The ET Journal Spring Issue 2022

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The EARCOS Triannual JOURNAL A Link to Educational Excellence in East Asia

Featured in this Issue Cover Story How Visionary Schools are Becoming Bully-free Leading from the Middle Give Your Team the Term Break They Deserve Curriculum Language Arts and Science: Design Thinking Across Subjects



The ET Journal is a triannual publication of the East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS), a nonprofit 501(C)3, incorporated in the state of Delaware, USA, with a regional office in Manila, Philippines. Membership in EARCOS is open to elementary and secondary schools in East Asia which offer an educational program using English as the primary language of instruction, and to other organizations, institutions, and individuals. OBJECTIVES AND PURPOSES * To promote intercultural understanding and international friendship through the activities of member schools. * To broaden the dimensions of education of all schools involved in the Council in the interest of a total program of education. * To advance the professional growth and welfare of individuals belonging to the educational staff of member schools. * To facilitate communication and cooperative action between and among all associated schools. * To cooperate with other organizations and individuals pursuing the same objectives as the Council. EARCOS BOARD OF TRUSTEES Andrew Davies, President (International School Bangkok) Stephen Cathers, Vice President (International School Suva) David Toze, Treasurer (International School Manila) Margaret Alvarez, Past President, Director Emeritus (ISS International School) Saburo Kagei (St. Mary’s International School) Barry Sutherland (American International School Vietnam) Laurie McLellan (Nanjing International School) Kevin Baker (American International School Guangzhou) Elsa H. Donohue (Vientiane International School) Catriona Moran (Saigon South International School) Lawrence A. Hobdell (ex officio), Office of Overseas Schools REO EARCOS STAFF Edward E. Greene, Executive Director Bill Oldread, Assistant Director Kristine De Castro, Assistant to the Executive Director Elaine Repatacodo, ELC Program Coordinator Giselle Sison, ETC Program Coordinator Ver Castro, Membership & I.T. Coordinator Webmaster, Professional Learning Weekend, Sponsorship & Advertising Coordinator Robert Sonny Viray, Accountant RJ Macalalad, Accounting Assistant Rod Catubig Jr., Office Staff East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS) Brentville Subdivision, Barangay Mamplasan, Binan, Laguna, 4024 Philippines Phone: +63 (02) 8779-5147 Mobile: +63 928 507 4876

In this Issue 2



Women’s Leadership


Hybrid Learning




Service Learning


Green & Sustainable


Ecovengers (CCA) Tote Bags - Personal Project By Zaya


Campus Development


Press Release

Message from the Executive Director 3

EARCOS Upcoming Events


Cover Story


Special Feature


Leading from the Middle





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How Visionary Schools are Becoming Bully-free By Nicholas Carlisle

Twenty-one Years of Good to Great By The IS Manila Team

Give Your Team the Term Break They Deserve By Michael Iannini


Top 6 Trends in International School Recruitment By Cindy Adair

Human Rights Education

Teaching About, Through, and For Human Rights By Nadia Kashem Kim, Jared Rock, and Jessica B. Terbrueggen

Action Research

Classroom Vibes: Vertical Teacher Collaboration In-Action By Caroline Copeland, Lorna Faber-Mitchell, Leah Holliday, and Haley Osbourne

Supporting Student’s Initiative

A Student led Collaboration Among EARCOS Member and Affiliate Schools By Maria Socorro “Choco” E. Laplana & Dr. Ted Mockrish


Creating Utopia By Jeffery Heitmann Lessons From the ISB Wellbeing Survey Data Project By Dale Plotzki Language Arts and Science: Design Thinking Across Subjects By Matthew Francis and Brian Benck How to Universally Design for Learning for Students with Dis/Abilities and Multilingual Learners By Casey Siagian, Hay Mar, and Natasha Bellande Building Reception Math Skills During Home Learning By Ms. Louise Graham and Mrs. Emily Turner-Williams ELL Strategies to Reach All Learners in the Science Classroom By Gina Lappé and Kent Dwyer

Empowering Future Leaders with GenHERation® By Katlyn Grasso

Collaboration between Tech, Faculty and Health Teams Results in Effective Hybrid Learning Solutions By Akofa Wallace

Mentoring Students with Analogue Photography– a personal journey By John Miller

Shifting from Global to Local: Service in Action at American International School Hong Kong By Meghan Robertson

Living Green Walls Brighten Up Winter at the International School of Beijing By Matthew Yamatin

Designed For Learning By Nasci Lobo


ISS Appoints Inaugural Director of DEIJ The Applied Economics Award 2021 Winners EARCOS School wins the Teaching and Learning Award 2022 GK STAMFORD


High School Art Gallery

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Spring 2022 Issue 1

Message from the Executive Director While much has been accomplished and learned over the past two years, and while there have been true achievements meriting celebration, the shift away from what was once a comfortable sense of normalcy has been profound, painful, and long for all international schools in our region. Many of our member schools have taken significant hits in enrollment that will take another several years from which to recover. Many have seen unsustainable faculty and leadership departures and have faced an entirely new landscape in recruitment. Some schools in our region have been able to stay open for face-to-face instruction for the lion’s share of the pandemic while others, sadly, have been restricted to on-line learning and have only reopened to students in the past two months. And those that had managed to stay open for face-toface instruction have recently had to go virtual due to new surges. Each school community has its own unique story, but all those stories illuminate resilience, courage and imagination in the face of the unexpected. With this in mind, I have to admit to having been quite surprised when I read through the stack of manuscripts submitted for this issue of the EARCOS Tri-Journal. With all the challenges so many across the region have been facing, I wondered if people would be able to find the energy and time to prepare manuscripts to share with colleagues. My worries were not just unsubstantiated, but obliterated once I saw the number, the quality and diversity of the submissions that now make up the latest issue of this journal. It is clear testimony to the richness of the EARCOS region that so many of our colleagues have found time to continue the community of collaboration that has long been the hallmark of our region. And it is nothing short of remarkable that despite the serious challenges, so many schools and so many classrooms are engaged in exciting innovation and the very highest quality of teaching and learning. The articles in this issue underscore just how much creativity and dedication exists across the region. Like so many of you I am looking forward to next year when we can share ideas and programs in person with one another. Please save the dates for the Leadership Conference in Bangkok, October 27 to 29, 2022 and the Teachers’ Conference in Kota Kinabalu, March 23 to 25, 2023. Before closing, I would like to point to two of the many outstanding contributions to this issue. First, we are indebted to Nicholas Carlisle of the Power of Zero for his exceptional insights on schools that have successfully confronted bullying—an issue that has thrived during hybrid and on-line learning. At a time when international bullying has shocked and shaken the world, can there be any doubt that all of us in education need to redouble our efforts to help young people understand the pain and social illness that is bullying? Secondly, as noted in the article from the IS Manila Leadership Team, after 21 incredible years, David Toze, Superintendent of International School Manila, has decided to step away and begin a new chapter in his life. David has served as a close advisor and friend (and occasional tormentor, it might be said by some) to so many across our region. His wisdom, warmth and deep concern for others were keys to all he and his colleagues at ISM achieved over the past two decades. It is no exaggeration to say that the impressive growth of International School Manila under David’s leadership is a story that defies comparison and is known across the region. Many may not fully appreciate, however, that David’s dedication to EARCOS for 16 years as a board member, treasurer and president helped it rise and thrive and become the organization it has become. The EARCOS Board will miss him terribly. Thank you, David, for your friendship, your guidance, your humor and the many, many gifts you have given to so many of us in the EARCOS region. May the sun shine brightly on you and yours in the years ahead. And to each of you, thank you for your ongoing support of and belief in this vital community of international educators, students and families. Enjoy learning from your colleagues and friends in the pages ahead and please save the dates for the return to our annual conferences!

Edward E. Greene, Ph.D. EARCOS Executive Director

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Those Who Can, Teach: A Celebration of the Teaching Life with Todd Shy Saturday, September 10, 2022 9:00 AM HKT

This webinar will celebrate the teaching life and suggest ways to attract the very best, most creative minds to this glorious but unsung work.


University Fair CIS-EARCOS INSTITUTE ON INTERNATIONAL ADMISSION & GUIDANCE Date: 23–24 September 2022 Time: 08:00–18:00 Indochina Time (ICT) Location: Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

We’re excited to return to Bangkok for this important event in Asia, bringing together international schools and universities. Join us for a dynamic and intimate atmosphere where guidance counsellors and university admissions professionals support and network with each other. The schedule is designed to maximise networking opportunities so that counsellors can explore the many exciting worldwide study prospects for their students using the latest admissions information. CALL FOR PROPOSALS

REGISTRATION Spring 2022 Issue 3

Michele shows you a video called “Fat faces” on Tik-Tok and her face is the lead image. She breaks down in tears and confides that she has no friends. Bao-Zhi has been yelling at his Filipino teacher and was caught passing a note to the other students written in English calling her “dumb ass”. Benjie has repeated headaches and is missing school. You discover that his classmates mock him for being a mainlander.


These situations are typical of the bullying that educators across the region deal with on a daily basis. Teachers and school administrators use a combination of common sense and consequences to turn these students around. When nothing else seems to work, schools reach out to us at No Bully for help.

How Visionary Schools are Becoming Bully-free

I was one of those students When I was 12 years old my parents enrolled me in a private school in London. I was younger than any of the students in my class. The other boys would take my possessions and scatter them around the school yard and because I was smaller than any of the students they called me the runt. But the main part of their aggression was focused on the fact that my parents were not particularly well off and for that the students looked down upon us. Although I could not have articulated at the time my bullying was based on socioeconomic differences.

By Nicholas Carlisle CEO of Power of Zero

My school didn’t know what to do about my situation. That is typical of so many schools who have good intentions but have never been trained how to prevent bullying and respond effectively when it happens. And it was my experience from my school days that motivated me to start the No Bully program so that students now would not have to endure the bullying that so many of us had to deal with when we were young. The problem is not the bullies It’s easy - especially when parents are breathing down your neck to solve things - to become fixated on the bullying students. One of the most respected schools in the region brought us in when a video of the boys simulating sex with one of the girls in the school yard went viral. The boys were thirteen or fourteen years old and they had jumped on the girl and filmed this at recess. They thought that this was funny. The parents of the girl wanted the boys to be expelled. Our first order of business when we go into a school is to widen the lens and to help them see that the problem is not the bullies. Or perhaps more accurately, not just the bullies. Current thinking no longer sees bullying as simply an issue between the target, the bully and bully-followers. Bullying is first made possible and then perpetuated within the context of the student peer group. It is impacted positively or negatively by the wider school culture as defined by the teachers and administrators. The bullseye chart shows

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the various groups or “systems” that influence any incident of bullying. The influence of all these systems needs to be addressed if a school is to successfully remedy a bullying situation.

• • •

Did the teachers use sarcasm or other power plays? Were parents bad mouthing and scapegoating individual students or forming their own cliques? Had the administrators solidified into labeling this class as “the problem class”? (Always a bad idea—labels lead to stuck thinking.)

We then moved on to creating a plan for shifting the hostile environment. We explored with the team of teachers how to address the influences within each circle and bring students, parents and teachers together in a different way. And part of our solution was focused teaching with this class around empathy and tolerance building - in this case the difference between flirting and hurting. We have learned a great deal over the years about the problem class from our work in schools. What follows are our top recommendations. •

For this school our arrival on the scene was the beginning of an examination of the culture of their middle years. It had become a place where flirting had turned into hurting and there was a pattern of sexual jokes and boys mocking girls. The teachers found themselves tongue tied in the face of this, not knowing what to say. Talking to students about sex was a minefield. Bullying issues are almost impossible to talk about Sex is really hard to talk about. So too is race and the color of a student’s skin, and their religion and the fact that students have different levels of ability. It becomes even harder when we get into subjects like a student’s sexual orientation, gender expression and identity. The problem that we face as educators is that most bullying is about differences and that if we are truly to address bullying we have to be able to talk about these differences. The fallback position is not to talk about it - but if we do that we are condoning the very behavior that we are wanting to change. At No Bully, when we work with schools, we train all the adults on campus how to recognize and interrupt bullying, what to do when bullying becomes harassment and how to address the differences that so often underlie these behaviors. Much of our work is helping teachers develop the language for intervening. We look at phrases that are effective and give the teachers plenty of practice. Interrupting bullying is similar to building your muscles. You have to put in the practice so that when you are faced with a situation you don’t become tongue-tied but know the words to use. How do you turn around a problem class? In this school we had a problem class on our hands. We have all had that excruciating fifth grade class of boys or seventh grade class of girls. It seems like nothing will induce them to settle down and behave. We were encountering a systemic problem with the seventh grade. And systemic problems call for systemic solutions. We prepared the school to convene a meeting of all the teachers and staff who worked with this grade level. We used the No Bully bullseye chart (above) to analyze how each system was contributing to the problem.

