Emma-Maria Robertson is Chief-Executive and Director at Mayfair Academy in Malaga, and helps deliver the school’s Cambridge Global Perspectives programmes, which she says have enriched the curriculum. Below she explains more.
'At my school we strongly believe that it is our duty to prepare our learners for life. We understand the importance of equipping our students with higher learning skills and preparing them for a competitive workforce. We embed the fundamental principles of the Cambridge Global Perspectives programme into every aspect of school life and proudly participate in the World's Largest Lesson, teaching our learners about the Global Goals for sustainable development.
'We began to research Cambridge Global Perspectives when it was extended to Cambridge Primary and Lower Secondary learners in 2018. The programme provides learners with opportunities to develop higher learning skills which we know are going to be imperative for our learners to succeed in life. The programme seemed exciting, stimulating and unique - and lived up to our expectations.
It's about developing skills, not teaching topics
'All members of our teaching team who were to be involved in delivering the programme completed the Introduction to Cambridge Global Perspectives online courses, which are comprehensive and very helpful. I also attended the breakout session on ‘Preparing learners for success in Cambridge Primary and Lower Secondary’ at the Cambridge Schools Conference held in Cambridge, England in 2018.
'I feel it is important to ensure that those delivering the programme understand the fundamental purpose behind Cambridge Global Perspectives - it is not about 'teaching' the topics, but about providing learners with a framework to allow them to develop their skills.
'All of our learners, from age five to 16 (Stages 1-11), follow the programme as a compulsory part of our curriculum. Learners in our Advanced Level may choose to prepare for Cambridge International A Level Global Perspectives & Research - around 50 per cent of our learners joining stage 12 this year did so.
The 'Challenges' engage young learners
'When we first introduced Cambridge Global Perspectives we had one lesson per week for each stage, but we soon realised that the Challenges that make up the Cambridge Primary and Lower Secondary programmes are too engaging, and one lesson per week was not enough. The Challenges focus on developing specific skills, such as collaboration or research, and are taught through topics such as ‘keeping healthy’ or ‘sharing planet Earth.
'This year we are introducing Cambridge Global Perspectives Challenge days - each stage from 1 to 5, as well as 7 and 8, has one day per half-term to focus on their Challenge. Learners are split into groups and work on their Challenge for most of the day before presenting their findings to their peers. Learners in stages 6 and 9 continue to have weekly Cambridge Global Perspectives lessons as they are preparing for their end-of-course Cambridge Checkpoint assessment (an individual research project) and this requires a slightly different lesson structure. Those studying Cambridge IGCSE and International A Level have scheduled lessons each week.
'Our learners further reinforce these skills by participating in inter-house competitions based on one of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, which have a similar format to the Cambridge Global Perspectives Challenges. They are given a topic and must research, collaborate and use their critical-thinking and creativity skills to prepare, design and present their findings.
'We have started encouraging our sixth form learners to assist in the Cambridge Global Perspectives Challenges with the younger stages when they have non-contact sessions. We generally have one sixth former per group, who helps to guide the younger learners by asking questions, such as 'why do you think that source is reliable?' This has proven so far to be very successful. The younger learners love working with the older ones, and the older students have the opportunity to reinforce their own skills by helping and explaining.
Learners become more independent and engaged
'All of our learners are enjoying the opportunity to become more mature in the way they study through Cambridge Global Perspectives, such as researching and considering whether or not a source is reliable. Since beginning the programme they have become more independent and engaged, and are beginning to understand why these skills are so important.
'Their increased awareness on local, national and global issues is also enriching their academic experience and allowing them to draw on what they have discovered through Cambridge Global Perspectives and make connections to other subjects, such as geography, history and English.
'I would highly recommend Cambridge Global Perspectives to other schools. It is engaging, fun and encourages learners to develop the skills that will help them succeed in life. I believe it’s something that all students should do in all schools, everywhere'.