Biltes Policy on Strategic Partners
No school is an island. It is always situated in a community. There are neighbours and there are people – perhaps in local government, maybe business leaders, almost certainly journalists, and many, many others – who help the school to get on its feet and stay there.
As an International Baccalaureate candidate school, we at Biltes try to be good neighbours. We want to be part of community initiatives and to play a role in making our neighbourhoods better, safer, cleaner and more enjoyable places to live. Just as we benefit from others’ interest in and concern for our school, we want to contribute to our community.
For this reason, we consult those around us on the directions we wish to head in so that they feel they are kept informed of and consulted about our growth and expansion. We invite them to school events and are more than happy to hear their suggestions about how the school might give something back to the area in which it is located.
This involves senior managers, teachers and sometimes students meeting people who directly affect our welfare: traffic police, security companies, local businesses and shop owners. We hope that it not only makes our neighbours feel like they are a part of the Biltes family but also that our children learn the valuable lesson that no institution, no family, no individual can live without the active cooperation of those surrounding us. And that means not only taking but giving something back too.
Student Discipline Policy
At Biltes College, we believe that discipline not only sets out essential parameters of acceptable behaviour and speech which children must learn to function in society but also acts as a moral guideline which demonstrates the hurt that we cause others when we speak or behave badly as well as the possible dangers to others’ or their own safety it might cause.
At Biltes College, there are no arbitrary rules which students cannot grasp the reasons for. If they do not see the wisdom of a rule, it is explained to them. We do not ever follow that age-old axiom: “You must do it because I said so!” Neither do we expect students to abide by rules that we, as staff, do not follow ourselves. We do not expect our students to shout in anger – neither do we want our teachers to. We do not want children to hit each other and, accordingly, if a teacher ever hit a child, s/he would be dismissed. In short, our teachers lead by example.
For those who experience great difficulty in conforming to rules, we have a psychologist who visits the school regularly, perhaps to root out any underlying difficulties a badly behaved student might be facing, whether that is bullying, loneliness or isolation, fear, anxiety over exams or more personal issues, or whatever of the very many reasons it might be.
Of course, we always remain in close contact with parents if we believe the child is facing great challenges at school and do our best to work with consistently with them to resolve these difficulties.
However, even though we might pursue many options before using disciplinary measures, these will, of course, act as a last resort. We apply these consistently without favour or prejudice, no matter who the child might be. There are some very few breaches of our disciplinary code which necessitate expulsion, even for a first offence. You can find these listed in our Student Handbook. Of course, they are extremely serious as we would never willingly expel a child. We might also expel a student for less serious breaches if these occur regularly and all other disciplinary measures have failed. Other serious infringements might result in suspension from school for a number of days. Less grievous examples of poor discipline might mean that the child has to stay behind after school – but not on the day the breach has occurred, only when the parents have warning of such a punishment being imposed.
In exercising any disciplinary measure, we always seek to work in the best interests of the child, other members of the school and the neighbourhoods in which we are situated. We always take action only after consultation with parents.
At Biltes, we believe that learning another language helps you to understand other cultures too. And the better we understand others’ traditions, beliefs and values, their histories and current challenges, the better we understand our own. In other words, we see our own reflected through others’ perspectives and that gives us a deeper appreciation of what Turkey is, where it sprang from and, of course, where it should be going.
Of course, that is not the only reason to learn another language. In the contemporary world, those speaking English and other languages have an advantage over those who do not in the job market. We live in a global age where the economic impact of a problem in one country impacts on many others too. Mastery of languages helps us to communicate with others who do not speak Turkish and, so, better understand potential risks and benefits.
Many of our children will wish to study abroad but, before they can do so, they will need to pass a variety of exams – certainly some of these will concern language proficiency.
However, perhaps the most important reason for learning other languages is that it helps us to understand others and this allows us to make foreign friends, to establish links beyond our borders. It reduces the possibility of conflict and heightens the possibility that we can resolve our differences through talking, rather than fighting.
For all these reasons, we believe that learning foreign languages is essential in the modern world and, so, English is taught at Biltes College by fluent, qualified and accomplished teachers, some of whom are ex-pats, guided by an internationally experienced native user of the language. This is not confined to what goes on in the classroom. Rather, English can be heard on the sports field, in the playground, when students are talking to their teachers and when they are making friends on the Internet with children of similar ages in other countries. You will see English everywhere around our schools too. And it is not only the students who learn English but the teachers, office staff and even the people working in the kitchens and as security guards.
But this emphasis on English is not the only way in which Biltes College shows its commitment to language learning. Every Saturday at our schools is language day. This is when our students have the chance to pick up another foreign language – French, German, Spanish and Russian – either in the morning or the afternoon (depending on the campus). This might provide them with their first experience of this tongue. You might say that one morning or afternoon a week is not going to make students fluent and accurate users of those languages, but it might give them a taste and inspire them to learn more themselves at home on the Internet. Besides, if they ever need fluent German, say, to study engineering in Germany, these courses will have provided the basics.
None of this is to say, of course, that learning a foreign tongue takes priority over mastery of their own language. Being able to speak, read, write and understand educated Turkish is fundamental to our educational aims at Biltes. We hope and expect that our students will delight in their own language, be able to use it to persuade, joke, impress and learn more about its origins and development. You will see students’ work in Turkish on display in all our sites and we hope that this will be a gateway through which students are keen to explore their history, literature and culture.
As BILTES College, we believe that homework will be a beneficial tool which will reinforce the lessons learned at school during the week. Besides, it may be handy for the students to go over before the exams, to get the best possible mark permitted by the homework skills. In addition, there are also some other types of homework which take a longer time that will be spent more wisely in order to search new facts, ideas and sources and to discuss all these with each other.
On the other hand, if the homework is too much or repetitive and boring, it may place a strain on a child. At BILTES, we try to ensure that homework is not an answering set following the set of unlimited exercises in memorizing or multiple-choice questions. We hope that our homework will be practical, exploratory and even creative.
In addition, young kids should not sacrifice their valuable time they spend with their families and friends, instead they should continue with their hobbies or do sports. This may be necessary for the elder children to prepare for the exams, but it must never be an endless period. The passion in football or drawing or music is important in developing us as balanced people in terms of excellence.
Specific details of homework requirements are given in the Student Guide and the parents should refer to those to see the number of hours that their children will spend for out-of-school studying skills.
If the parents think their children do too much or too little homework, they should contact the school. We would like to work with the parents to ensure that the balance is right for their children!