• •

Systemic solutions at the student level range from rearranging the classroom (removing all existing paper on walls, repainting the classroom, changing the seating plan) to creating a class challenge (a class play or construction project) to adopting a completely new approach to teaching (e.g. team teaching or project-based learning with carefully structured teams of students). Create systemic change at the teacher level. Stop thinking of them as the problem class, stay away from put-downs and sarcasm. At the parent level, hold a parent meeting e.g. a mandatory parent meeting in which fathers and sons work together in one room and mothers and daughters in another room, in which parents listen and then share their experiences of getting along when they were in school. Then bring both genders together to share their insights. Teach a curriculum that promotes tolerance. Choose a curriculum that focuses on where students are intolerant. And make sure you give the students sufficient dosage. Sustain weekly teaching for at least fourteen weeks Remember that you are dealing with a systemic problem. Because systems have a strong pull to stay the same (the principle of homeostasis), you will need to employ strategic interventions that shock and destabilize the system so that it can coalesce in a different form. That is why schools secretly repaint and rearrange the classroom over the weekend and then hold an unannounced classroom meeting on Monday morning, or they hold a mandatory parent meeting that the students attend, but reward students with a “no homework” pass for the evening. Be novel in the interventions that you choose, and sustain the momentum of change. It takes time, but with sustained focus you will get there.

What do you do about the bullies? I was sitting in the principal’s office across from the parents of the girl who had been filmed in the video. I had given my standard explanation that bullying was a systemic problem but the parents didn’t care. They looked me in the eyes and said “So what are you going to do about the bullies?” It was clear that they wanted them out of the school, preferably forever. I am a parent. I could understand where they were coming from. Their daughter had been hurt and they wanted to make sure the other students got how much they had hurt her.

Spring 2022 Issue 5

There’s also an ingrained belief in many parents that punishment actually does teach a good lesson and turns bad students around. But I felt for their daughter. Having worked in so many bullying situations I’ve almost never seen punishment result in positive character development in bullying students. And in most cases punishing the bullies lead to retaliation against the target. In some of the schools in the US that we had partnered with, the favored phrase is “stitches are for snitches”. It’s an ethos that extends even into the nicer schools. This girl had already been humiliated and she was now risking ostracism from her peers. What’s the best way to turn around bullying situations? My answer to the parents was that the school should bring together a Solution Team® of students and work with them to turn the situation around. Put simply, punishment was only going to make things worse. We needed to take punishment out of the equation and ask the students involved to take responsibility. We had by then trained hundreds of schools in Solution Team and the results were incredible. Schools trained by us were able to turn around 90% of the incidents of bullying that they were dealing with on their campus. In the small number of cases where the Solution Team didn’t work, there were typically complex mental health or family issues. In nearly every incident, solution teams ended the bullying and that was still true when we checked in with the target of the bullying three months later. This is how Solution Teams work. You bring together a team of seven or eight students and leverage their empathy to end the bullying of one of their peers. The teacher tells the team they are not in trouble, describes how it feels to be in the target’s shoes and asks the team what they can do or stop doing to stop the bullying. The team includes the bully, the bully-followers and positive leaders from the target’s peer group—but not the target. The teacher convenes two follow-up meetings over the next two weeks, with the final one attended by the target. Solution Team is an active lesson in empathy. It puts into action recent findings of neuroscience and evolutionary biology that humans are wired for cooperation and compassion from the first years of life onwards. The vast majority of students, including those involved in bullying, will demonstrate empathy and kindness toward their peers when their school creates conditions that support these behaviors. Beyond this, Solution Team challenges the traditional view that bullying is an issue solely between the bully and the target. Solution Team is based in the belief that we can only achieve real change through engaging the larger peer group. So what happened next? Prestigious schools have prestigious parents. That is both a blessing and a curse. These parents were significant donors and they wanted the students suspended. We knew this was going to make it worse for their daughter and we were confident that we could resolve the bullying through using a solution team. But the school took the practical approach of appeasing the parents with a short suspension for the offending students. However, the story did not stop there. The school recognized that it needed to invest in culture change and it needed a system for preventing bullying and responding effectively. And that for us was the beginning of a long relationship with the school in which we trained them in the No Bully System®.

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The No Bully System The No Bully System guides school leaders and teachers through a series of interventions for preventing bullying and responding effectively when it happens. Schools move through the levels of the No Bully system depending upon the intensity of what they are dealing with. The system represents the distillation of our years of working with schools. The motivation for this school was they had reached the tipping point and were not willing to put up with any more bullying and cyberbullying. We partnered with them over the next year and coached the school leadership team how to create a culture where every student felt not just safe but included. We trained all the adults who worked on the campus how to recognize bullying and intervene when it happens. And we trained a small group of teachers how to run Solution Teams and follow up with student stuck in the role of bully or victim. The school has changed for the better. The school anti-bullying policy now states that they respond to bullying using Solution Teams. Parents have grown to expect that and with a policy in place they are able to withstand parental demands for punishment. When you enter the school now you can feel that this is a much happier place to be. About the Author Nicholas Carlisle trained as a human rights lawyer and practiced for many years as a child therapist. He has dedicated his life to social justice and to ensuring that the next generation grows up with a deeply felt sense of compassion. He is the CEO of Power of Zero and is the creator of the award winning No Bully program which partners with schools to become bully-free.


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Twenty-one Years of Good to Great By The IS Manila Team

“If there is anything in the world you can be, be kind.” Such a simple but powerful statement that has become one of the most meaningful, often shared by International School Manila (ISM) Superintendent of 21 years, David Toze. There are few people in this world who have been able to truly touch so many lives. David is among the few who has made an incredible impact in the paths of many. His ability to make tough decisions alongside kindness and compassion makes him so admirable. As one former ISM faculty member writes “David, you are such a great man, and I know that our lives would not be the same if it were not for you!” David is not a behind the scenes kind of leader. Part of what makes him brilliant is that he is seen and he is heard - quite literally. Every school day morning, you can count on David to be at the entrance gate of the ISM campus greeting students and parents alike. Between being here, there and everywhere - his passing presence is made known by his boisterous singing throughout ISM’s halls. When David Toze began his career at ISM, he immediately became a father-figure to the school community, a role he was dedicated to for the next two decades. He oversaw the construction of the current location of ISM at the new Bonifacio Global City (BGC) campus and made it possible for the move to take place just in time for the school year 2002-2003. This was also the very first year that uniforms were introduced to students after the School first opened in 1920 (then known as the American School). Moving to the campus was the first step, but several portions were still under construction and were for completion such as the Fine Arts Theater which he made sure was ready in time for the commencement ceremony of the first graduating class of the BGC campus. 8 EARCOS Triannual Journal

A drawing of Mr.Toze by ISM ES student, Isla

After the big move and getting everyone settled into the school’s new location, David did not stop there. Soon after in 2005, he introduced two preschool years in the Elementary School, Preschool 3 and Preschool 4, to cater to the youngest learners in the community. This was a very successful addition to the School as the growing preschool years led to the opening of a Preschool Facility in 2008 and eventually to the construction of the modernized Early Years Center which opened its doors to preschool and kindergarten levels in the school year 2018-2019. A few years after the introduction of the preschool levels, Grade 5 which was formerly part of Elementary School (ES) became part of Middle School (MS). This move was designed to get Grade 5 students involved in the rigors of MS, while also balancing out nicely the three divisions of ISM (ES, MS, HS). In 2008, ISM received dual accreditation by the Western Association of Schools (WASC) and the Council of International School (CIS) and again in 2012 and 2017. With so many great additions and recognitions to the School, it is no surprise that David Toze was the recipient of the 2011 International Superintendent of the Year Award from the Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE). An award he received yet no one in the school knew about because David is not one for the limelight he is truly deserving of (in fact, he might frown a little at the discovery of this feature celebrating his achievements). Staying true to his style, David keeps at it and in 2012, the newly constructed state-of-the-art tennis facility featuring eight new tennis courts with artificial turf opens up to the community. In his efforts to be at the forefront of becoming a sustainable school, the school year 2013-2014 saw the installation of solar panels on the roof of the campus arc building. One of the pioneer initiatives that David introduced to ISM was the Specialized Learning Support (SLS) Program. This program was launched in the school year 2016-2017 to service the Elementary School, which expanded to include Middle School and High School the following school year. This brought about the construction of the Learning Support Center with customized ES, MS, HS learning support classrooms, a fully equipped therapy space and an area designed to teach older students life skills.

Two years into the next century after completing one centenary milestone in 2020, ISM continues to be known as a world-class school that provides academic excellence and a wide-array of cocurricular activities. This can be attributed to David’s drive to always improve ISM as an educational institution in more ways than one. As shared by a current faculty member “ISM is the school it is today because of David, but his legacy has been to create the structures, reputation and believe that we must never rest, and always improve.” Bringing the oldest international school in Manila into the modern 21st century will always be a part of David’s legacy in addition to several accolades in his career, such as being awarded the MBE in 1994, an order of the British Empire award for his services to education during his time in Colombia. David has also made an incredible mark in the East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS) organization. He is one of two longest serving Board members, being part of the EARCOS board since 2007. Throughout his 15 years of service, as a member of the EARCOS Board, he has taken on the roles of President and Treasurer. And in 2010, ISM was the first school to host, on a campus, 2000 delegates for the EARCOS Teachers Conference.

David Toze, the ever so dedicated captain of the IS Manila ship on his bike ride to campus every day during the March 2020 lockdown

The COVID pandemic has proven tough but David’s zeal has guided the ISM community every step of the way to what is hopefully the light at the end of a long and dark tunnel. From the words of William Brown, ISM’s Assistant Superintendent, “David Toze has been nothing short of astounding in what he has given to the ISM community and to living the School’s values of; integrity, service and merit over the course of the past 21 years! As a leader he has been a teacher, the boss, a father figure, a cat lover, but most of all a humanitarian and a friend.” With the School moving on to its next chapter with William Brown at the helm, ISM will continue on its path to always strive for better, to never stop learning and maintain its commitment to service, sustainability, and cultural competency, together as a community. Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”. In giving to others, David dedicated himself to leading the school from good to great during his time at ISM. This is evident even in the smallest of gestures such as never failing to send out annual birthday cards to employees. He will surely be missed and never forgotten in the 100-year history of the School. Spring 2022 Issue 9

The Summer and Winter break, dependent on which hemisphere calendar your school is aligned with, is quickly approaching. These breaks will be incredibly important for reinvigorating you and your colleagues’ spirit and passion for teaching when school resumes. Two and a half years on, though, the pandemic is still a great source of anxiety and will impact these holidays in a variety of ways. Our colleagues may not get the holiday they are hoping for, but we can still ensure they get some peace of mind to help them return in the new term feeling reinvigorated. In this article I am asking middle leaders to give their colleagues the best parting gift they can--peace of mind. How all leaders, but middle leaders in particular, use their time between now and the close of the term, can greatly impact their colleagues’ wellbeing as they enter their respective term breaks.


Give Your Team the Term Break They Deserve By Michael Iannini

Here are three things middle leaders can do now to give their colleagues peace of mind before the end of the term: • • •

Acknowledge hardships that team members have had to endure, both professional and personal; Give team members an opportunity to be heard; and Debrief team performance.

The reason I am advocating for middle leaders to take the lead with this incredibly important mission is because they are the closest to the front lines.They not only have to navigate a myriad of emotions and conflicts within their own teams, but are themselves also much in need of achieving peace of mind. Serving on the Board of Safe Passage Across Networks (SPAN) has made me more sensitive than ever to the needs of educators, especially towards those transitioning out of their current role and preparing to go to a new school. The well-being of these educators in particular is most likely to be taken for granted, as they may be seen as leavers and, therefore, requiring less attention. However, they deserve to leave the school just as they entered it--with the same degree of attention and consideration. More importantly, it is important to acknowledge that the leavers are already in transition--trying to leave the school with a feeling of accomplishment and some dignity, while at the same time processing the move that awaits them. In addition, there are also the ‘stayers,’ the colleagues and students who have grown attachments to the leavers. Attachment research indicates that the stayers will be impacted as much (if not more) by the transition of the leavers. At SPAN, we believe that in a shrinking world where globalization is accepted and international schools are exploding, we bear a responsibility for the positive transition care of students, families and educators. SPAN believes that upholding standards for transition support, and equipping and refreshing those on the fronts lines, will help all of us fulfil some of our highest hopes for healthy students and families in our communities. In short, we have a responsibility to and for each other to ensure all students, not just the ones in our class or school, get the best of us as educators.

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The danger for not attending to the emotional wellbeing of leavers, and stayers alike, is that they develop scars that will impact future collegial relationships. Those scars will act as barriers to forming secure attachments with future team members, which is the foundation for transformative collaboration. Transformative collaboration can only happen when there are secure attachments and trusting relationships, founded in shared beliefs and goals. This type of collaboration drives innovation in teaching and learning. So, if you are a middle leader, how can you achieve the outcomes of (1) acknowledging team member contributions, (2) giving them the opportunity to be heard and (3) using this as an opportunity for professional growth? This can be done in as little as 45-minutes during a team planning meeting or by meeting with team members individually and then sharing everything you learned from those conversations in a planning meeting. In both cases, team members will have a chance to affirm the feelings and experiences of others, be heard and reflect on how they can be more supportive of team members at the start of the new term. Here are 3 questions you can use to realize the three objectives stated above: • • •

What have we done well as a team to support each other over the course of this term/year? How might we have better supported each other to see through the challenges we faced this term/year? How can any team we serve on be better capacity built to ensure more proactive support of its members?

The first question invites a positive mindset and the responses to this question will enable us to probe about specific challenges or hardships team members faced. The second question invites a solution mind set, in that it solicits ideas for practical measures that a team can take to support its members. The third question provides an opportunity to test the practical measures raised in the previous question as to how they can be implemented. Taken together, regardless where team members end up next term, they will be able to use their experience to advocate for more effective team governance.

