Fostering relationships through virtual exchange | Aga Khan Academies

Fostering relationships through virtual exchange

20 March 2020

In preparation for their annual exhibitions, Grade 5 students from the Aga Khan Academies in Hyderabad and Maputo had a virtual conversation discussing the topics and ideas they will be presenting. The students in Hyderabad gave their colleagues in Maputo a closer look into their booths which prompted students to draw similarities and parallels between their work.

The exhibition is the culminating, collaborative experience in the final year of the PYP. It provides an authentic platform for students to explore, document and share their understanding of an issue or opportunity of personal significance. They undertake their research both individually and with their peers, together with the guidance of a mentor. Through the exhibition, students demonstrate their ability to take responsibility for their learning—and their capacity to take action—as they are actively engaged in planning, presenting and assessing learning.

The exhibition is also a powerful demonstration of student agency. Throughout this exhibition process, students delve into not only the world around them, but into themselves. It helps them develop life skills, understand their strengths and weaknesses and most importantly help them experience high pressure situations, which is a reality in today’s life. Some thrive in pressure while some crumble under them. These experiences do transform them - they bring a change in their thoughts actions and way of life.

Virtual exchanges have been gaining traction as a mode of international education. By connecting students online across borders, virtual exchange is a “third space” of international education and complements the vision of the curriculum in championing locally rooted but internationally minded students.

Ahead of their exhibition on Friday, 13 March 2020, five groups of students from the AKA Hyderabad shared their work on topics ranging from sustainability, inclusivity to mental health and animal welfare. With technical support from their teachers, the exchange gave an opportunity to the students to learn from their peers in a different part of the world.

This inter-Academy exchange, which was the first of its kind for the Grade 5s, has given inspiration to the students in Maputo for their forthcoming exhibition in May. After the call, students shared their reflections on the session. Teacher Coach from the AKA Maputo, Idah Khan-O’Neill shared that students appreciated the use of mathematical elements in each booth; a feature that they hope to add to their work.

“Looking at how the Grade 5s in Hyderabad approached their topics gave our students the opportunity to understand and appreciate the same issues with a new perspective,” shared Messias Chale, a teacher from the Primary Years Programme at AKA Maputo.