ISY Learning Story

Agents for Positive Change: Grade 2 Students Embrace The International School Yangon Mission and Vision through Compassionate Community Building

Our grade 2 students are not just passive recipients of our ISY Mission, Vision, learner attributes, strategic themes, and the United Nations Sustainable Goals. They are actively embracing these principles through a year-long Service Learning project titled ‘Agents for Positive Change.’ This project is a testament to their commitment to fostering compassionate communities. 

This journey began in Quarter 1 with a fundamental question: How can communities work together to bring about positive change? Throughout the year, the key idea reinforced is that communities flourish when there is compassion, especially when individuals make an effort to understand each other better.

The academic year kicked off with a strong focus on creating a compassionate classroom environment, which aligns with ISY’s mission and vision. Activities were designed to improve communication skills and highlight the importance of using kind and compassionate language, followed by an understanding of each of the ISY learner attributes. Students got to know each other through an activity titled ‘Hot Seat,’ where students were able to ask questions of each other to learn more about their classroom community. 

To emphasize the concept of compassion, which is part of our mission statement, the students were introduced to notable figures renowned for their compassionate actions and contributions to positive change, such as Ruby Bridges, along with David Attenborough and Jane Goodall, whose commitment to environmental awareness connected with our strategic theme of sustainability. This global perspective reinforced our vision of ‘being lifelong learners who are a force for positive change in the world.’ Guiding questions prompted reflection on the behaviors of compassionate individuals and the role of the United Nations sustainable goals in fostering positive change.

After the scaffolding work was completed, students were encouraged to make personal connections by identifying ways to enact positive change within the school community. Learning more about the ISY community became a focus through the development of ISY buddies. The students interviewed their buddies to learn more about them and spent time with them every other week through shared reading activities. The buddies supported the students’ learning by giving them feedback on their reading fluency, supporting them in identifying where they were doing well, and identifying goals for them to practice for the next time. The students, in turn, visited their buddies in their workplaces to learn more about what they do. They improved their interviewing skills by creating a list of questions to ask during their visit. 

Their time with their buddies culminates in a cookie party to celebrate their connections. The students learned how to follow a recipe and then made cookies for their buddies.  They are also creating a book to share with the ISY community to showcase what they learned about their buddies. 

Through their interactions with their buddies, our students learned not only about the people who work in our community but also how they contribute to school life. This initiative is not just about building positive relationships across the school; it is about fostering a deeper understanding of compassion through personal connections. Moreover, it aligns with our strategic theme of belonging, helping our students develop a sense of how we all belong as one ISY community. 

This work grade 2 students are undertaking supports a nurturing environment at ISY where students feel comfortable expressing themselves and seeking help when needed. It has also supported the development of positive relationships within the school community. This wonderful work supports the strategic themes, which in turn support our guiding statements.