Making these 3 questions the focus of your next meeting will give team members a chance to be heard.This benefit may not seem obvious, but many teachers develop false assumptions over the course of the school year that their voice doesn’t matter.These assumptions feed a belief that they have no control over events impacting student learning, and ultimately they disengage from the team. Of course, it is possible that you as a Middle Leader feel this way about being unheard by others.This is all the more reason to engage your team with these questions. Not only will it give you a chance to engage in and model constructive dialog about teaching and learning, but it will also hone your leadership skills. Below are the three skills you should be consciously developing when facilitating this dialog: • • •

Meeting Facilitation Skills: Make dialog more purposeful and ensure equity Communication Skills: Actively Listen and Paraphrase key points that are surfaced Consensus Building: Make sure every meeting ends with an agreement on actions to be taken

Based on what you learn from this dialog, you will be able to go into the Winter and Summer Breaks more spirited and hopefully excited about what the new year will bring. About the Author Michael Iannini is an education management consultant. He has been recognized by the Council of International Schools as an expert in Strategic Planning, Governance, Human Resource Management, and Leadership Development. He is the author of Hidden in Plain Sight: Realizing the Full Potential of Middle Leaders, and supports a network of over 250 private schools in Asia for the Association of China and Mongolia International Schools and Search Associates. You can learn more about Michael and his work by visiting www. and

E-Connect Stay in touch with many current ideas and trends in education at EARCOS Connect Blog. Welcome to EARCOS E-Connect.Teachers, counselors, and administrators are extremely busy people.You don’t always have time to search for articles, blogs, videos, and books that will educate and enhance your practice.This blog will offer links to relevant educational discussions, articles, book reviews, and videos that you may find informative and useful.

Spring 2022 Issue 11


Top 6 Trends in International School Recruitment

By Cindy Adair Cross-Campus Assistant Principal Bangkok Patana School

didates and recruiters, whilst also keeping costs low and minimising the need for international travel – which is challenging to say the least right now. 4. To achieve that elusive right “fit” for both the candidate and the school, international schools need to be rigorous and exacting in their short-listing processes and honest about their unique internal and external characteristics. Demonstrating a willingness to share this openly with candidates during recruitment sets clear, shared expectations. The goal being to identify candidates who are, as Budrow (2018) describes, adaptable, culturally sensitive, possess pedagogical flexibility and will be a good institutional fit. 5. To secure the best of the best talent, international schools need to be highly organised and work with a clear timeline, which strategically tracks their competition and major recruitment events such as annual fairs in major centres whilst providing a positive and personalised recruitment experience for new teachers. To some this may appear a dichotomy – a rigid timeline and a personalised experience? Top performing international schools strive to achieve this with a highly trained, professional HR team and by “going the extra mile” during recruitment and induction. Researchers stress that a setting must aim to remove “gatekeepers” that might unintentionally stop a candidate from completing the application process (Luft et al 2011). Common examples might include; the lack of a timely call-back after a request for further information or technology issues when accessing online application forms.

No one could argue that 2020 – 2022 has been one of the most challenging periods in recent history and this has impacted recruitment. However, as the saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention” and out of the global pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement have come some very positive new trends.

6. The Black Lives Matter movement has forced Diversity, Equity and Inclusion front and centre in many of our schools. This has led to a range of new best practices emerging to fight prejudice in hiring and to ensure a diverse pool of candidates. Schools who value this are undertaking blind shortlisting (removing all names, gender, ages and nationality data from CV’s and cover letters before having their recruitment team review them), adding equal opportunity statements to their application portals and providing unconscious bias training to their Senior Leaders, among other initiatives.

1. Increasingly, international schools are acknowledging that recruitment is a key leadership capability (Laksana, 2015) and are supporting their Senior Leaders with a team of highly professional human resources experts and a generous time allocation to undertake this task.

References Anast-May, L. M. M. B. B. a. E. C., 2012. School principals as marketing managers: The expanding role of marketing for school development.. Journal of School Public Relations, 33(4), pp. 262-291.

2. International schools are using targeted and creative advertising and public relations efforts to build their reputation, both within their region and in the locations where they predominantly recruit. As Anast-May (2012) suggests, the Senior Leadership team needs to see themselves as active brand managers. Senior Leaders who publish articles, speak at conferences, contribute on volunteer boards and are active on EduTwitter and LinkedIn are all helping to shape the brand of their school.

Budrow, J. a. T. P., 2018. What Teacher Capacities Do International School Recruiters Look For?. Canadian Journal of Education, 41(3), pp. 860-889.

3. To get the best candidates, international schools must actively measure their recruitment and retention data and constantly strive to adapt and improve their approach to meet the market; being open to innovation and the use of new technologies. This might include initiatives such as: a. Conducting exit interviews; b. Tracking staff turn-over; c. Tracking average length of tenure; d. Constant fine-tuning of their recruitment processes from application to induction; e. The use of artificial intelligence, networking platforms and digital video conferencing software to streamline the experience for can12 EARCOS Triannual Journal

Laksana, S. a. M. J., 2015. Recruitment of Teachers for International Schools in Thailand: A Paradigm Shift for Principals.. Apheit Journal, 4(2), pp. 131-138. Luft, J.A., Wong, S.S. and Semken, S., 2011. Rethinking recruitment: The comprehensive and strategic recruitment of secondary science teachers. Journal of science teacher education, 22(5), p.459. About the Author Cindy Adair is the Cross-Campus Assistant Principal at Bangkok Patana School. She can be contacted at

The late former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, accurately defined education as “a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy, and sustainable human development.” Indeed, as international school educators, we have the incredible opportunity and responsibility to cultivate the minds of a diverse student body whose members not only come from all corners of the world but will one day shape the political, social, and economic fabric that binds it. International schools are uniquely placed, as microcosms of our greater global community, to nurture compassionate contributing citizens of the world, and as such, should lean into this advantage to distinguish themselves from other schools through a whole-school, human rights based approach to education.


Teaching About, Through, and For Human Rights By Nadia Kashem Kim, J.D., Ed.M. , Jared Rock, and Jessica B.Terbrueggen Seoul International School

We hold a duty to ensure that our youth matriculate with a concern for the rights and dignity of others, along with a foundational understanding of the international human rights standards, norms, and instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Cultivating and modeling a human rights worldview empowers our students to take ownership in protecting the rights of others, the environment, and democracy by voting and seeking policy shaping roles, whether in their future careers or through individual activism that begins today. This entails guiding our students to become knowledgeable on social and environmental issues in preparation for being empathic and agentive change-makers. Although international school students represent different nationalities and traditions grounded in different cultures and values, human rights are universal—transcending any political, physical, or cultural borders—and have a uniquely unifying capacity to bind international communities like those found in our schools. Therefore, we believe that international schools would benefit from adopting a whole-school, human rights based approach with an emphasis on teaching about, through, and for human rights. This is best achieved through the (1) incorporation of a human rights curriculum that is woven through all subjects and extracurriculars, (2) is supported at the organizational and institutional level with a human rights framework, and (3) is tailored to and incorporates the voices of all stakeholders involved in the learning community. By embracing a whole-school based approach to human rights, schools ensure that all members of the community understand what human rights are and why they are essential; the institution itself becomes an exemplar of the rights and teachings espoused; and all members of the learning community are empowered to take responsibility for the protection of their own rights and the rights of others. TEACHING ABOUT: An International Human Rights Curriculum So what does it look like when an institution adopts a whole-school based approach to teaching human rights? First, it requires a curriculum that prioritizes the teaching of the following skills: proffering diverse views while remaining respectful of those of others, defending one’s ideas with evidence, thinking critically, analyzing the veracity and bias of sources—basically, fundamental skills needed for dialogue, debate, and diplomacy.

Eleanor Roosevelt holding a Declaration of Human Rights poster in 1949.

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A schoolwide human rights friendly curriculum should incorporate human rights issues into and across disciplinary areas of study. All subject area courses should integrate a “glocal” perspective fostering students’ engagement in local and global international human rights issues, resulting in action-oriented project-based outcomes, whereby students work toward the protection of the rights of others, the environment, and themselves.

The foundation of an international human rights curriculum should be the core human rights instruments themselves, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and other critical treaties1. A 2011 “Human Rights Education Survey,” conducted by the Human Rights Watch Student Task Force (HRWSTF), found that less than 30% of the 2,884 Los Angeles private and public high school students who were surveyed had ever heard of the UDHR (Human Rights Watch Student Task Force [HRWSTF], 2011). In its analysis, the human rights organization concluded that “there is notable student interest in Human Rights as well as a solid foundation for curricular development, suggesting that there is tremendous hope for Human Rights Education (HRE)” (HRWSTF, 2011). Each international school should regularly conduct its own survey of the student population to assess how familiar the students are with human rights concepts and texts prior to creating a human rights curriculum—which would help fill in the gaps and reinforce students’ understanding—and then later periodically throughout, to see how well the curriculum is meeting the established goals. Centering the integrated curriculum around the 30 articles of the UDHR would create consistency, but there also needs to be clear goals or outcomes for the lessons, in addition to teaching about the rights protected by these treaties. This is where the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) come in. This blueprint of 17 goals was created in 2015 as a guideline for countries to cooperate together in creating a sustainable future, in areas such as poverty, world hunger, gender equality, etc. After all, human rights is about sustainable development. Brought into the context of a classroom, the SDGs can serve as a framework for curriculum design, meaning that each class and day’s objective can be tied into achieving some aspect of one or more of these goals. The SDGs were created because the world needs to work together to uplift countries in need because of remnant results of past imperialism and also to cooperate in diplomacy to avoid aggressions like nuclear war, genocide, and other gross violations of human rights. If students can come away from each lesson not only with a better understanding of current global issues but can also articulate creative solutions, then schools become the nursery grounds and early crucibles of progress for decades to come. Human rights issues are most commonly seen incorporated into humanities courses. For instance in a world history course, students may investigate multiple historical viewpoints and come to new and informed understandings of complex historical narratives. As such, it is common for students to leave with a deeper understanding of how injustices throughout the world occur, how the damage can be mitigated, and the grave consequences that can emerge when diplomatic, humanitarian solutions are not achieved. The saying that history repeats itself could not ring more true today, which is why future leaders need to learn how to cooperate despite differences in a rapidly polarizing world. Similarly, in communications classes, students can conduct research and create public service announcements, or PSAs, on social issues that matter to them, such as recycling, animal rights, bullying prevention, and conflict resolution, among a variety of other topics. Projects such as these teach students how to use evidence and empathy to persuade others on the importance of these universal issues while empowering them to take action toward practical solutions.

The nine core international human rights instruments and their supplementary optional protocols can be easily accessed here: https://www.ohchr. org/en/professionalinterest/pages/coreinstruments.aspx 1

While most educators teaching within the humanities are familiar with the incorporation of human rights into their curriculum, other subject area educators may be wondering how these skills and issues can be authentically incorporated into non-humanities subjects as well. Overall, we believe that one of the best ways to achieve the integration of human rights throughout a schoolwide curriculum is through the incorporation of a project-based learning approach that involves a research component and activism. One such example of this is a strategy known as youth participatory action research (YPAR). “A growing body of evidence suggests that YPAR projects improve outcomes for individual youth as well as the organizations/settings they act on” (BrionMeisels & Alter, 2018). In the international school setting, these projects can be partially tailored to more local issues affecting the host country while still teaching the broader international values, in order to engage students and help them see direct results with the connection between universal norms and their application in thinking through and understanding immediate and local situations and institutions. In this way, the universal framework of human rights can both inform specific projects and become a cohesive guide that spans subjects and extracurriculars and anchors the school’s educational mission and students’ educational experiences. For example, an interactive project like the PSA announcements completed in a communications class, as described earlier, can be a way to inspire students to learn more about issues they already care about, and teachers across different subjects can allow their students to implement these themes into their various classes, enabling students to still gain a variety of content knowledge and skills but with a crosssubject tie that is unified under the cohesive lens of human rights. For instance, in math classes, students can create infographics showing statistical data and correlations related to human rights issues (e.g., climate change, poverty, health) while learning about how the process, interpretation, and expression of quantitative data helps to address and speak about human rights issues and their potential solutions. Science classes can use digital dissections as an opportunity to discuss the cruel nature of animal testing in laboratories and learn how science helps provide humane alternatives, research effects of pandemics like the current one on different populations to find trends regarding inequality, analyze climate maps and climate change trends, and conduct experiments to learn about air, water, and land pollution to tie their content-based learning to real world applications through a human rights focus. These are only some examples outside of humanities classes like English and history—which can more easily incorporate dialoguing, essays, model UN simulations, etc.—but the point is that this can initiate a conversation about how to more directly involve social issues in each class through the lens of human rights while designing curricula. To complement the day-to-day lesson or unit plans, if one part of each course is set aside for a grade-level YPAR capstone project, then students can find ways to connect each day’s and unit’s knowledge and skills to their own project, with a culminating exhibition of student work at the end of each academic year.This, or some similar project, can provide a cohesive structure to the disparate subjects, activities, and years of education, helping to make sense of one’s education by tracking its development through a human rights lens while also increasing student autonomy and building a human rights centered community at school. Granted, this vision would require a greater scale of coordination between all departments working together to design a multi-part and multi-subject research project each year. Nevertheless, it would create an opportunity for greater student engagement, as students can now be active participants in their own learning. School libraries can also be directly involved in the research component by providing age-appropriate texts on human rights for different reading levels and planning together with the subject teachers, so that much of the learning takes place not Spring 2022 Issue 15

