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Teaching Children How to Think Internationally

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I'm Carolyn Presutti with the VOA Special English Education Report, from | 

The International Primary Curriculum is an idea that began in Britain eight years ago. Today this curriculum is taught in more than one thousand primary schools in fifty-eight countries, including the United States.Educator Martin Skelton co-wrote the International Primary Curriculum, or IPC. He says for children to learn and succeed, they need a program that permits them to learn individually. He says the idea with the curriculum is to help today's children become good citizens of the world and twenty-first century leaders. He says most of world problems are going to be solved internationally. No single country is going to solve the environment or terrorism. Mr. Skelton says the curriculum has activities built around the development of "international mindedness" starting from the age of five. The British American School of Los Angeles is one of a few American private schools that teach the International Primary Curriculum. Second grade teacher Alison Kerr says the main goal is to engage children in the learning process. This term, for example, her class is learning about people important in history. She says the children dressed like famous people. They had to research and bring ten written clues and the rest of the class had to guess who the people were.The British School in Boston held a fair for students and parents called Around the World in a Day. Emma Northey, head of primary learning at the school, says fifty-one nationalities were represented. She described one activity designed to teach about similarities among different cultures. She says the children were each given a passport. They knew that they were going around the world in a day. Ms. Northey said: "We told them 'You have to come back with two similarities that you had seen between the different cultures.' Even the three-year-olds came back to me saying 'Gosh, you know everybody writes. Some people write going down. Some people write from left to right, some from right to left.'"Another educator, Kate Foy of the British School in Washington, says the teacher's role is to enable students to discover for themselves. For VOA Special English, I'm Carolyn Presutti. Tell us if you have experience with the International Primary Curriculum and what you think of it. Share your comments at or on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English. 

(Adapted from a radio program broadcast 10March2011)

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