Core to BST’s ethos is a desire for our students to become truly internationally minded: to acquire the personal and social intercultural competencies and dispositions that will allow them to thrive and flourish wherever in the world they find themselves. We have adopted the term, ‘education for international mindedness’ - put simply, this means understanding, respecting and valuing different cultures, embracing diversity and knowing that different perspectives have a great deal to offer.
Recognising and celebrating our modern British identity and our place at the heart of Japan’s capital city, we believe that there is no set approach to education for international mindedness. We place our focus on outcomes and the identification of key learning objectives that are attainable in a wide range of contexts at different developmental stages.
At BST, we want our students:
- To have a strong sense of their own identity, values and perspectives as a first step to better understanding those of others
- To evolve their views over time as they come to better understand the world around them
- To embrace the similarities and differences between cultures and nationalities in ways that promote meaningful and lasting understanding and respect
- To have an appreciation for the increasing interconnectedness of the world and our interdependence as nations, communities and peoples
- To have or be willing to develop the ability to communicate in a variety of contexts in more than one language
- To be critical thinkers who understand the complexity of real-world challenges and value their responsibility and unique ability to be part of the solutions
We realise that students will develop their own interpretations and channels of expression in response to education for international mindedness. As such, we expect and encourage a range of outcomes in addition to those defined above. Equally, we accept that international mindedness is a lifetime process rather than a final goal and that school is a step in that development.
Students at BST come from a range of diverse backgrounds and cultures. Within this fluid and shifting environment, students ponder their individuality, their cultural heritage and their role in participating in the global community. The ability to appreciate and consider different perspectives with a critical eye is a skill that requires commitment from the entire school community.
The BST Community, September 2020
Our Japanese Context
BST makes extensive use of the rich historical, natural and cultural experiences available in Japan. Our children from Nursery upwards study the Japanese language. We maximise children’s real use of the language within the local community, taking advantage of speaking and listening opportunities right on our doorstep. For example, our Year 3 children interview people in the local area in Japanese about their hobbies, drawing on what they have learnt in the classroom about describing their own hobbies.
We celebrate and participate in Japanese traditions both by learning the language and by exploring the local and national cultural traditions.
Our skill based curriculum enables us to incorporate learning of skills relevant to our local context. Our history curriculum lends itself well to this. Year 2 children for example develop their history skills such as interpreting source materials when learning about the Great Fire of London and the Great Fire of Edo.
Our BST Outdoor programme enables us to explore and appreciate the natural aspect of living in Japan. Children have opportunities to hike and learn about indigenous plants and natural vegetation whilst also appreciating geographical features, utilising both science and geography skills.
We have strong links with our Japanese partner schools SKG and SWU as well as other Japanese schools in and around Tokyo with whom we share regular exchange days to enhance language and social opportunities.