only in the classrooms but also within the libraries. Extracurriculars can take this one step further, bringing the application outside of the school altogether, for example, through Global Issues Network, Model UN, Red Cross Youth, Habitat for Humanity, international human rights law seminars, and/or ethics seminars—all of which touch on human rights and engage students in discussion. If the activities that these caring students do could be tied to their coursework as they advance through high school, it could be a more enriching experience and, vice versa, more students could be inspired to join after learning about these issues through their classwork. Overall, the human rights focus acts as a conduit with the potential to bring about a more holistic view of education combining coursework and extracurricular activities. TEACHING THROUGH: A Human Rights Framework In addition to infusing human rights issues into a schoolwide curriculum, a whole-school based approach to human rights would also involve the embodiment of human rights principles at the organizational and governance levels as well. It is not enough to simply teach these ideals through the curriculum, but rather the institutions themselves must be founded upon and operate through the very same principles which promote equality, dignity, respect, non-discrimination, and governance participation among all stakeholders within the community. In a human rights friendly school, human rights are not only taught but are also practiced, promoted, and protected at all levels of governance and community involvement. One strategy for assessing the extent to which a school is integrating human rights principles and values throughout key areas of school life is to take the “human rights temperature” of the school. An efficient and user-friendly version of this test has been created by Human Rights Watch Student Task Force (Human Rights Watch Student Task Force, n.d.) and is easily modified to fit any school environment. Instruments such as these can help start conversations around human rights and explore the extent to which current practices are fostering inclusive environments, diversity, and active participation in school life, regardless of status or role. Taking the form of an anonymous live poll asking a variety of questions that each connect one or more UDHR articles to the school context allows school members to get a better idea about the different lenses available to approach becoming a more human rights-friendly school. What can these rights look like for the different stakeholders in a child’s education? In other words: What do these rights specifically mean for teachers? For students? For other school personnel? For parents? For the larger community in which we are situated? How safe and secure of an environment are we shaping to allow for different viewpoints and discussion in order to lead to greater growth? Are we empowering students, teachers, staff, and parents to action-oriented engagement and participation in school governance? These are all perspectives and questions that must be considered when creating a human rights friendly school. When a school is shaped around a human rights framework, all members of the community are encouraged to participate freely and actively in making decisions and shaping policy. Processes are transparent and fair, while creating a sense of safety and security for all members of the community. Within this framework, students and staff are empowered to be active members of the school community where everyone’s rights are respected and promoted.

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TEACHING FOR: What Can the Future of International Education Look Like? When parents send their children to international school classrooms, they trust in the teachers and administrators to play key roles in building their children’s future, not just to get into good universities or build successful careers, but to grow up to be decent humans first who empathize with the social and natural environment around them. As the international school context is one of constant flux, a human rights focus can provide a core foundation that gives clarity and purpose to our mission and helps to distinguish what sets us apart from other approaches to education. Just as the universality of human rights can accommodate a whole host of cultures and communities, so too can it be used as a universal but accommodating guiding framework for international schools with diverse conditions, student populations, and traditions. When fully applied, this creates a virtuous cycle, whereby a school not only teaches and adheres to human rights but also engages in advancing and extending human rights as a community in living practice of those foundations—one that feels shared ownership and meets in terms of equal standing in human dignity. The transcendent quality of human rights brings our schools into communion under a shared vision that models an international order we seek to inspire, while driving development in character, content, and civic education. We believe we have reached a point in history where international schools must commit to human rights if we are to truly live up to our potential and promise as institutions of international education. A human rights based curriculum, framework, and governance: these are the main pillars of a human rights friendly school. By teaching about, through, and for human rights, we can thus help our students to make a better world than the one we were brought into. References Brion-Meisels, G. & Alter, Z. (2018).The Quandary of Youth Participatory Action Research in School Settings: A Framework for Reflecting on the Factors That Influence Purpose and Process. Harvard Educational Review, 88(4), 429–454. Human Rights Watch Student Task Force. (August 2011). Human Rights Education Survey. hrwstf_2011hre_survey_web.pdf Human Rights Watch Student Task Force. (n.d.). Taking the Human Rights Temperature of Your School. Human Rights Watch Student Task Force. Retrieved March 27, 2022, from wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Taking-the-human-rights-temperature-ofyour-school-with-CRC-and-UDHR_small-Final.pdf United Nations, Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner. (n.d.). The Core International Human Rights Instruments and their monitoring bodies. OHCHR. Retrieved March 27, 2022, from en/professionalinterest/pages/coreinstruments.aspx About the Authors Nadia Kashem Kim, J.D., Ed.M. is a HS World History and Communications Teacher, Jared Rock is a HS Communications and English Teacher, and Jessica B. Terbrueggen is an M.A. candidate at Teachers College Columbia University and a HS English Teacher. All are teachers at Seoul International School.

Introduction Protecting student learning has been a constant theme in education over the past two years. Classroom teachers rode the wave of a pandemic and through this, teacher learning has been accelerated. In this context, Tim O’Leary published his book, Classroom Vibe (2021). O’Leary’s message is as simple as it is refreshing; focus on your classroom culture. Make your decisions about learning strategies subject to the aim of creating a learning-focused atmosphere within the classroom.


Classroom Vibes

Vertical Teacher Collaboration In-Action By Caroline Copeland, Lorna Faber-Mitchell, Leah Holliday, and Haley Osbourne Brent International School, Manila

At Brent International School, Manila, four teachers embarked on a professional learning journey asking the question “In what ways does student feedback leverage teacher action?”. Our group, representing a range of classes from Grade 3 to Grade 11, administered the Classroom Vibe survey. We reflected on student feedback, chose classroom interventions, and entered into a cycle of reflection and adjustment. At the end of our research period, we re-administered the Classroom Vibe survey and then moved into the phase of evaluation and recommendations. Underlying this action research were the three assumptions outlined by Aldridge and Bell (2014): that teachers are interested in improving their practice, that purposeful reflection on one’s teaching can provide a catalyst for change, and that students are worth listening to. With our heightened awareness of the importance of student well-being due to remote learning, we teamed with Classroom Vibe (2022) to gather data from our students. Our discussions throughout the research process revolved around improving student learning, yet the primary focus of our research was, “In what ways did our student’s feedback inform our instructional decisions and prompt our actions?”. To answer this question, we stepped back from the day-to-day urgency of our student’s needs and considered our own decision-making processes. After receiving the initial survey results from our students, each teacher chose an area of improvement for focus. Our interventions were implemented in our classrooms and reflected on during our group discussions. Through meeting regularly, we maintained the momentum of our research. During our discussions, we compared experiences, tapped our pedagogical knowledge and made conjectures about how best to support our students. To conclude our research, we surveyed our students a second time. We then compared the two sets of survey results, looking for changes in student perception of the classroom culture. Our final step was to stand back and analyze our own learning, considering the questions: What have we each learned? In what ways has student feedback-driven this learning? How could this collaborative process be replicated?

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Teacher Reflections Before administering the first survey, Leah reflected on the constant worries about online learning: Are students really understanding these concepts? What learning losses are we going to encounter? What impact is all of this having on the mental health of our students?

cerns, and ideas. By giving all students an opportunity to privately checkin with their teacher proved to be an invaluable tool to help deepen the relationship and understanding between teacher and student.

Haley reported being quite surprised by the September survey results. Students did not feel comfortable making mistakes or asking for help from a teacher. Being an educator who strongly believes in fostering a growth mindset, this area raised an alarm for immediate attention. Haley and Leah, the Grade 3 and Grade 5 teachers on the team, developed a joint action plan. Their plan was developed with the purpose of encouraging more open dialogue between teacher and student, having students make a short, private video on Flipgrid each Friday. Students were asked to share something they found challenging, surprising, and anything else they would like to share. Students gave responses about all subject areas and gave teachers continued insight into thoughts and feelings that were not apparent in daily discussions. Some notable examples from Grade 3 were: “At my old school, I didn’t like doing math because when I got it wrong other students would make faces and laugh at me.” “Sometimes math is hard for me and I like to think of it like a puzzle because I like puzzles.” The feedback was invaluable in giving a deeper insight into both how the students were feeling at a given time, and also as a snapshot into how they viewed themselves as learners. After the second survey in March 2022, Leah noted that the areas of being comfortable making mistakes and asking questions showed little to no improvement. Given the positive feedback in the other strands of the teacher trust category, the next action moving forward was to simply ask the students more about why they felt uncomfortable making mistakes in class.

Figure 2: Example of Math 8 student responses to daily reflection questions The intervention strategies for Grade 8 included a range of strategies to solicit student feedback. The area of focus for Caroline was “I feel comfortable asking for help”. After the second survey there did not appear to be a significant change in student response. Meeting with the action research team and through discussions on the similarities in data as well as overall trends helped put things into perspective. For Caroline, this was a powerful conversation that helped her to look at the bigger picture. Change is a process not an arrival point and having a team of teachers to work alongside who pursue improvement together makes all the difference.

In response to these results, Leah discussed the survey results with her class. She pointed out that many students still felt uncomfortable making mistakes, and didn’t seem to want to ask for help. She explained that she needed more information about how to help students in their learning, and asked that they anonymously respond to the statements, “I feel comfortable making mistakes” and “I feel comfortable asking for help” with a yes or no, but then an explanation. Even throughout the informal discussion, students expressed that they were only uncomfortable during certain subjects. A sample of their written responses is in Table 1. Student A

I am sometimes uncomfortable making mistakes in math, but not in the other subjects. I don’t mind asking for help, because that is the only way I will learn.

Student B

When I am in ESL class I know everyone there, but in math, there is the whole class so I am sometimes uncomfortable.

Student C

Sometimes mistakes make me sad, especially when I miss an easy one. I actually wasn’t comfortable asking for help, but now I am really comfortable.

Student D

Mistakes are just how you learn, if I make a mistake, I will figure out what I did wrong.

Table 1: Grade 5 student explanations Through our action research intervention, it became evident that students may need multiple points of access to share their thoughts, con-

Figure 3: Grade 11 Zoom Chat responses. Spring 2022 Issue 19

In response to Grade 11 survey feedback, Lorna added strategies to her lessons with the explicit aim of improving student perception that the teacher was aware of their level of understanding of the mathematics they were learning. She was intrigued that the second survey, which indicated improvement, did not feel like a conclusion. Rather, it motivated her to consider further action. The second survey was another opportunity to continue to move forward professionally and respond to student feedback. Discussion and Recommendations Student feedback calls for a response, yet Leonidas and Muis (2005) identified that teacher action does not automatically occur when student survey feedback is received. This action research project responded to this finding. The Classroom Vibe survey motivated teachers to identify appropriate intervention strategies, yet it was the accountability to the team that sustained our interventions. This occurred through jointly planning one of the interventions and through regularly reporting back to the team on our progress. In addition, our professional discussion honed teacher understanding of student responses and supported deeper reflection on student response to these strategies. During the action research process, group meetings were scheduled depending on the next steps and the stage of the research.Through this, meetings were purposeful and task-oriented yet there was sufficient time for reflection, sharing ideas and brainstorming. Having a vertical team representing a wide range of student ages gave teachers a safe place for reflection. We knew each other, sharing much in common, yet each of us needed to bring our pedagogical knowledge to the forefront to interpret the issues in grades we did not have experience teaching. This combination of familiarity and distance created a safe environment for reflection and brainstorming. Our experience confirms Aldridge and Bell’s (2014) findings that the reflective stage is where collaboration is the most important, that during this stage teachers collaboratively draw on their knowledge to interpret results. Although our focus was on our classroom teaching, working with a vertical team led to questions and conjectures related to school and community culture. For example, why did our survey suggest that feeling comfortable making mistakes was an issue in each grade? This initially surprised teachers who prior to joining the action research project had put classroom routines in place to address this issue. Knowing that being uncomfortable making mistakes was an issue across grades motivated teachers to dig deeper, both in our discussions and as we gathered student data. While we are aware that the impact of classroom level effectiveness influences student outcomes more directly than whole school effectiveness (Kington et al, 2014), this does not mean that whole school

