International School Manila

Integrity - Service - Merit

Transdisciplinary Skills and Dispositions

The Transdisciplinary Skills and Dispositions were developed to further unpack and articulate ISM’s Mission, Core Values, and School-Wide Student Goals into measureable and observable skills and attributes. The Transdisciplinary Skills and Dispositions have been written in a student-friendly language and are communicated to students during each unit of study. Unit writing teams also discuss them when planning their units to ensure adequate exposure to each element over the duration of the course.

Rationale for Transdisciplinary Skills

The ISM Transdisciplinary Skills are derived from the ISM Mission and School-Wide Student Goals. They are the tools that learners need to access and demonstrate learning across the curriculum, to develop a deeper understanding through continuous inquiry and action, to become self-directed and independent learners, and ultimately to be productive members of a global community. The teaching of these skills is the responsibility of all teachers in all subjects. Different curricular areas provide opportunities for discrete focus on specific skills, but the goal is to be aware of the transfer of each skill between disciplines.

The transdisciplinary skills enable students to develop and articulate their understanding of big ideas and concepts so that they see the links between what they do in a classroom and how it is applicable or transferrable in other areas of their lives.  The development of these skills has been closely connected to the creation of the school-wide dispositions; by designing the criteria for both areas concurrently, a purposeful focus has been placed on making connections between both the assessment methods of these skills as well as the process for student self-reflection.  

An awareness of one’s own ability to utilize the transdisciplinary skills is a key component of learning how to learn (meta learning) and, coupled with the ability to use multiple forms of technology, will equip the students with the 21st century competencies inherent in global citizenship, sustainable solutions and positive action.

Transdisciplinary Skills

  • Communication

Students demonstrate effective and accurate communication of their understanding in a particular content area by being able to speak, write, read, listen and use visual media with attention to audience and purpose.  Within a specific course of study, students should be able to show that they can develop or demonstrate their knowledge about content-specific information through these methods of communication as appropriate to the task.

  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Students demonstrate the ability to think critically by analyzing a problem, and exploring and generating ideas. They try different ways to tackle a problem, working to find innovative solutions and outcomes that are of value.

  • Connection and Collaboration

Students are informed, principled and active, demonstrating the ability to work cooperatively towards shared decision-making that reflects their responsibility towards others, other species and their environment, leading to sustainable and positive action.  

  • Personal Management and Reflection

Students demonstrate personal management skills through effective goal-setting and organization; students demonstrate thoughtful reflection on and acceptance of their progress, and also demonstrate taking action for improvement based on meaningful feedback.

  • Research

Students demonstrate skill in the analytical, creative and systematic process of collecting, organizing and evaluating information for the advancement of knowledge.

Rationale for Dispositions

The Dispositions derive from the ISM Mission and School-Wide Student Goals. They are the behaviors that learners need to be aware of throughout the learning process as they impact the outcome of their actions. Students need to be able to recognize when they exhibit a behavior themselves or observe it in others, know that they make an active choice in the way they behave, and understand what makes them inclined to adopt a behavior. This requires them to ask three basic questions:

  1. How am I behaving in a certain way?
  2. When am I behaving in a certain way?
  3. What makes me decide to behave in a certain way?  

The teaching and modeling of these behaviors is a shared responsibility of all members of the ISM community. Different curricular areas provide opportunities for discrete focus on specific behaviors. The goal is for students to be aware of how dispositions affect the way in which we learn and how they manifest themselves in any situation. 


  • Self-Directed

The understanding that an individual should determine the way in which he or she interacts with problems and dilemmas faced each day. To behave in a way that is Self-Directed, students ask questions, self-advocate, and persevere.

  • Balanced

The understanding that an individual has many facets of his or her personality that need to be nurtured and developed. To behave in a way that is Balanced, students make decisions based on their interests and needs, think metacognitively, and know how to effectively contribute to their overall well-being.

  • Creative

The understanding that an individual has a unique ability to look at problems from several points of view. To behave in a way that is Creative, students understand and know how to approach an issue, think flexibly, and are thoughtful and deliberate in considering a challenge.  

  • Ethical/Fair

The understanding that an individual should embody trustworthiness and honesty. To behave in a way that is Ethical/Fair, students consider the implications of choices made and actions taken, remain open-minded, and are true to their word.

  • Responsible

The understanding that an individual makes a difference through his or her thoughts and actions. To behave in a way that is Responsible, students must strive for accuracy and precision when completing a task, take ownership for their actions and live with integrity.

  • Caring

The understanding that an individual has behaviors that impact the relationships he or she has with others and the environment.  To behave in a way that is Caring, students listen to others, think interdependently, and appreciate the ideas and emotions of others as well as their own.