Year Program). Grammar-focused lesson plans will provide students with ample opportunities to solidify their grammatical skills. Each grade in the MYP has an integral approach to grammar with a detailed coverage of the following elements: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, sentence parts, phrases and clauses, verbs usage, pronouns usage, word agreements, modifiers, punctuation and capitalization.
The other key objective of the L&L subject is to help students become familiar with the many ways people use language in our world. Students are introduced to the different types of texts they might encounter when studying or in daily life, among which: Expressive writing such as friendly letters, diary entries, thank you notes,…Informational writing such as project reports, reviews, directions and instructions, autobiography and biography, advertisements and commercials, persuasive texts, articles, summaries…and Imaginative writing such as stories, poems, plays,…
Students learn about the prevalent literary genres and get direct in-depth exposure to each of them by reading and analyzing text excerpts that belong to these specific genres, including contemporary realistic fiction, fantasy/science fiction, traditional literature/classics, myths, legends and folktales, historical fiction, drama, poetry…
By studying a variety of texts taken from renowned authors and authoritative sources, closely reading them, identifying their characteristics like point of view, style, tone, purpose and strategy, answering questions to make sure they understand the content and form, students get started on the path to literary analysis and criticism, skills they will further develop in High school and capitalize on throughout College.
As the importance of reading cannot be stressed enough for today’s youth, we encourage our students to read literature by providing them a list of suggested books suitable for each grade. Beyond that list, students are required to read one unabridged work of literature per semester.
Students are assessed formatively by a constant monitoring of their progress, regular tests, and end-of- term exams. For each unit in the curriculum (6 units per grade), a summative task, or Performance- Based-Assessment, which focuses on the concepts and themes taught in the unit will assess each student in a non-academic situation. This practical exercise is designed like a real-life performance and could take the form of a presentation, speech, interview, product design, participation in a focus group, and other kinds of role-playing.
L&L is fundamental to the development of language abilities, socio-cultural understanding, and creative and critical thinking. As language is a primary instrument of thought and the most powerful tool students have for developing ideas and insights, the L&L class trains students to give significance to their experiences, and to make sense both of their world and their possibilities within it.
Mathematics is a branch of science, which deals with numbers and their operations. It involves calculation, computation, solving of problems etc. Mathematics is defined as, ‘the science of numbers and space’ or ‘the science of measurement, quantity and magnitude’. Math occupies a vital place in our daily life; just imagine a world without mathematics at all. Everybody needs to be able to count, add, subtract, multiply, and divide.
The goals for the course are to improve understanding of the nature of mathematics: what is important, how it is practiced, how mathematical validity is determined, to learn when and how to use it, to develop a vision of good school mathematics, to improve understanding of various teaching strategies and their strengths and weaknesses, to increase students’ mathematical thinking and understanding, learn to reason and to communicate mathematically, learn to value mathematics, and to become confident in their own ability.
Mathematics is taught 4 hours a week and each year between 6 to 8 units of work are
programmed. Each unit of work integrates multiple branches of mathematical study. Not all
the branches are addressed in each year of the program but, over the five years (or complete
duration) of the program, students will experience learning in all four branches of the
framework for mathematics.
The braches of mathematical study over the 5 years of the program are
- Number : Number systems, Integers, Fractions, Decimals, The number line, Factors and Multiples, Powers and roots, Arithmetical Problems such as Ratio, Percentages, Averages
- Algebra: Fundamental concepts, Fundamental operations, Substitution, Relation and mappings, Sequences, Finding a formula, Expressions, Equations, Exponents, Ratio and Proportion)
- Geometry and Trigonometry: Fundamental concepts, Lines, Angles, Types, Properties of angles and lines, Constructions, Triangles, Property, Graphs, Circle, Linear symmetry, Recognition of solids, Perimeter and area, Volume and surfaces)
- Statistics and Probability: Column graphs from given tabulated data, Survey, Evaluation, Sampling, Probability scale, Equally likely outcomes, Mutually exclusive outcomes, Estimating probabilities, Interpreting results
Our school’s aims of the 5 years of teaching mathematics are to encourage and enable students to:
- recognize that mathematics permeates the world around us;
- appreciate the usefulness, power and beauty mathematics;
- the ability to conceptualize, inquire, reason and communicate mathematically, and to use mathematics to formulate and solve problems in daily life as well as in mathematical contexts;
- the ability to manipulate numbers, symbols and other mathematical objects;
- the number sense, symbol sense, spatial sense and a sense of measurement as well as the capability in appreciating structures and patterns
- Recognize that mathematics permeates the world around us and etc.
