The Overseas School of Colombo secondary school section set out to experience Sri Lanka as part of their “Week Without Walls” programme (WWW).
Students and teachers of the ninth year spent an entire week learning in an unconventional classroom, which focused on Sri Lankan culture, history, ecology, service and outdoor education. Student groups engaged in learning underwater, visited the geographic high points, participated in service study, rode white waters, interacted with other children and cycled on damp roads during the week.
The WWW groups articulated learning goals that link to one or more aspect of the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and Diploma Programme (DP) curriculums. All learning experiences are now built around Interdisciplinary Units (IDU) that fuse two subject areas in approaching a theme or question.
In the MYP One, Two, Three and Four Levels, students participated in whole-class trips that focused on specific learning themes. Level Six class spent four days in and around Kandy exploring themes of culture and history. Grade Seven visited Galle to also explore the themes of history and art. Grade Eight held an interdisciplinary study of coral reefs and socio-economic aspects of beach tourism in Hikkaduwa; students dived and snorkeled underwater to survey coral health. Grade Nine spent five days engaged in outdoor education and personal leadership at the Borderland’s Camp, Kitulgala.
Older groups, Grades Ten and 11 chose from five IDU programmes that emphasised different aspects of the Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) part of the DP curriculum.
One group (IDU) of OSC students and teachers visited Jaffna to learn more about the Northern peninsula. The group also spent time with the SOS Children’s Village. The Cultural Triangle was the destination of a student IDU, which explored and interacted with the area’s art and history. The Venture North group took ten students on a cycling trip in the Habarana/Dambulla area, while the Sri Lanka Highlands group explored the Central Highlands. The group used photo documentation (and a drone) to learn about the unique cloud forest ecology of Sri Lanka’s mountainous interior.
Finally, the Habitat and Housing Service student travelled to the Hambantota area to reconnect with the primary schools that the Overseas School of Colombo helped fund and support after the 2004 tsunami.