News, Info and IB Student and Staff Blogs

December 9, 2016
by Ann Lautrette

TED X, TOK and Tinsel

And so we’ve made it! To the end of a 15 week term, nearly half the school year!

Year 13s are in desperate need of a holiday after a term of IAs and university applications, and Year 12 need some time to reflect now that the reality of IB has set in: Yes you get study periods and freedom, but you also get more work at a high academic level.

Over the past few weeks we’ve had many standout events in IB: IME conference, International week, R U OK? Week, our ATL conference and most recently TEDX. Our Y13 students delivered spectacular speeches which highlighted just how far they’ve come in both public speaking and their critical thought. In core with Year 12 we’ve used those speeches to assess how our students are getting on with TOK thinking.

TOK requires students to take concepts such as Areas of Knowledge and Ways of Knowing, Shared and Personal Knowledge and the Knowledge Framework, and to create a Knowledge Question which they can attempt to answer (even if they can’t) by applying it to Real Life Situations and exploring the implications. It sounds like a whole new language! And it is. It sounds really hard. And it is!

We asked our Year 12s to use one of the TEDX talks as the basis for a blog post examining the talk from a TOK perspective.

Overall we’ve been quite impressed with the results and I wanted to highlight a few of the outstanding posts here. Not only because they make a really interesting read, but because those year 12s who did less well on their own posts can use these as examples of what works.

In her discussion of Nathania’s politics Ted Talk, Aletta asks ‘who controls the mind of masses in politics? Who controls our emotions and desires that lead us to make these decisions? Second, how do we know that what we believe in is right? Is self-conviction in politics dangerous?’

Mathieu considers “To what extent can Mathematical models alone apply to real life scenarios involving other Areas of Knowledge?” in his post referencing Wilson’s traffic solution.

Chloe not only writes a great TOK post, but also demonstrates what an ideal student blog should look like.

A little light holiday reading for Year 12!

To all of you celebrating, a very Merry Christmas: enjoy the turkey and tinsel if that’s your thing!

To everyone else: Happy holidays and a very Happy New Year.

See you in January!

October 21, 2016
by Ann Lautrette


As a whole half term has now passed in IB for our Year 12 students, I wanted to take the time to highlight some of the fantastic blogs which are developing.

Remember, the IB blog serves multiple purposes. Firstly, students have to keep a CAS reflective journal as evidence of their engagement in CAS and their development towards meeting the CAS learning outcomes. Students use their blogs for this journal. Secondly, students need to (very soon) keep a researcher’s reflective space as they work through the Extended Essay. Students will use the blog for this. Finally, the blog is a positive digital footprint, a way of sharing your experiences as an IB student and creating an e-portfolio which can be shared with university admissions and beyond. It demonstrates your ability to grow, reflect and communicate – key skills required by employers, but often lacking in students. The blog also creates a ready made personal statement – which will come in handy next year when applying for universities.

So what does a great Year 12 student blog look like? Well there’s Alfred’s highly reflective residential post on his blog, and Chloe’s outstanding blog in which she’s writing book reviews as well as doing what’s been asked of her with flair. Vanessa  has an excellent written style and sense of audience in her engaging blog, and Saskia’s chapter style is an engaging approach to attracting an audience. Kyle is developing a great blogging voice and Zelina has captured the perfect balance of image and engaging text in her lovely blog. Josephine’s posts are thoroughly enjoyable to read and enhanced with photographs. She also created a very well designed infographic about herself and her passions. Michael has a well organised blog, a great blogging voice and is using his blog to talk about his music production as well as his IB journey. Looking forward to that!

These blogs are great examples of how positive the blogging platform can be both for students and for readers. I hope those of you who have yet to change your theme or who have short and poorly thought out posts can take a lesson from the Superbloggers above in how to create great content.

And if you are concerned about how much writing you have to do on your blog, as we’ve told you before, the blog does not always have to be written. A simple ‘talking head’ video, or a Vlog, can do the trick just as well when you don’t feel like writing. That said, it’s a good idea to write sometimes, because the real audience for your blog improves your ability to write – and who doesn’t need that??