By the end of the course, the learner should be able to:
- identify, concretize, symbolize and use mathematical relationships in everyday life
- comprehend, analyze, synthesize, evaluate and make generalizations so as to solve mathematical problems;
- collect, organize, represent, analyze, interpret data and make conclusions and predictions from its results;
- perform mathematical operations and manipulations with confidence, speed and accuracy;
- develop investigative skills in Mathematics and etc.
Formative assessments are part of our everyday teaching strategies and at the end of each unit, performance based summative assessments assess are evaluate the knowledge of the student in the mathematical branches taught in the unit.
Individuals and societies
Individuals and Societies is an interdisciplinary course that incorporates or comprises disciplines formerly studied under the general term ‘’ HUMANITIES’’ such as history and philosophy as well as disciplines in the social sciences which include economics, business management, geography, sociology and political science. It is a compulsory course throughout the middle grades and takes up 4 hours of the weekly schedule. During a year, between 6 and 8 units of work are programmed and a yearly investigation is part of the program.
The goal of this subject is to encourage learners to acquire, gain and develop knowledge, conceptual understanding and skills which will not only help them in their academic career but throughout their entire life. It encourages both learners and teachers to consider local and global contexts.
In this subject group, students can engage with exciting, stimulating and personally relevant topics and issues. The Courses in this subject group are important to help learners to appreciate with criticism the diversity of human culture, attitudes and beliefs. The study of the Individuals and Societies is relevant for helping learners to recognize that content and methodology can be debatable and controversial.
The aims of the 5 years teaching and studying of the Individuals and Societies are to encourage and enable learners to develop:
- An inquiring mind, awareness and understanding of the interactions and interdependence of individuals and societies and their environments.
- The skills necessary for the effective study of humanities and an understanding of contemporary humanity issues.
- A sense of time and place, respect and understand the world around them.
- Understanding of others perspectives, values and attitudes.
- A sense of internationalism and a desire to be proactive as a responsible global citizen.
Each year assessment tasks will be conducted that involve formative and summative ways of assessing (tests, examinations, investigations or research) which will to an extended piece of writing and a variety of oral, written and multimedia assignments.
The objectives for Individuals and Societies in the middle year program are: knowing and understanding, investigating, communicating and thinking critically and these objectives are assessed according to prescribed, grade-related criterions.
“Science is a systematic and logical approach to discover how things in the universe work.” Science is based on facts, not on opinions or preferences. The process of science is to challenge ideas through research. One important aspect of the scientific process is that it focuses only on the natural world.
Science is a subject taught four hours a week in all middle grades and comprises biology, physics and chemistry. During the development of a unit of work, all the aspects of a topic are investigated. Throughout the middle school, each year 6 to 8 units of work are programmed. The sciences curriculum explores the relationship between science and everyday life. Lab projects are an important part of each unit and translate theory in practical understanding. A scientific investigation is a compulsory part of the program in each year of the middle school. During the development of a unit of work, teachers not only emphasize on knowledge but also on developing skills
The aims of MYP sciences are to encourage and enable students to:
- understand and appreciate science and its implications
- consider science as a human endeavor with benefits and limitations
- cultivate analytical, inquiring and flexible minds that pose questions, solve problems, construct explanations and judge arguments
- build an awareness of the need to effectively collaborate and communicate
- apply language skills and knowledge in a variety of real-life contexts
- develop sensitivity towards the living and non-living environments
- reflect on learning experiences and make informed choices.
The objectives in sciences state the specific targets that are set for learning in that subject. They define what the student will be able to accomplish as a result of studying the subject. They encompass the factual, conceptual, procedural and met cognitive dimensions of knowledge.
- Knowledge & understanding: Students develop scientific knowledge (facts, ideas, concepts, processes, laws, principles, models and theories) and apply it to solve problems and express scientifically supported judgments.
- Inquiring & Designing Intellectual and practical skills are developed through designing, analyzing and performing scientific investigations. Although the scientific method involves a wide variety of approaches, the MYP emphasizes experimental work and scientific inquiry.
- Processing & Evaluating Students collect, process and interpret qualitative and/or quantitative data, and explain conclusions that have been appropriately reached. MYP sciences help students to develop analytical thinking skills, which they can use to evaluate the method and discuss possible improvements or extensions.
- Reflecting upon impacts of Science: Students gain global understanding of science by evaluating the implications of scientific developments and their applications to a specific problem or issue. Varied scientific language will be applied in order to demonstrate understanding. Students are expected to become aware of the importance of documenting the work of others when communicating in science.
