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How Boarding at The International School of Penang (Uplands) can support the IB programme

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As an IB World School, Uplands is well placed to offer its students an educational experience second to none. This experience is further enhanced for those Uplanders who are enrolled in both our Boarding and IB programmes. 

One of the main cornerstones of the IB programme is the Learner Profile with its aim of developing “internationally minded people who…help to create a better and more peaceful world.” 

The Learner Profile also promotes, amongst other things, internationally minded people who are balanced and caring, principled thinkers and good communicators. The Uplands Boarding experience, by its very nature, helps to expand and enhance these attributes in a number of ways.

Take for example the Learner Profile’s belief in, “the importance of balancing different aspects of our lives-intellectual, physical and emotional”. 

In response to this, Uplands Boarding has created a structured life for our children which balances the IB programmes stringent academic requirements with a proportionate focus upon a boarder’s physical and emotional development. 

Therefore, your typical Uplands’ Boarder would have the opportunity to take part in a sporting or physical activity at least once a day within the boarding programme. For instance, a boarders’ typical after school schedule would include basketball, football or frisbee after dinner with the option to swim or work-out in our Boarding facilities after Study Hall. 

Boarding’s student leadership structure also encourages our boarders to become better communicators. Each boarding apartment has regularly rotating leadership roles which give every boarder the opportunity to, “collaborate effectively and listen carefully to the perspectives of other individuals and groups”. Therefore, if a boarder in a leadership role is acting in a dogmatic dictatorial way then she will certainly find himself having to face critical feedback from her roommates almost immediately and will have to change her behaviour virtually overnight or receive social sanctions as a consequence.

Furthermore, the fact that all of Boarding’s House parents are teachers at Uplands helps to facilitate excellent communication between school and “home” (home being boarding). 

The Boarding Tutor system has been set up to provide an almost immediate academic/pastoral support system for the student.  

Therefore, should a boarder find herself struggling academically or socially at school, then all it takes is for her class teacher or tutor at school to speak to her Boarding Tutor “at home”. Thus issues that might take three to four days for the parents of a day student to deal with are usually dealt with on the day via our Boarding Tutor system. 

Finally, the IB Learner Profile strives to develop the quality of open-mindedness in a student, encouraging them to critically appreciate their own culture and personal histories as well as the values and traditions of others. 

The fact that our Boarding Houses contain children from at least 17 different nationalities results in a typical apartment consisting of boarders from four or five different countries.  

Therefore, our boarders are compelled to not only try and get on with their fellow roommates, but actually end up establishing deep and long lasting friendships with them. 

Boarding, as an experience in its own right, is a wonderful thing. However, when it is linked to a programme of study such as the IB programme that seeks to promote the very developmental qualities that boarding supports, then you have a match made in heaven.

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