Well done to our Top Bloggers – looking forwarding to seeing some much improved blogging in the next few weeks.





September 17, 2016
by Ann Lautrette

2 + 2 = fish

At BSJ our mission is ‘to inspire, challenge and nurture for excellence’.

But what does it mean ‘to inspire’? What is ‘inspiration’? And why is it so important?

What got me thinking about this was actually a lack of inspiration. I try to write a blog post every Friday, but yesterday I didn’t have anything particularly interesting that I felt inspired to write about. So, last night I sought the help of the littlest member of my family…

‘Oscar’, I said over dinner, ‘I can’t think of anything to write my blog post about today. Any ideas?’

And Oscar said ‘2+2=fish’.

Like a good student of TOK I didn’t just dismiss this out of hand. Rather I asked ‘what do you mean?’ And eight year old Oscar took a post it and a pen and showed me that yes indeed 2+2=fish:

Not Oscar’s drawing: From: https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-explanation-of-this-puzzle-2-+-2-Fish-3-+-3-8-7-+-7-Triangle

So this inspiration from my son inspired me to write about inspiration. Google’s dictionary defines ‘inspiration’ as ‘being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.’ Now that seems both easy and difficult at the same time. All you really need is mental stimulation – ok that’s the easy bit. But, where do you get that from? And how can school ‘inspire’ you?

Reflecting on this, I think the first step to being inspired is to be aware. You really have to pay attention to what’s going on around you because actually this is likely your source of inspiration. I’m always struck by the frequency with which students turn to the internet when asked for ideas. In literature we give students texts to read and one of the first things they do is look up how someone else has interpreted it, but actually this is really not the point of IB literary study – plus literature is about making meaning for you as much as it is about critically assessing the meanings others have made. Similarly in TOK, we’ve started the essay with our year 13 students and they cannot go online to check what they should write their essays about, they have to use what they’ve learned through both shared and personal knowledge and apply TOK concepts to it. This is the whole point of TOK. In the same way, the Extended Essay requires students to come up with their own idea for a research topic and question – there is no point doing what someone else has already done – that won’t add anything to the body of knowledge already in the world and it isn’t the point of the Extended Essay.

So the IB Core is asking students to be inspired and to have inspiration. As a school then, what we do is create the space and the experiences where inspiration can happen. I’m writing this while watching my older son create an animal which can survive in the desert. He’s writing about how his Sponge Spike Snake is covered in spikes which can soak up and store water when needed, but can also turn into hard spikes for protection and sand-digging. This is his Year 5 homework. And I know that this comes after work on animal adaptation and survival and a trip to Taman Mini to see how animals survive. He’s really enjoying the creative process and so I think that’s the perfect example of how, at BSJ, we create that space for inspiration.

But, creating experiences is one part of the picture, the other is the student’s ability to pay attention to those experiences, to reflect on them and to produce something creative out of them.

It’s not easy to pay attention these days. Distraction is everywhere and we are more and more multitasking with technology. How then do we just stop, and pay attention to the world around us? The popularity of mindfulness seems to be a response to this.

So to seek inspiration and to become creative, perhaps practising focus and managing distraction is a great starting point. If we can fully experience what happens around us and stay in the moment we can find inspiration. Perhaps this is something our IB students can think about when they are stuck for ideas to blog about. What’s happened around you? What did it make you think about? Can you apply TOK concepts to it and think out loud in a blog post?

And, if you really get stuck for inspiration, you can always ask an eight year old.




September 2, 2016
by Ann Lautrette

Watch this Space…

Awesome Year 12 blogs to come!

So we’ve finally launched blogging with Year 12 and they are up and running. We’ve talked about building a positive digital footprint, about the importance of your online brand and about the need to show off your creative and original side. And so now we have the blogs to do it!