High School Art Celebration International School of Ulaanbaatar (Left) “Mongolian Family Portrait” Oil on Canvas Sodbileg Nyam-Ochir, Grade 12 (Right) “My Favorite Teacher” Oil on canvas Oulen Erdenebat, Grade 9 20 EARCOS Triannual Journal

factors are not important. Working as a vertical team gave us a greater understanding of factors that are school-wide. In summary, there are several recommendations arising from this action research project. Firstly, the opportunities that vertical teams provide for teacher reflection should be considered when collaborative teacher teams are planned. In addition, collaborative teams have an end goal and plan meetings around busy periods. Use of the Classroom Vibes survey maximizes time for planning intervention strategies and reflection. Lastly, it is recommended that teachers think beyond their classroom, asking questions about external factors as they support student learning. References Aldridge and Bell (2014). Student Voice, Teacher Action Research and Classroom Improvement. Sense Publishers, Rotterdam. Classroom Vibe (2022). Accessed: 23 January 2022 Kington, A., Reed, N., and Sammons, P. (2014). Teachers’ constructs of effective classroom practice: variations across career phases. Research Papers in Education, 29:5, pp534-556. Leonidas, K. and Muijs, D. (2005). Drawing from Teacher Effectiveness Research and Research into Teacher Interpersonal Behaviour to Establish a Teacher Evaluation System: A Study on the Use of Student Ratings to Evaluate Teacher Behaviour/Commentary. The Journal of Classroom Interaction; Houston Vol. 40, Iss. 2, (Winter 2005): pp44-68. O’Leary, T.M. (2021). Classroom Vibes: Practical Strategies for Better Classroom Culture. Amba Press, Melbourne. About the Authors Caroline Copeland is a Grade 7-8 Mathematics teacher, Lorna FaberMitchell is the HOD Mathematics and US IB Mathematics teacher, Leah Holliday is a Grade 5 homeroom teacher, and Haley Osbourne is a Grade 3 homeroom teacher. All are teachers at Brent International School, Manila. They can be contacted at the following email addresses,, lholliday@, and

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Vientiane International School

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A Student led Collaboration Among EARCOS Member and Affiliate Schools

By Maria Socorro “Choco” E. Laplana & Dr. Ted Mockrish

the sounding board, the critical friend but not the “driver” or lead. Ask questions instead of providing the answers and engage students in seeing the macro-view against their micro-view. Setting Realistic Expectations - At times the student may be too idealistic or have goals that are not SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound). Your role is to put these plans into a more realistic perspective taking into consideration factors like time, demands from other subjects, and scope of work and make the student see how they can tame down their plans. At one time the student faced some challenges with group attendance and buy-in with the task. She felt disappointed and wanted to continue to reach out to the other group. I told her that when working with different groups, it is normal that you may not get a 100% commitment. I told her to focus on those who have committed and proceed from there and let go of those who decided to not commit. This saved her from further frustration and allowed her to channel her energy to something that she had control over. Facilitating student voice through the 7 norms of collaboration - Use the 7 norms of collaboration when processing information and guiding student thinking. In our case, specifically, posing questions and putting ideas on the table initiated dialogue, discussion as well as delved into perceptions and assumptions. Applying these norms were invaluable in determining course of action, redirecting thinking and behaving objectively. Teacher behind the scene guidance (What does it look like?) - Have check-ins. Engage the student in seeing the big picture, in reflecting. Students may become too task focused and lose the real meaning of what is happening. Provide a framework to house ongoing student inquiry and build enduring understandings to support further inquiry. Allow the student to make mistakes. As long as you are there to process and determine workable solutions, it will be fine. Beyond the project, the student is learning a lot about how it is to collaborate in the real world. Provide input and suggestions as needed. We are still the adults here and our student ultimately relies and trusts us. Take an active role in supporting the student. If you think this is something that you cannot commit to, be honest and say no. Student initiated collaboration (an example of student initiated collaboration)

Students have varied interests that they wish to undertake, but often do not know how to advocate for or act on bringing these interests to life. They pursue independent projects that allow them to investigate, collaborate, and engage with other individuals on an inquiry topic of their choice. However, students face challenges when seeking interactions with other students from other schools across different countries. Having a teacher involved who can reach out to trusted peers for support and growth of the student’s project can expand these opportunities for exchanges and explorations, and invite learning for both parties. We, (Maria Socorro “Choco”, a teacher and grade level adviser (SY20-21), and Theodore “Ted”, Head of School), share our reflections on how supporting a student’s initiative led to a meaningful collaboration across schools. The Role of the Teacher Student Ownership and Accountability - When supporting students, understand that your role is to support (yes, read that again) and not to overtake and make such a project your project. Allow the student the opportunity to develop their leadership and self-management skills. Be 22 EARCOS Triannual Journal

(Choco) Sometime around November of 2020, in the middle of hybrid teaching due to the pandemic, my advisee, Kaylee, having experienced her share of being discriminated due her ethnicity and gender roles, approached seeking help to find schools willing to collaborate on a yearlong inquiry on the “faces” of discrimination that is happening within their own societies. I interviewed her to find out what the aim was, what the output was going to be and the nature of the collaboration that she expected. With this clarified, I was comfortable in emailing my teacher friends who would be willing to pass on the message to students at their school who may be interested in the inquiry. Kaylee wrote a rationale and included a short video to explain her purpose. (Ted) Some time in early December, 2020, Choco reached out with this idea about an international club for students to discuss and act on discrimination. As a school head, I welcome opportunities to work with students and to help support their voice and activities, so I jumped at the idea; collaborating with Choco again was also a huge incentive! As the project developed, each group chose one area of discrimination, potentially endemic to the host country of their school.

(Ted and Choco) Groups across schools started to work together with the goal of investigating discrimination in their own societies. Monthly meetings with output goals were communicated. Each school shared their findings and contributed to the book project which served to document the research undertaken and their findings.

About the Authors Maria Socorro “Choco” E. Laplana is teaching at Chadwick International, South Korea and Dr. Ted Mockrish is the head of school at Canadian International School Bangalore. They can be contacted at and

(Ted and Choco) -1st term end product description/culmination and into sustainability for continuing the project in each new term and likely with new students. The end product consisted of student groups presenting their discrimination awareness projects. These were then documented and put together in a book report. For sustainability, we asked students in their respective schools to invite incoming juniors and/or other grade levels. Acknowledgements We want to thank the teachers, our colleagues from different international schools, who took a risk, gave up their time and responded to the invitation to collaborate. We also want to thank Mr. Joel Llaban, Jr. (International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) Learning Specialist and ISS Director of DEIJ for Aug 2022) who was a resource speaker in one of our sessions. His insights provided points for discussion and raised awareness on the faces of discrimination. We hope this article will make you think about saying “yes” to taking that step of supporting a student’s initiative or inquiry.

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Spring 2022 Issue 23


Creating Utopia By Jeffery Heitmann Keystone Academy

(Thank you to Young Sil-Park, Daniel Neyens, Florine Keja, Hongwei Gao from Keystone Academy who have given their time and effort to make this current version of utopia work happen) For approximately twenty years I have been trying to create Utopia. Well, perhaps it would be better stated this way – for approximately twenty years, students in different schools, in different parts of the world, have been trying to create Utopia. How It Started Creating Utopia sprang out of an idea I had while living in Bahrain. 9/11 had just happened, war in Iraq had started, and humanity seemed to have taken a wrong turn somewhere. Frustrated with “teachable moments” based only on the catastrophic, I began to find stories that were more hopeful, positive, alternative. And from this starting point I began writing what has become an ever changing and evolving piece of curriculum called “Creating Utopia”. I & S lessons Today, at Keystone Academy in 9th grade (MYP curriculum), we have set out to create Utopias beginning in second semester. Students are given about four months, in which we structure some in-class time to complete the project so we can observe the phenomenon! To begin, students are given a task sheet has been developed and updated which explains the project with guiding questions, the rubric and helpful hints. They are also given a country template that has removed country identifiers so that it is a basic physical geography template. It is a small country that is used and the inhabitants they have to provide for are 10,000 in number. They have to create political, economic, health care, education, infrastructure systems to support these 10,000 people. As well, they have to create a cultural identity that includes national foods, belief systems (if they choose to do so), national songs, dances and cultural icons. These, naturally flow from their ideological choices on which they base their systems. 24 EARCOS Triannual Journal

Students are given very little direction by the teacher. In other words, students create the deadlines, communication protocols and meeting protocols, and their teachers are there to answer questions; to provide guidance. But students make the decisions. Required Skills Needless to say, the skills that are necessary for students to be successful are many: Communication – interactive and language, Self-Management - organization, affective and reflective Social skills -collaborative, inter and intra personal, Thinking – creative and critical thinking, transfer skills, Research – information and media literacy. From a MYP ATL skill perspective we have covered a lot of bases. But, more importantly, these skills are practiced authentically. We, the teachers, are not telling them how to communicate ideas to each other, how to organize meetings or disseminate information, how to mediate differences (and these do arise!), where to look for information about farming practices or educational systems. We may offer a bit of guidance, but we try and stay out of it. For example, we ask the teachers at the school to sign up to be “consultants” so that students can interview teachers from different countries to understand better how their health care systems, taxation practices, educational systems and so on. Whether or not students use

these resources is up to them but the responsibility is on them to initiate contact and make the effort. Exhibition Presentations: Our administration has earmarked a day for what we call “Utopian Nations Beijing Conference” where we have a ceremony and each country presents itself in a 10–12-minute presentation. Awards are given out for Best National Dress, Song, Holiday, Most Loving Nation and other assorted awards. Then we have breakout groups where students debate issues from their country’s perspective. Breakout Groups In break out groups students represent their countries in the discussing of different issue groups. Essentially, they act as delegates from their country and discuss and hash out policies (in its current iteration we have seven different countries as there are seven classes of students in grade 9 in our school) about issues that might confront them – freedom of speech, climate policies, whether or not a military is necessary, etc. These discussions are lively debates that are carried out from the perspective of their countries – their utopias. The topics we choose change based on current issues. Similar to an MUN process, student representatives vote on an issue brief with this caveat: a. If ALL Utopian Nations vote to ratify the agreement – All Nations receive 6 POINTS towards their Utopia Supremacy Score. b. If one Utopian Nation votes to reject the treaty and all others vote to ratify – This one nation receives 8 POINTS towards their Utopia Supremacy Score; all other nations receive 0 POINTS. c. If multiple Utopian Nations vote to reject the treaty – All nations receive 0 POINTS. This is an interesting process. And an unusual one. But our aim is to get at some things that we think students need to learn about – trust. Through all the talk, all the forging of agreements and relationships, can you trust each other to do the right thing? Or is the perceived “need” to win more important?

Looking Forward I could go on about what I have personally learned from doing this. I guess I have a better perspective about why we can’t seem to solve issues that confront us. I know I have a better perspective about power. But most importantly, along with my students, I think we have learned more about hope. It isn’t easy to come together. It isn’t easy to understand different viewpoints, possibly extreme ones. It isn’t easy to create a perfect society. But it is important to try. This year a class has already created their country’s song – full of love and a desire for a better place. Below is a student’s reflection from last year (they get to choose two criterion they want to be marked on but they need to incorporate a refection in to their essay): “…I learned about the inevitability of choices causing gain and loss, in the chase of utopia values. There are rights or resources given up for obtaining convenience…for sustainability… and the main goal is to balance the scale; I learned that a modern utopia is not a perfection of freedom, instead, it is an approach of ensuring that people can have well-being and rights.” As I read the daily news about the invasion of Ukraine I wonder why these ugly things still persist and wait for countries to sit down and discuss how to approach well-being, rights, and sustainability. And I look forward to June when we will hear from seven Utopian nations on how to become more perfect, better, loving and caring. That’s hope. About the Author Originally from Medford, New Jersey, USA, Jeff has taught in over seven countries since he began teaching in 1992. Presently, he teaches DP/ MYP I&S at Keystone Academy, Beijing and oversees WASC accreditation. Jeff has authored/co-authored several publications, including a Chinese culture/history book, a Business Management textbook, and MYP/DP curriculum for the IBO. His five children inspire him, always.

When we sit with students afterwards and break this down – what happened, why did or didn’t you reach a consensus is where another aspect of learning takes place and one that is very powerful.

Submit an Article to The EARCOS Journal We invite you to share the great things going on at your school with the other schools in the EARCOS region. Deadline for the following ET Journal Issues Fall Issue - September 1, 2022 Spring Issue - April 1, 2022 Winter Issue - December 1, 2022

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Here are some of the features in the next issue: Faces of EARCOS – Promotions, retirements, honors, etc. Campus Development Curriculum Initiatives Green and Sustainable

Service Learning Projects Action Research Reports Student Art – We will highlight ES art in Fall issue, MS art in Winter issue, and HS art in Spring issue. Student Writing

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We want to make sure submitted articles are not in violation of copyright laws. We highly encourage original articles. When you send an article to our ET Journal, we will make sure you get the proper credit by displaying your name, title, school, and email in the article. If you would like to submit an article please email Bill Oldread at OR at Spring 2022 Issue 25

I don’t think I am speaking out of line when I say that the past two years have not been easy for any school. A yo-yoing pandemic, macro-level global tensions, tectonic cultural shifts and an ever-increasing encroachment of technology into our personal lives have all compounded to make these incredibly stressful times for students, teachers, administrators and parents.


