Research projects

In this increasingly competitive world, parents often wonder how they can help their children better prepare for the rigors of higher education and even future em- ployment. Tactics vary widely across the board, but leadership positions, research skills and passion are all vital components for future success. To meet these impor- tant goals, some families are discovering the impressive merits of independent re- search projects. Research projects provide innovative

extra-curricular activities that allow students to plan, conduct and present an original research study. Tey challenge students to go beyond the requirements of their school curriculum and engage with rigorous empirical work – the sort of activity that most would only encounter in the later stages of university education. Tese new and sometimes unconventional ways to prepare students for further study and their place in society can take many forms and focus on a variety of subjects that cater to students’ interests, but they can all help prepare your children for fu- ture study and employment by exposing them to valuable research-based learning experience. At the International School of London

(ISL), the Research Institute is partnered with Dr Robert Sharples, a lecturer in lan-

24 FOCUS The Magazine January/February 2020

guage and education at the University of Bristol. Students who participate in the re- search projects are required to work collab- oratively towards one research question and are supported by two members of staff and Dr Sharples. Tey act as mentors in designing a methodology and collecting original data in order to answer this ques- tion. Since dissemination of findings is key to the conclusion of this work, students not only learn how to find the answers to their questions but discover the best ways to communicate their findings to a wider audience. Tis interdisciplinary and col- laborative work will provide students with a well-rounded experience that can be ap- plied to all future school and employment opportunities. A past student of ISL’s Research

Institute writes: “It was very ‘mature’ re- search rather than just on computers, on Google…going out to people, conducting interviews, finding the data, organising the data properly.” Another states: “Trough- out the process I learned how to look at the data and how to explain what the data was showing me. I now understand the in- formation it is giving me and I can put it into words.” It is clear that research partic- ipants have learned much from their time both in the classroom and in the world. One aspect of the projects delivered

“These new and sometimes unconventional ways can help prepare your children for future study and employment by exposing them to a valuable research- based learning experience.”

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