Formative assessments are programmed throughout the year and help students approve their learning methods. At the end of each unit a performance based assessment will assess the objectives according to predetermined grade –related criterions.
MYP physical and health education aims to empower students to understand and appreciate the value of being physically active and develop the motivation for making healthy life choices. To this end, physical and health education courses foster the development of knowledge, skills and attitudes that will contribute to a student’s balanced and healthy lifestyle. Students engaged in physical and health education will explore a variety of concepts that help foster an awareness of physical development and health perspectives, empowering them to make informed decisions and promoting positive social behavior. Physical and health education focuses on both learning about and learning through physical activity. Through physical and health education, students can learn to appreciate and respect the ideas of others, and develop effective collaboration and communication skills. This subject area also offers many opportunities to build positive interpersonal relationships that can help students to develop a sense of social responsibility. Physical activity and health are of central importance to human identity and global communities. They create meaningful connections among people, nations, cultures and the natural world, and they offer a range of opportunities to build intercultural understanding and greater appreciation for our common humanity. Two hours a week are scheduled for the PHE course in each grade. Each year between 2 to 4 units are programmed and at least 50% of the time is allocated to physical activities. Students must complete an aesthetic movement routine in every year of the program.
The balanced curriculum of the PHE course includes:
- physical and health-related knowledge (for example, components of fitness, training methods and principles, nutrition, lifestyle, first aid)
- aesthetic movement (for example, gymnastics, aerobics, martial arts, jump rope, yoga)
- team sports (for example, football, basketball, handball, volleyball)
- individual sports (for example, athletics, swimming)
The aims of physical and health education are to encourage and enable students to:
- use inquiry to explore physical and health education concepts
- participate effectively in a variety of contexts
- understand the value of physical activity
- achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle
- collaborate and communicate effectively
- build positive relationships and demonstrate social responsibility
- reflect on their learning experiences.
The objectives of any subject group state the specific targets that are set for learning in the subject. The objectives for PHE are:
Knowing and understanding: Students develop knowledge and understanding about health and
physical activity in order to identify and solve problems.
Planning for performance: Students through inquiry design, analyze, evaluate and perform a plan in order to improve performance in physical and health education.
Applying and performing: Students develop and apply practical skills, techniques, strategies and movement concepts through their participation in a variety of physical activities.
Reflecting and improving performance: Students enhance their personal and social development, set goals, take responsible action and reflect on their performance and the performance of others.
Formative assessments are used throughout the year to help and assist our students in their learning process. The course objectives are assessed during performance based summative assessments at the end of each unit.
Language acquisition is a language learning process where the students have the opportunity to learn a language other than the language of instruction. Language acquisition aims to develop a respect for, and understanding of, other languages and cultures, and is equally designed to equip the student with skills to facilitate further language learning. French is the first choice as a second language taught at Institut Aurora (English Section). Since our school is located in Kinshasa, the capital of The Democratic Republic of Congo where French is the official language, the choice of French was obvious. The benefits of learning more than one language are multiple. Students learning more international languages will be successful socially, academically and professionally in this wide changing world. Language acquisition allows students to enhance the international mindedness. In other words, the second language learner increases intercultural awareness on the different life styles in this cross cultural world. He develops more insight and critical thinking to learn in various global contexts. In more simplistic words, learning an additional language helps the student to be open to other cultures. By the end of the language acquisition course, students should be empowered for success in further formal study of languages. The knowledge, skills and attitudes that students develop in language acquisition courses provide a meaningful foundation for further studies and the world of work in global economies and international business.
The aims of the teaching and learning of MYP language acquisition are to:
- gain proficiency in an additional language while supporting maintenance of their mother tongue and cultural heritage
- develop a respect for, and understanding of, diverse linguistic and cultural heritages
- develop the student’s communication skills necessary for further language learning, and for study, work and leisure in a range of authentic contexts and for a variety of audiences and purposes
- enable the student to develop multi-literacy skills through the use of a range of learning tools, such as multimedia, in the various modes of communication
- enable the student to develop an appreciation of a variety of literary and non-literary texts and to develop critical and creative techniques for comprehension and construction of meaning
- enable the student to recognize and use language as a vehicle of thought, reflection, self-expression and learning in other subjects, and as a tool for enhancing literacy
- enable the student to understand the nature of language and the process of language learning, which comprises the integration of linguistic, cultural and social components
- offer insight into the cultural characteristics of the communities where the language is spoken
- encourage an awareness and understanding of the perspectives of people from own and other cultures, leading to involvement and action in own and other communities
- foster curiosity, inquiry and a lifelong interest in, and enjoyment of, language learning.