Lessons From the ISB Wellbeing Survey Data Project By Dale Plotzki International School of Busan

Like many schools, the International School of Busan rightly chose to put student wellbeing at the forefront of our whole-school goals for the 2021-2022 school year. One of the ways we would meet this goal was to conduct a social emotional check-in with every single student at least once a month to see how they are doing. We would ask them questions about their happiness, sense of ease, friendships and stresses which the kids would then rate themselves on. Taken together, these hundreds of responses would give us a bellwether measurement of how our student body was doing as a whole. It would also allow us to zoom in on and support specific groups and individual students who needed it. After eight months of steady observations, we have learned some valuable lessons from the 2022 ISB Wellbeing Survey Data Project. I would like to share some of those key take-aways with you. Lesson 1 - The kids want to talk. I personally thought that a monthly SEL check-in might receive a tepid response from our kids. That it might be seen as a nosey intrusion into their personal lives. It quickly became clear that this was not the case. Students saw the benefit of the SEL check-in system and participated fully. In fact, when given the chance to offer feedback on the initiative, many suggested we should do it bi-monthly or even weekly. Some students requested snapshots of their own data for personal projects, to cross-reference their own feelings and for class discussions. While students rightfully want to know how this data will be used to make a positive impact for them at school, they very much understand and support the initiative as a whole. Lesson 2 - Automate safety. A secondary benefit of the project was that it also allowed us to implement an important piece of student safe-guarding technology that I think every school should have; an automatic alert system. With a little no-code automation, students who responded that they urgently need to talk with a

26 EARCOS Triannual Journal

counselor, or who rated themselves as very low on the scales instantly get put into contact with our student-support team. We found that in a few cases, students who needed support didn’t even wait to be prompted to make a monthly log entry by their teacher; they just went to the form and asked for help on their own! This is a powerful tool for safe-guarding our kids that they themselves took ownership of.

Lesson 3 - Mind the (sleep) gap. The survey also cemented certain data points which perhaps all parents and teachers of adolescents intuitively know; teenagers don’t get that much sleep. In fact, there is a staggering two-and-a-half hour sleep gap between elementary and secondary school students that has stubbornly held for most of the year. While a changing circadian rhythm is part of normal adolescent development, it serves as a helpful reminder of the factors at play in that challenging 8:30am Grade 9 class.

Lesson 4 - Data that is visualized is seen. It’s one thing to be sitting on a mountain of good data in a spreadsheet, it’s another to lay it all out in a way that coaxes the reader to interact with and explore it. By connecting our data to Google Data Studio we were able to create powerful, user-friendly dashboards that allowed readers to make sense of the data. Compounding filters helped readers easily find answers to the questions that they were looking for. Data Studio also allows us to protect student privacy and allow for anonymity when sharing and discussing the data. If we were to just have just kept referring back to the spreadsheet and static charts, this project would have wound up in the dust-bin of the school year by about mid February. By presenting our data in a dynamic dashboard, it became a living, moving visual that all readers were keen to keep an eye on.

Lesson 5 - Schoolwork remains the largest stressor in our students’ lives. This was the most bitter pill to be swallowed from the entire project. I opened this article talking about the hard times we find ourselves living in sociopolitically. But across the board, students reported that tests and homework are what actually give them the most amount of stress in their lives. In a world wracked with anxiety and fear, schools should be keenly aware of this fact and act accordingly. Lowering the stress and anxiety around schoolwork as much as we can (when the ball is in our end of the court) is our best hope in making a tangible, positive effect on our students’ wellbeing.

So of course the question now is, what will we do with these new understandings? How will we take this initiative beyond just a flashy data project and into something that will make a material impact in our students’ lives? The dashboards are now part of the well-being committee that is crafting a scope and sequence for how we best address student social emotional needs at our school. By basing our structural and curricular offerings off of a firm foundation of student data and voice, we can be sure that we will be able to meet the needs of the challenges posed on students in these trying times. About the Author Dale Plotski is the Technology and Learning Innovation Coordinator at International School of Busan. He can be contacted at

Spring 2022 Issue 27


Language Arts and Science: Design Thinking Across Subjects By Matthew Francis and Brian Benck Saigon South International School

Creating a persuasive documentary highlighting both reasons and solutions for climate change around the world is a cross-curricular project that has been part of the Grade 8 Curriculum at Saigon South International School for the past five years. The goal is to blend Language Arts Standards involving persuasive writing, plot development, and writing for audience appeal, with science concepts and standards pertaining to how the natural world is affected and healed through human habits and interactions. Perhaps the overall goal was best explained by a student who commented that, “I gained much more perspective from the standpoint of a particular species, and how one species can be affected, and how nature is tied together.” The design thinking concept was used to allow creative practices to occur. By asking Grade 8 students: ‘What are the solutions to Global Warming?’ the Science and Language Arts subjects combined in a unit to allow the creativity of students to shine through, using a design thinking framework which enabled students to 1.) understand, 2.) explore and 3) materialize their ideas. In Science, students identified the scientific credible causes and effects of climate change. With facts in hand, students were allowed in Language Arts to take the opportunity to develop a storyboard where methods of persuasion, plot elements, and scientific facts were combined to create a rough draft of the film. Students use climate change as the medium to explore, research and create a piece of work which draws an emotional response and attracts the attention of the audience.The coordinated, cross-curricular approach between Science and Language arts provides the unique experience for students to complete a rich and rewarding assessment task based on a relevant and very worthwhile ‘real-world’ problem, allowing students to also have a voice into the possible solutions for the future. While students research their climate change topic, the Science class is provided with the opportunity to address key NGSS curriculum power standards which allow students to ask questions to clarify evidence. Students have the opportunity to analyze and interpret data on natural hazards and catastrophic events while gaining experience at applying scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing human impact on our environment. In speaking about the data analysis techniques used, one student felt that the, “Use of graphs improved my observation skills and ability to see how tiny details are important to the big picture of climate change.”These details became an important part of what would later be presented in the form of a persuasive documentary. Meanwhile, Language Arts studies the nine types of persuasion and decides the best methods for convincing an audience that everyone has a role to play and should care about the changes affecting our planet. This

28 EARCOS Triannual Journal

starts with a study of different persuasion types and how they can be used both for good and bad purposes, such as a bandwagon approach when used to rally people to a noble cause as opposed to being used as a force of peer pressure to part teens from their hard earned money. Another key element of the project is the inclusion of an interview. Students are asked to interview an expert who can add value to the message in their documentary. This exposes students to ‘networking’ and developing the skills to elicit important information from a third party. It also takes the students’ learning outside the classroom and into the ‘real world’ and engages their interest in the opinions and responses to this subject in the wider community. Often viewed as the truly stressing aspect of the project, an eighth grader was quick to point out that, “I felt really nervous having to contact an adult I didn’t know for a topic I was just learning about. Once I had my interview, I felt really proud and thought it was cool that someone I didn’t know was willing to help me.”

Once scientific information is gathered and organized using NoodleTools, the storyboard portion of the unit provides a chance to close computer screens, get out the markers, and create a fun, comic style rough draft of the film complete with sketches, bullet pointed plot summaries, and timeframes for different scenes. Also, the NoodleTools notecards are distributed throughout the “body” of the research project to determine where specific facts best fit. This storyboard is then converted into a final draft script complete with links to video, sound effects, and student voiceovers. “ The storyboard was stressful due to the physical nature of the project, but I impressed myself with my drawing skills, and liked the fact that it required extra creativity and gave me more freedom because I was not tied down to digital art during the planning stages” said one student while reflecting on the project. Parent and peer viewing sessions end the unit with audiences experiencing socially conscious videos based on the responsible use of both facts and persuasion. Viewers also witness the year long

culmination of skills pertaining to the development, organization, and final execution of large scale research projects. In summing up her feelings of success, one student remarked that, “The project was interesting because it was a long time since the last documentary or film I made. This work was much more independent, I liked having more self-planning and control over the final film.” As a final note, this project was able to be completed successfully even throughout the rise and spread of the Covid during Vietnam’s most recent wave. Students forced to attend classes via Zoom were able to obtain the information they needed during science class due to the school’s successful adaptations to a concurrent learning model. Storyboarding in Language Arts was switched from markers and paper to digital slides if necessary. This allowed students to complete the project successfully even if forced to switch to a digital model halfway through the storyboarding process. Finally, video editing and final scripts were easily accomplished from the classroom or home due to the flexible nature of Google Drive, making documents accessible and shareable from wherever the pandemic found us working. About the Authors Matthew Francis is a MS Math and Science teacher. Brian Benck is a MS English teacher both from Saigon South International School. Spring 2022 Issue 29


How to Universally Design for Learning for Students with Dis/ Abilities and Multilingual Learners (with Kagan Cooperative Learning Structures) By Casey Siagian, Hay Mar, and Natasha Bellande Stamford American International School

30 EARCOS Triannual Journal

About Our School and Us Stamford American International School (SAIS) is an IB school with 3000 students and 350 staff and leadership team coming from more than 100 countries. Teachers Hay Mar Aung, Natasha Bellande, and Casey Siagian work together in the Middle School English as an Additional Language (EAL) department. Our UDL Curriculum Initiative Journey It all started with our school-wide initiative of implementing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in all classes and grade levels from K-12. One professional learning development opportunity our school adopted was the Universally Design for Learning (UDL) framework as we partnered with Dr. Katie Novak back in June 2021. UDL, in short, is an approach to teaching and learning that gives ALL students equal opportunity to succeed. Starting with the first UDL principle, Engagement, we instantly thought of Kagan cooperative learning structures and how they promote an inclusive classroom setting with varied levels of English as Additional Language (EAL) learners and students with a range of dis/abilities. Kagan cooperative learning ensures that EVERY student is actively involved. They are instructional strategies designed to promote cooperation and communication in the classroom, boost students’ confidence, and retain their interest in classroom interaction. From there, our passion for DEI and UDL skyrocketed and has been an on-going teaching and learning journey since. How We incorporate Kagan Structures in the UDL Framework It is undeniable that learner variability exists in every classroom. There is a range of learners with different backgrounds, learning approaches and level of motivation and engagement in any classroom. UDL is a framework that promotes creating environments where learners have access to what they need to flexibly meet their learning goals. An important first step is to identify barriers, such as language proficiency levels and individual students’ specific learning disabilities. UDL Framework is developed based on the three main principles: Engagement, Representation and Action & Expression. Being aware of the

existence of the learner variability, it is crucial that the barriers are identified and addressed in order to provide multiple means of engagement and representation in the classroom. Giving choices and voices to the learners through survey questions and creating learning goals that are relevant to learners are some of those strategies to encourage engagement in the classroom. In a recent EAL student survey, one student said, “I like these (Kagan) structures because they are easy to understand. Everyone has a chance to share their opinions and ideas with different teammates.” Teachers have also promoted engagement through Kagan structure. One teacher said, ‘I really love our team building activities because they create a sense of camaraderie in the classroom. They also develop communication skills of all sorts, like verbal and non-verbal. A fun way to get a brain break.” Since learner variability is a norm, but systematic and predictable in the classroom, it is no harm to vary how the content is conveyed in multiple means of Representation. The use of visuals, audio, and hands-on activities promotes perception whereas activating background knowledge and highlighting patterns and big ideas foster comprehension. The Kagan structure, Jot Thoughts, is an ideal structure to activate background knowledge, especially for our multilingual learners and students of all abilities where they take time to process thinking, share with their teammates, and write ideas on slips of paper in the allotted time.

ENGAGEMENT: • Fun before content - Always! Before you ask students to RallyRobin the effects of the French Revolution, start with something fun and personal to introduce the structure! Instead, try: What are your favorite foods? • Your classroom will be noisy and it’s okay. Use an attention getter such as “Signal please” to get students’ attention. REPRESENTATION: • Post visuals of the structures and refer to them when introducing a new/old structure • Post sentence starters for initial responses and for responding to partners. Provide options.

For example, the I&S teacher names a topic to activate background knowledge: What do you know about the Spanish Invasion? Jot thoughts! Student A: They attacked the Aztec empire. Student B: Hernan Cortes was the leader of the invasion. Student C: The Spanish were looking for (gold), I think. Student D: Yes, gold.The Aztecs were nomadic. The third UDL principle, Action and Expression, is when learners show what they have learned. Tools can be used to optimize the learners’ outcome in which, for example, they are given the options to either record or give a live presentation rather than be limited to a standard format of expression such as a handwritten summative assessment. Students could have the option to choose their form of expression from a choice board that has one clearly defined goal. One way to facilitate student choice and voice is through the Kagan Structure, RallyRobin. This popular structure fosters an opportunity to express their output with multiple possible responses or solutions. Teacher-to-Teacher Tips Some tips on promoting 3 UDL Principles with Kagan Cooperative Learning Structures:

ACTION & EXPRESSION: • It’s simple, but so important for our language learners and students with dis/abilities: Always provide “think time!” • Post positive gambits and make it part of your routine to encourage student voice (“Thank you for sharing!”) • Promote translanguaging by allowing students to write or respond in their in their home languages MS EAL Team Resource Multilingual Language Learner Leveled Poster with Recommdend Kagan Structures (Click here) Bibliography Torres, Caroline, and Kavita Rao. UDL for Language Learners. CAST, Inc., 2019. Kagan, Spencer Miguel Kagan. Kagan Cooperative Learning. Workbook, Kagan Cooperative Learning, 2015. About the Authors Casey Siagian is an experienced, award-winning educator originally from the United States. She is the Head of Middle School English as an Additional Language (EAL). Hay Mar is a passionate English as an Additional Language teacher. She has taught Business English and English as a Second Language at International Schools in Myanmar and Thailand, prior to coming to Singapore. Natasha Bellande is currently an English as an Additional Language (EAL) teacher in the Grade 8 Sheltered EAL program and a co-teacher in Individuals & Societies. Spring 2022 Issue 31


Building Reception Math Skills During Home Learning By Ms. Louise Graham and Mrs. Emily Turner-Williams Reception Teachers Concordia International School Hanoi

The Concordia Reception team understands the importance of developing the mathematical thinking of our youngest learners, along with helping to foster a love for math right from the start. Upon getting to know our students and learning more about who they are as mathematicians, it was evident that there were many different learning needs that we must address. We wanted to help each reception student to develop their mathematical capabilities and confidence in each area of the curriculum. Therefore, to make sure we were meeting those needs, we hoped to design an inclusive math program with effective instruction for home learning. To achieve this goal, the Reception students are split into small groups, mixing across classes. Each small math group covers the same objective, however, the approach to instruction, the strategies taught, scaffolding, and questioning are differentiated.