Over the course of last year our current Year 13s built some fantastic digital portfolios which really demonstrate the amazing work they do in CAS, their critical thinking ability in TOK and how they’ve developed those all important Approaches to Learning. This week we’ve been chasing up CAS Activity with Year 13 – Activity has to be target focused and students need to be able to show development in a sustained physical activity – part of a balanced and healthy lifestyle!

It’s great to read their blogs and see that they have indeed reflected on their strengths and weaknesses in their chosen sport – like Nicole’s Volleyball achievements or Marcus’s badminton exploits. Here in the IB office Mr Brown and Ms Barnard are setting a great example by running the Bromo half marathon this weekend – good luck! For Ms Barnard it’s her second half marathon in a week after she ran in Bali last weekend – fantastic achievement!

Speaking of marathons, on the 23rd October the Jakarta marathon kicks off, we have about a dozen Year 12 students who’ve signed up to run either 10K or the half marathon to raise money for Sekolah Bisa! There’s also another 8 or 9 students who’ll be planning some fundraising events in school – watch this space for more information.

Next week we’ve got John Cannings, IB Core expert coming in to spend the afternoon with Year 12 talking TOK, and the IME Conference next Friday.

Busy as usual, but exciting times as always.




August 26, 2016
by Ann Lautrette

Welcome Back and Welcome to BSJIB

So here we are, after a long break, back at BSJ and on the road again with a new Year 12 cohort and a new/old Year 13 cohort.personal-1044111_1280

Whatever you did over the holiday, I hope it was an adventure; relaxing and a lot of fun at the same time. I’m sure for Year 13 it included some work, and for Year 12 it included a long and anxious wait for IGCSE results which finally arrived yesterday. A huge congratulations to the Year 12 students, who did extremely well, and we here in IB are feeling lucky to have two fantastic year groups to work with this year.

So what’s new? Well, Batik Fridays for IB students launched today and we’re pleased to see a number of students taking the opportunity to demonstrate their love of Indonesian culture and heritage.

For Year 12 students in core we are bringing in a new skills development support programme called Callido, which is an interactive learning platform developed by ex-IB students after graduating from Harvard and Stanford. We’ve been working through core to develop Approaches to Learning (ATLs: Research, self-management, thinking, social and communication skills) as these are the top skills needed by employers but lacking in graduates according to current research.   Callido is a new weapon in our battle to ensure that BSJ IB students leave here as exceptional graduates with all the skills needed to be future leaders.

We’re just getting started in core with Year 12, but expect to see their blogs up and running soon. Through blogging we are developing great communication skills, improving writing ability and learning how to create our own brand: a positive digital footprint which represents us to the world. If you haven’t read our Year 13 blogs yet, this could be the time you head over to the blogs page and pick a few to read. They are a fantastic insight into their engagement in CAS, TOK and their skills development.

We’ve also got some exciting events coming up at BSJ, organised by our IB students. At IME Conference 2016 there’s an 20160826_101249incredible line-up of influential speakers thanks to the organisation of our Year 13 students, led by Narendra, Audrey, Philippe and Rahmani, amongst others. The event, on 9th September, will be an exclusive opportunity in Indonesia to hear the speakers on one stage and its a testament to our students’ hard work and powers of persuasion that they have managed to make this happen.

Coming up in October, we also have a TED X event organised by Bryan. Again, this is shaping up to be an exciting afternoon of young, influential voices. Both of these events really do demonstrate the development of project management skills, and the maturity of our students – and they make us exceptionally proud!

Leadership opportunities abound at BSJ, with the launch of the executive student council. Year 12 students wanting to make a difference at BSJ should fill in an application form later today. There’ll be more on other leadership roles soon so watch this space!

Through core, students will be modelling what it means to be an IB student at BSJ through two key events involving all IB students. Year 12 will be picking up the baton from Year 13 and running our second ATL conference – this time for Year 7 students. And, Year 13 will be focussing on caring conversations and well-being as they prepare to lead a week of RUOK?

All in all, an exciting term ahead – busy, challenging of course, but exciting. And students, it is worth remembering that BSJ is not like other schools. The opportunities you get here unique – don’t pass them by!


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