Tesla Education is a candidate school for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme PYP (KG – Grade 5) Middle Years Programme MYP (Grade 6 – Grade 10) and Diploma Programme DP (Grade 11 &12). Tesla is the only school teaching the International Baccalaureate (IB) in Tan Binh District. Tesla Education is unique in providing an integrated international curriculum, combining both the high standards set by the National Curriculum (NC) with the rigorous international standards of the IB organization. This is a unique teaching and learning method with flexible content to meet modern educational requirements.
Mr. Faizol Musa: IB curriculum provides unique educational experiences for students:
Mr. Tim Vanderpool: It’s not compulsory by but if you take the PYP program that starts in the primary years and build through the middle years program and gets the diploma program, certainly you will be more equipped for the challenges of the diploma program. It’s a very rigorous program, which is why it is recognized across the world. And both the PYP and the MYP really prepare the learner for what they’re going to entail during the program.
Mr. Tim Vanderpool: I am not sure if there are any other IB Schools in Vietnam that run a bilingual program, but if you are correct and there is not, that is just another reason to consider Tesla as a place for your child’s education. There is an overwhelming amount of research about the benefits of being multilingual and acquiring an additional language in a bilingual environment. The IB Organization recognizes bilingual programs and as stated in the IB Language Policy:
“A school may be authorized to offer the PYP or MYP in a language of instruction other than a working language for the programme provided that the coordinator is bilingual or has proven language support (to be able to communicate easily with the IB in one of the working languages)”.
The DP program has to be taught in the language of the external assessment, which in this case is English.
Mr. Tim Vanderpool: The acquisition of an additional language in a bilingual environment is generally considered best practice. It is the theory of additive bilingualism because we are adding a second language while also enhancing the native tongue.
Although 100% English can be successful, they are sometimes ineffective because those programs are forms of subtractive bilingualism. English replaces the native language and this can interfere with the cultural development of the child.
Because the DP program is 100% taught in English, outside of the Vietnamese Literature course, students are expected to reach the level of proficiency necessary to be successful in the program. We believe our program will put them in this position.
IB teachers need to have IB-approved professional development in the form of online or on-site regional workshops.
In addition, there are professional development programs for the Head of School, and the Board of Governors. It is, therefore, the coordinator’s responsibility to ensure all IB teachers are trained accordingly.
Tesla also organises weekly in-house training and provides teachers with 4-5 periods in the schedule for programme planning. It is to ensure that all teachers have opportunity to share IB experience and methods, so that they can fulfill requirements from both IB and the MOET.
It is probably one of the important questions. It is a key question, so thank you very much for that. The key point about the strengths of Tesla in PYP is partly language. There is a very important concentration of developing the mother tongue Vietnamese, and also developing English. In some schools in Vietnam and other countries as well, the concentration of the programme is in English, and there is less of the mother tongue, and that can make learning for students very hard, and then the mother tongue doesn’t develop. So, the number one point is language. Especially in the PYP, we have lessons in English, we have lessons in Vietnamese.
We have Vietnamese teachers, we have overseas teachers, and they are equal and they are in the timetable, nothing seems in second class. Vietnamese is not the second class language. It is not just the language, it is core because as we all well-know that if you don’t understand your mother tongue, you can not develop the second language English. It is number one, and number two, Tesla School is owned, controlled in Vietnam. It is a Vietnamese school.
It is not like other international schools that are owned and controlled by London, from Australia and Singapore where they are directing and making the decision about what the programme looks like and try to get a lot of foreigners, and they are competing with each other. Tesla is not in that international ownership. It is controlled from within Vietnam. Therefore, it’s responsible for the Vietnamese parents and children can go to that school.
Tesla MYP is a unique teaching and learning methodology, with flexible curricular framework to satisfy all teaching requirements from Vietnam and the world. It promotes an integrated interdisciplinary curriculum with 8 subjects, in which Tesla still offers Vietnamese Language & Literature as the first language, and English as the second language. Social science subjects like History, Geography are taught in Vietnamese to enrich students’ knowledge in Vietnamese culture and history.
Grade 10 students will take the E-Assessment exam to get MYP certificate. MYP students shall have a smooth transition to IBDP, which will provide them with optimal preparation for universities.
Mr. Robin Klymov: There are two things I want to mention here. Of course, some students do enter the DP in Grade 11 and they can do so well. But, it is much better to come into the MYP because they are gaining skills and the academic English is so important for DP. So, students join in in Grade 11, they really struggle in Humanity subject, Science subject. They can be fine in Vietnamese of course and the English is quite good for the English B. But, they haven’t got the thinking, they haven’t analysed and evaluated enough. Students should join the MYP schools wherever they are in the world, because sometimes DP is so hard for some students.
In addition to Personal Project, another skill worth mentioning is Critical Thinking. Together they will improve students’ English and prepare them for Grade 11. That being said, it does not mean every student will have difficulty. Students in gifted schools such as Le Hong Phong, Tran Dai Nghia are very good in English, but they are not well trained in the field of Critical thinking and research skills. They need time for transitioning and adapting to a new, independent learning method.
They will also engage in community service and sharing. International universities are not only looking for students with excellent academic records, but also those who contribute a lot during their high school time. Among the key concepts of MYP is learning through experiencing social and global issues.
Mr. Robin Klymov: Sometimes, people think that MYP is about self-support, that’s not true, that’s not accurate because we have the timetable, teachers… But, what is different is that students are encouraged and pushed to think about what answer they might be coming up with. In other words, it is not about self-support, it is about thinking and coming up with ideas. It’s not just the way for teachers to tell you.
Some parents and even some teachers who don’t know the IB think that students are always doing by project and studying by themselves. That’s completely untrue. Students are really pushed, and stressed in MYP, DP. And that makes it such a good programme that universities around the world like it.
Usually, students wait for teachers to teach them before collecting information or wait for teachers to do the work. However, for project-based learning (Project) or research, teachers require students to have time-management skills which means that students manage their own time, have clear regulations and deadlines… Thanks to ManageBac, parents can see deadlines for assignments, and teachers can also remind students to submit assignments on time through ManageBac. As for the research, it is not the students who do it themselves. One of the requirements of the IB program is that the school must have a library, which is a useful tool with the support of the Librarian (or the Teacher-Librarian).
Teachers teach students how to do homework, find useful information and material, helping students to apply these skills to conduct independent research for their projects. These skills are essential and highly appreciated by universities.