This ensures we can meet students where they are on their learning journey and help them to move forward in their understanding and application of math skills. When teaching math to early learners, students must use manipulatives to develop their mathematical skills, thinking, and comprehension. By manipulating objects with their hands, students are able to visualize the math concepts being taught with more ease and to make sense of their learning. Making sure each student had access to important manipulatives and materials during home learning was a challenge that we faced at the beginning of the year. With a little creativity, we were able to come up with solutions that enabled every student in Reception to have the same tools. We created math learning packs containing everything from hundred charts, to pattern blocks. Students have taken an active role in the development of their math tools by creating their own base ten blocks, clocks, and even handmade balancing scales! This has become a great opportunity for students to take ownership of their learning. Having so many manipulatives and resources has allowed teachers to create fun and engaging lessons where students can be ‘hands-on, and minds-on’ during math time.

Built into our reception schedule, students also enjoy ‘Morning Math Talks’. During this time, students review math concepts they have learned previously, in a fun way that helps to consolidate their skills. This time also permits the students to have discussions as a whole class about problem-solving, sharing different perspectives and ways of approaching math problems. Students often work as a team on challenges, such as virtual escape rooms, that allow students to collaborate and support one another in their learning. These 10 - 20 minute math talks are a great way to keep students engaged in mathematics, and spirits high during home learning. Building and maintaining engagement during home learning is a goal we continuously strive to achieve. Knowing that disengagement tends to result in a lower academic performance we are continually revising and creating ways to embed learning opportunities into the students’ home environments. Unlocking new understanding and mathematical ideas is fascinating to young students, and we hope to keep that curiosity and interest alive, even in these unique times. Concordia Reception students continue to amaze us with their resilience and inquisitive nature every day!

32 EARCOS Triannual Journal

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ELL Strategies to Reach All Learners in the Science Classroom

ties included see, think, wonder slides, inspired by Harvard’s Making Thinking Visual, and Think Dots in which students roll dice with a partner and discuss a slide like one shown below. Such activities get student talking from the first moments of class, activate schema and prior knowledge, and can serve to build curiosity for that day’s content. In the picture I see... What I see in the picture makes me think about... What I see in the picture makes me wonder...

By Gina Lappé and Kent Dwyer St. Johnsbury Academy Jeju

Learning science can feel like learning a new language. The language of science is technical, specific, and vast, with each term meant to describe exactly one thing. This can make science intimidating for many learners and exclude ELL students and students with varying learning needs. As a sixth-grade science teacher, I’ve had many students enter my classroom, in the US and aboard, and tell me they are “bad at science”. What I hear when they say that is learning science vocabulary is hard. Add in the layer of learning science in your second or third language and the content can become daunting or inaccessible to many learners in the International School setting.. Recent growth trends in international schools, in particular in the Middle East and Asia, show an increase in schools serving a student body of majority local students (Bunnell, 2021). Such demographics in your classroom presents an opportunity to more easily tailor materials that support students in growing both their mother tongue and the target language for the content area. It can also present challenges. Students must take a large social risk in speaking English in front of their peers. It can be difficult to maintain an immersive English experience for students as they are surrounded by peers who share a common mother tongue. Further, the demands on content teachers to be language teachers first can be new and daunting for many educators. I was certainty stretched as an educator when I arrived at my first international school in South Korea. Over 90% of my students were local and learning English. There was a vast range in English language proficiency, and I had limited experience working with ELL students. I knew I needed to adapt my practice to best meet my student’s needs. Through sustained collaboration between myself and an ELL specialist, we transformed my curriculum to make content meaningful and accessible to all students. By integrating strategies like those outlined below I was able to create a student-centered classroom dominated by student talk where all students have entry points to the content and opportunities to grow as scientists and community members. Interactive Student-to-Student Talk I strive to center student voice in my classroom. As I added more language strategies to my toolkit, I committed to beginning every lesson with an interactive student-to-student talk activity. Such activi32 EARCOS Triannual Journal 34

Ask 1-2 questions Figure 1 - Simple See, Think, Wonder slides get students curious about content, using vocabulary, and engaging with a peer in the first few minutes of class. Supportive tools like a student friendly vocabulary resource that includes translations further empowers students to engage directly with new vocabulary. Zeroing in on a set of high leverage terms for each unit gives students a manageable about to focus on and ensures that you have a clear sense of your linguistic goals in a given unit. Think Dots! FINISH THE SENTENCE

You choose Ask or Describe

#1 Species are introduced because...

#1 invasive species

#2 Producers are important because...

#2 consumers

#3 Biotic factors compete when...

#3 abiotic factor

#4 Prey nedd predators because...

#4 competition

#5 An apex predator can...

#5 apex predator

#6 Humans help ecosystems...

#6 The Eagle’s Issues Story

Figure 2 - Think Dots is another strategy designed to give students options as they engage with content vocabulary. After rolling a dice they can choose to finish the sentence on the left, or ask about or describe the term on the right. Empowering Students with Student Roles Using a jigsaw protocol to break down complex nonfiction text into manageable chunks that are leveled to meet a range of linguistic needs is a powerful way to position each learner as a content expert. This approach can sometimes break down when students need to share what they learned with their peers. Students can be overwhelmed by presenting or default to copying notes. Integrating student roles into this stage of the jigsaw protocol helps each student stay engaged throughout the process. Common roles I use in a jigsaw are presenter, the one presenting their learning; summarizer, a student who must summarize the presenter’s main ideas in their own words; questioner, a student who must ask two or more questions; and recorder, a student who uses a recording tool to keep track of the discussion. The roles and supporting tools support effective collaborative talk as students are tasked with asking questions, summarizing main ideas, and drawing connections across content.

These roles can easily be modified from, or to, a lab group or other group work protocols as well. Elevating Academic Talk using Fishbowl Discussion Once students feel comfortable with the content vocabulary, it is important they get an opportunity to apply it. Fishbowl discussions are when a small group of students are discussing a unit related topic while another group of students is observing the discussion. Topics for these discussions are designed to prompt debate, deep thinking, connections to student experiences, and application of unit content and vocabulary.Tailoring both the student preparation sheet and the observation sheet provides you the opportunity to guide students towards the content you want them focusing on as well as the discussion norms you want them using. INTRA-ACT: What do you think? What do others think? 1. Circle Yes or No for each of the ideas. 2. Add an idea or question for each row to use when we talk. Idea


By learning about the environment, scientists can help keep ecosystems in balance.

Yes No

Sometimes changes humans make to the environment are good for the ecosystem.

Yes No

Changes people make sometimes have unexpected impacts on nature.

Yes No

The more we learn about ecosystems the better we will be able to protect them.

Yes No

Figure 4 - The preparation tool, like the one shown here, can be based on a specific resource or prompt connections to various learning experiences.

In classroom reflections, students often point to fishbowl discussions as the activity that pushes them the most and helps them learn the most. This year, a group of students proposed changes to the observation sheet specific to their own goals and observations. Specifically, they noticed their peers seemed comfortable using the collaborative speech strategies of agreeing and disagreeing with evidence and suggested we focus on other types of collaborative speech for future discussions. This level of self-awareness demonstrates just how meaningful these discussions have become for the students. Students thrive in learning spaces where they can be engaged and successful; spaces where they feel themselves learning. Unfortunately, it is easy for language learners to spend large chunks of their day unsure of how to engage, what success looks like, or even what the task in front of them is asking of them. Integrating activities like those above into a content class gives every student entry points for success and tools to support him or herself in making progress. We encourage teachers to give them a try, measure how classroom interactions shift, and plan their next steps in supporting all learners in communicating about scientific topics. Citation Bunnell, T. (2021). The crypto-growth of “International schooling”: Emergent issues and implications. Educational Review, 74(1), 39–56. About the Authors Gina Lappé is a Science Teacher and Kent Dwyer is a ELL Specialist, both from St. Johnsbury Academy Jeju. They can be contacted at and

The preparation tool, which students resource during the discussion, also ensure all students have access to prepared ideas to share. Many students feel vulnerable in this format, so it is important you provide them with the handholds they need to feel successful. Reflection after discussion and goal setting between are also meaningful tools to support students linguistic and academic growth.

Deadline Extended (September 1, 2022) EARCOS Weekend Workshops One of the services EARCOS provides to its member schools throughout the year is the sponsorship of two-day workshops and institutes for faculty and administration. The topics for these workshops are determined according to the needs of members. Workshops are hosted by EARCOS schools. READ MORE

Spring 2022 Issue 35

Discovery Days Bus 2018


Empowering Future Leaders with GenHERation® By Katlyn Grasso CEO and Founder, GenHERation® GenHERation® is a network where young women and companies connect that is driven by the mantra, “If you can see it, you can be it.” GenHERation® was founded by entrepreneur Katlyn Grasso, who also serves as the company’s CEO. As a young entrepreneur passionate about closing the gender leadership gap, Katlyn founded GenHERation® when she was an undergraduate at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. GenHERation® currently has more than 500,000 young women in their community and has hosted 750 events, including their award-winning GenHERation® Discovery Days tour that has been recognized as the largest career exploration trip for young women in the United States. GenHERation® works with more than 200 companies, including Fortune 500 companies, tech giants, retailers, government agencies, and sports franchises. Katlyn is dedicated to international research on girls’ leadership development and how schools can create an entrepreneurial ecosystem that cultivates resilient leaders in the classroom and beyond. Q: What is GenHERation® and how did you come up with the idea for it? Katlyn Grasso: As a social entrepreneur, I have always been pas36 EARCOS Triannual Journal

sionate about empowering young women and wanted to create a business that provided an experiential learning platform for leadership. During the summer after my sophomore year of college, I received research grants from the Wharton Social Impact Initiative and Wharton Innovation Fund to study leadership development in high school girls to gain a better understanding of my target audience. I interviewed more than 700 high school girls, 40 female executives, and 30 educators in all 50 states, 9 countries, and 4 continents to analyze the factors that influence girls’ perception of leadership. Using this knowledge, I founded GenHERation®, which is a network where young women and companies connect. We provide aspirational young women with access to the most innovative companies in the world through our online platform and international events. Q: How can educators support young women’s leadership development in the classroom? Grasso: Young women spend the majority of their time in the classroom, so it is important for them to participate in experiential learning opportunities that allow them to develop their confidence, critical thinking skills, and resilience. This starts with giving young women the agency to exercise their independence in environments

that nurture their growth potential, such as asking them to lead a group project or starting an afterschool club. Once young women realize that they can successfully hold a leadership role by setting a goal, leading a group, and achieving a desired outcome, they will gain confidence in their abilities and be more likely to pursue leadership positions in the community, university, and beyond. Educators can be advocates in this journey by proactively identifying opportunities for young women at their schools and helping to remove any barriers that stand in their way. Q: What role does entrepreneurship play in young women’s leadership development? Grasso: While I realize that every young woman may not want to be an entrepreneur, I believe that every young woman should embrace the entrepreneurial mindset. The most important elements of the entrepreneurial mindset involve approaching challenges from a solution-oriented mindset and learning how to advocate for your ideas to propel your personal goals forward. Entrepreneurs are also master collaborators and persuasive communicators, which are skills that transcend any industry. If young women are equipped with these entrepreneurial skills, they are better prepared to overcome obstacles as future leaders in their communities. Q: What are the most important skills educators should help students develop in the classroom to become engaged global citizens? Grasso: I think it is most important for educators to help students develop a “toolkit of skills” that can be applied to a variety of situations. The most important skills are: 1.



Curiosity: Students who have an insatiable passion for learning are better prepared to adapt to the needs of an ever-changing world. By encouraging students to “start with why,” they will become innovative learners and leaders. Active Listening: The best way to enact change is to listen to those around you. When you are a good listener, you can ask better, more thoughtful questions that inspire meaningful and productive conversations. Persistence: The most successful people are the ones who

never give up. By creating environments where students are encouraged to take risks and work through challenges with confidence, they will be more likely to view setbacks as learning opportunities. Q: GenHERation® is expanding internationally and you are working in the EARCOS region! How can our member schools get involved? Grasso: We are excited to be working in the EARCOS region and will be hosting our first program for EARCOS students this summer! EARCOS students can participate in the GenHERation® Connection 2022, which connects young women with leaders at the most innovative companies in the world during a weeklong experiential learning program. Students will have the opportunity to learn from industry experts, participate in skill-building simulations, and take part in 2 mentoring sessions. Each day of the week will feature a different industry, such as tech, retail, media & entertainment, finance, and sports, and participants will work in teams to complete challenges.Young women can get involved with GenHERation® by visiting our website (, attending our events, joining our newsletter, and following us on social media (@genheration) to become a member of our community. Once you are a GenHERation® member, you gain access to events, inspiring content, job and internship opportunities, mentors, and more! About the Author Katlyn Grasso is the CEO and Founder, GenHERation®. Katlyn is a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where she received a B.S. in Economics with concentrations in finance and strategic globalization.