In each year of the middle grades 100 hours a year are dedicated to language acquisition. Institut Aurora structures additional language learning in phases so that the complexity and range of language profiles that students bring to their classroom is acknowledged and fostered. We structure sustained inquiry in language acquisition by developing conceptual understanding in global contexts. Teachers and students develop a statement of inquiry and use inquiry questions to explore the subject. Through their inquiry, students develop specific interdisciplinary and disciplinary approaches to learning skills. Students will be able to interact and transact in the target language when they have a command of the grammar and vocabulary specific to a topic or situation, and an understanding of how language works in context. Conceptual, factual and procedural knowledge are all essential to the process of acquiring language. Formative assessments are part of our everyday teaching strategies which helps teachers to understand the strengths and weaknesses of student and react in an appropriate way. Each phase has phase-specific language acquisition objectives which are assessed using performance based assessments at the end of each unit.Arts
Art is a taught in grades 6 up to 10. The subject comprises 2 disciplines: a visual and a performing art discipline. Our school decided to choose visual art as visual art and dance as performing art discipline Students engage in one visual art discipline and one performing art discipline in each year of the middle grades. Each discipline is scheduled for 2 hours a week and both art disciplines are taught throughout the 5 years of the middle grades as discrete disciplines. Between 2 to 4 units of work are programmed each year in both art disciplines. These units of work are placed in global contexts and framed by key and related concepts.
Arts occupies an important place in our middle school since arts are a universal form of human expression and a unique way of knowing that engage us in effective, imaginative and productive activities. Learning through the arts helps students to explore, shape and communicate our sense of identity and individuality. During adolescence, the arts provide an opportunity for age-appropriate and holistic development of the social, emotional, intellectual and personal intelligences of the student. Students develop through creating, performing and presenting arts in ways that engage and convey feelings, experiences and ideas. It is through this practice that students acquire new skills and master those skills developed in prior learning. Arts in the middle grades stimulate young imaginations, challenge perceptions and develop creative and analytical skills. Involvement in the arts encourages students to understand the arts in context and the cultural histories of artworks, thus supporting the development of an inquiring and empathetic world view. Arts challenge and enrich personal identity and build awareness of the aesthetic in a real-world context.
The aims of arts in our middle school are to encourage and enable students to:
- create and present art
- develop skills specific to the discipline
- engage in a process of creative exploration and (self-)discovery
- make purposeful connections between investigation and practice
- understand the relationship between art and its contexts
- respond to and reflect on art
- deepen their understanding of the world.
The objectives of any subject group state the specific targets that are set for learning in the subject. They define what the student will be able to accomplish as a result of studying the subject. The objectives of our art program encompass the factual, conceptual, procedural and meta-cognitive dimensions of knowledge and are: knowing and understanding, developing skills, thinking creatively and responding.
Students are assessed formally throughout the year and through performance based summative assessments the objectives are assessed at least twice a year according to grade specific criterions.Design
Design stands for digital design and is a course taught throughout the whole middle school. Digital design courses create solutions for problems through the use of a computer system. 70 hours a year are dedicated to this course and 2 units are taught each year. A yearly compulsory project is part of the design curriculum. Design courses help prepare students for the study of computer science, design technology and information technology. The study of digital design equips students to create computer-generated digital products/solutions to solve a problem and meet a perceived need. Two-dimensional (2D) tangible solutions created using computer- aided manufacturing techniques are typically the result of a digital design course. Distinct digital design courses include web design, interactive media design, programming and control, and more. Students are challenged to apply practical and creative thinking skills and are encouraged to explore the role of design and raises the awareness of their responsibility when making design decisions and taking actions.
The aims of design suggest how the student may be changed by the learning experience and encourage and enable students to:
- Enjoy the design process, develop an appreciation of its elegance and power
- Develop knowledge, understanding and skills from different disciplines to design and create solutions to problems using the design cycle.
- Use and apply technology effectively as a means to access, process and communicate information, model and create solutions, and to solve problems
- Develop an appreciation of the impact of design innovations for life, global society and environments
- Appreciate past, present and emerging design within cultural, political, social, historical and environmental contexts
- Develop respect for others’ viewpoints and appreciate alternative solutions to problems
- Act with integrity and honesty, and take responsibility for their own actions developing effective
The objectives set for design in each year are evaluated through performance-based summative assessments at the end of each unit. Throughout the unit students are assessed formatively by a constant monitoring of their progress, regular tests and a series of structured tasks teaching the main skills through appropriate software.