AllSaints Group Photo

Winter 2022 Issue 35


Collaboration between Tech, Faculty and Health Teams Results in Effective Hybrid Learning Solutions By Akofa Wallace United Nations International School of Hanoi

School age children living in Hanoi haven’t experienced a full day of face-to-face learning so far in the 2021-2022 academic year - a consequence of ongoing efforts by the Hanoi authorities to protect the population from Covid. In December 2021, thanks to high rates of vaccinated teenagers in Vietnam’s capital city, students starting with the most senior grades, have been slowly returning to in-person learning, but on a part time basis and with unique restrictions. As of February 2022, students in grades 7-12 have returned to campus for four hours of the day as long as they had no symptoms and did not live in a ward classified as orange or red. “In compliance with Hanoi’s current guidance, Covid-free students living in a green or yellow ward come to campus in the mornings and then learn online in the afternoons” explains UNIS Hanoi’s Director of Technology, Adam Archer. To ensure minimal disruption to student learning, Mr Archer’s ten-member team partnered with the health centre and school leadership to develop apps and equip teachers with hardware designed to facilitate students shifting in and out of hybrid learning.

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imity to someone with Covid, were required to quarantine - in some cases for two weeks. For schools, this meant that entire grades could, in theory, be required to quarantine, severely disrupting teaching and learning. Adam Archer explained, “Recognising how easily students and teachers could end up being quarantined en masse, we sought to create an efficient way to make mini bubbles so that fewer students would be required to quarantine in the event a student tested for Covid.” UNIS Hanoi’s Tech Team partnered with the Teaching and Learning Leads to design an app on a low code platform so that teachers can pair up students in class every week, making it easier for the School to contact trace. Tanay Naik, Secondary School Deputy Principal Teaching and Learning said, “Our teachers have from Sunday 8am up to Monday 8am every week to log into the ‘Bubbles’ app to pair up their students within a virtual classroom space. These pairs are seated together at least two metres apart from the next pair of students, and means that if a student tests positive for the virus, we can pull up their week’s schedule and instantly identify who they were sat next to in each of their classes.Thanks to the app, our faculty and nurses can swiftly identify exposed students, with minimal disruption to teaching and learning.”

Cameras in action UNIS Hanoi Hybrid Learning Screening Students for Covid In an effort to find a simple way for both employees of UNIS Hanoi and families to share information about COVID-19, the School utilised its School Information System (SIS). A SIS was already being used to search data on members of the community, filter them as well as communicate with them via emails and portals. With this in mind, it made sense for the Tech Team to further utilise modules available to create ‘Covid Screening’ and ‘Opt out’ Questionnaires allowing the health centre to efficiently split students into remote or on campus cohorts based on questionnaires or household location. The cohort system provided visibility into which students were permitted on campus for accurate attendance, transportation planning and health screening which are all essential for child safeguarding. “Thanks to the cohort system, we are able to filter students who’ve contracted Covid, are in a restricted ward or have a member in their household who has it, therefore making them ineligible to come on campus.” explained the Head School Nurse, Jo Connolly. Ms Connolly added the cohort system has ensured the school can fulfill their contact tracing obligations as accurately as possible as it provides detailed records of students moving in and out of hybrid status. Creating mini bubbles A key Covid prevention strategy adopted by Vietnam from the very start of the pandemic was contact tracing. Over the past two years, the country has scaled up contact tracing efforts by introducing apps for residents to use, helping to track movements and alert people exposed to the virus. People found to be Covid positive or in prox-

A number of iterations were made to the original design to best reflect the needs of UNIS Hanoi. For example, for classes with only ten students, pairing them up is not required. Therefore, teachers have the option to choose the “No Bubble Needed” feature. As a result of the bubble app, UNIS Hanoi decreased the number of students and teachers having to quarantine as a result of being in close contact by up to 90% while staying compliant with local health regulations. Camera installation to support hybrid learning Until students are permitted to return to campus fully, the Tech Team has installed 70 cameras and tripods in physical classrooms so that students who are unable to join class in person, can still follow the class and feel included in the lesson. Tanay added, “The introduction of these cameras have reduced the need for our teachers to deliver face-to-face teaching, while making content amenable for online learning.” Jane Mc Gee, UNIS Hanoi’s Head of School said the consistent collaboration, creativity and daily problem solving skills the Tech Team has displayed has allowed the School to keep campus open safely, while delivering both a quality face-to-face and online programme. She shared, “Our Tech Team is in a league of their own - they are simply amazing.” About the Author Akofa Wallace is the Communications Manager at United Nations International School of Hanoi. She can be contacted at

Spring 2022 Issue 39


Mentoring Students with Analogue Photography— a personal journey By John Miller United World College Thailand I had been fiddling with film photography for about a year when a student approached me with a proposal for her MYP personal project. She was hoping to address the issue of body shaming and promote body positivity and positive self image using black and white film photography. I considered the immensity of the task, and after some initial hesitation I agreed to be her mentor and assist in the learning process. Initially I was baffled as to why a student her age would choose to pursue analogue photography, what many believe is a dead technology, in our digital era. The students of today are digital natives who have come of age with photography at their fingertips. As the technology behind smartphones evolves through the use of computational photography software, traditional cameras seem less relevant than ever before. For these reasons, I was surprised to see a student express interest in film photography. Whenever an old song or a bit of forgotten popular culture comes up in class, I generally look to social media to explain the trend. Sure enough, film photography is making a comeback on instagram and other photo sharing platforms, partially

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My student chose her favorite teachers as subjects for her photography. This shot came out so well that the teacher remarked “I think I’ll frame this and give it to my wife. - Nicolas Frangoudes” was then left with a digital file that could be manipulated in adobe Lightroom and then printed.

Early efforts were unimpressive, but help us to see an evolution in the skillset. because of the unique aesthetic properties of film, and partially because a new generation of photographers (who never knew a world before the advent of digital cameras) is discovering it for the first time. My film-curious student had found her line of inquiry through some of her favorite instagram influencers who were experimenting with getting that unique film look. In researching the proper tools for her assignment, and considering the limited budget we had to work with, we turned to the used photography equipment market. Prices of film cameras have seen a spike recently due to the aforementioned rise in demand from millennials, but many film era SLRs are still available for a reasonable price today. Mechanical cameras from recognizable brands like Canon and Nikon can be found for under 300 USD and more modern electronic cameras can often be found for less than 100 USD. I was able to help my student shop for a camera and order locally in Thailand from an online shop. With a few rolls of film and some other accessories, the costs for the whole project were less than 150 USD. In lieu of a darkroom, we processed the images using a special changing bag with sleeves that form a light-sealed workspace. Getting the film out of the canisters and onto the reels was a frustrating experience, requiring patience and perseverance, as we could not see the contents of the bag, but had to operate entirely by feel. The developing itself had the feel of a chemistry experiment, necessitating fastidious adherence to developing times and temperature control. There was significant nervousness in draining the tanks and viewing the negatives for the first time—would the images turn out ok? Would they be washed out and over-exposed? Did the decades old camera work after all? Throughout the process I was surprised by how well the pictures routinely turned out. With all of the variables introduced, it seemed impossible to imagine that the end-product would pass any kind of aesthetic quality control test, but the images were surprisingly good in the end. Since we didn’t have the budget to invest in an enlarger or true darkroom equipment, our next step was to combine the analogue and digital processes, using a flatbed scanner that we had at school. By using the film scanning trays that came with the scanner originally (most people just throw these away or confine them to a box for eternity) we were able to scan eight images at a time. My student

After her personal project was complete, I wondered whether my student would continue to shoot film. It had been a fun experiment, but I could not imagine her wanting to continue this onerous process when a suitable alternative was nearby, in the form of a smartphone. Much to my surprise, my student came in a few months later with a roll of exposed film and asked if I would help her develop it after school. As educators, we tend to credit students with mastery of technological tools. After all, they impress us daily with their extensive knowhow. However, it sometimes becomes apparent that students are suffering from the same technology associated drawbacks as their adult counterparts. Regarding photography in particular, the ease of a screen has made us lazy with composition and has made us less intentional about how we take photographs. Since we can take many photos and choose the best one, we are less intentional about how an image is created. Similarly speaking, if a photographer wants to take their skills to the “next level” and invest in a digital camera and lenses, they are sometimes stymied by the fact that their expensive hardware doesn’t automatically produce images that are “better” than a smartphone. It takes time to learn how shutter speed and aperture interact to create more creative images, and these are photography truths that mobile photography seldom teaches us. By engaging in the more mindful approach that film gives us, we are forced to spend some time learning and working within the limitations of the tools that we have. It is a reminder to slow down, employ a visualization process and pay attention to the world around us. Kurt Hahn, the founder of Outward Bound and the United World College movement identified six “declines of modern youth” almost 100 years ago, far before the age of smartphones. He said that “skill and care” were declining because of the “weakened tradition of craftsmanship.” If photography is an art form, practicing that art in a more traditional way can help us achieve impressive educational outcomes that extend far beyond the discipline itself and into soft skillsets like mindful observation, communication and a disciplined attention to detail. About the Author John Miller is the Design, IB Language and Literature, and Outdoor Education at United World College Thailand.

Spring 2022 Issue 41


Shifting from Global to Local: Service in Action at American International School Hong Kong

Being citizen scientists and exploring nature with WWF.

By Meghan Robertson American International School Hong Kong American International School (AIS) works to instil the importance of “global mindedness” and service learning in our students. Since 2005, we have developed an Adventure Week program at AIS as part of our larger Outdoor Education & Leadership Program. For one week during the year all students take part in an off-campus, usually overseas, program that is designed to develop students holistically in a way not possible in the classroom or home setting. All of the programs include a community service component that provides students a chance to serve and give back to the community they visit. These programs also support our students as they develop our school’s Expected Schoolwide Learning Results becoming Empowered Thinkers, Global Citizens, Effective Communicators and Well-Rounded Individuals. When the global COVID-19 pandemic began, we had to move away from our typical Adventure Week programs to keep our students and staff safe, as well as respond to significant travel restrictions. However, rather than cancel our experiential learning program outright, the plans for a new program that would meet the same learning and growth opportunities began. Like any other city in the world, Hong Kong has communities and environments in need. 42 EARCOS Triannual Journal

Setting up the aquaponics system in a Grade 2 classroom.

The Soap Cycling Process.

Students at Africa Centre learning about cultural awareness.

Through shifting our focus from global to local, using the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development (UN SDGs) as an umbrella, and forging connections with local NGOs, charities, and organisations, From Global to Local was born! Our From Global to Local programs are designed to support our local community and allow students to see a different side of the city they know, love, and call home.

Over the course of three days, AIS students explored new areas of the city, met new people, and experienced new things. Students worked with World Wildlife Fund and VolTra to protect the natural environment in Hong Kong. They worked with Okapi Studio and Rooftop Republic focusing on sustainability. They worked with FeedingHK and St. Barnabas Home & Society to support those experiencing homelessness and food insecurity. They worked with SoapCycling to focus on the importance of hygiene. They worked with Africa Centre to bring awareness to equity issues and the plight of refugees. They built lasting connections within our community that will be nurtured in years to come. Some students have even been inspired to continue to volunteer with their local connection outside of school hours.

After many delays and setbacks throughout the 2020-2021 school year due to the continued pandemic, and after almost a year and a half of planning, we were finally able to run this program in November 2021! Seven programs were developed with Hong Kong organisations that focused on different UN SDGs to provide a variety of experiences for students. Students were given a choice in which program they would participate in to build excitement and focus on their area of interest. Students met with their groups to learn more about the UN SDG their local connection focused on. They learned about the goal on a global scale, then narrowed their focus to how the issue manifests in Hong Kong and what their local connection was doing to work towards a solution.They also explored ways they, as students, could make a difference in their daily lives. This learning led up to the three-day program spent immersed in activity and service with their local connection.

Two exciting aspects of these programs will continue at AIS throughout the year. The group that worked with VolTra built aquaponics systems that have been brought back to our school for use in our science classrooms from Grade 2 to 12. Students will learn about this method of sustainable food production while also studying the life cycle of plants. The group with Rooftop Republic built planter boxes that will be used at AIS to grow edible plants for use in our school cafeteria. The students from this program have diligently cared for their plants and can frequently be seen watering them during breaks. Younger students are also checking on the plants every day to see how much they have grown. When back at school, students spent time reflecting about their learning and experiences during the From Global to Local programs. The program helped students to build and strengthen friendships, develop their communication and leadership skills, however, the most important thing is that the learning that students have taken away from these programs will stay with them. As they continue on their education and life journey and become the leaders of the future, hopefully, they will be encouraged to make changes to their lives in order to help us all meet the UN targets. About the Author Meghan Robertson is the Dean of Students & Service Learning Coordinator at American International School. She can be contacted at

Students with an aquaponic system they built.

Spring 2022 Issue 43


Living Green Walls Brighten Up Winter at the International School of Beijing By Matthew Yamatin former ISB Sustainability Manager

“Make your way to the Elementary School stairwell near the main entrance, and you’ll find yourself at the living green wall. Spanning three stories from the ground floor up, what used to be an empty white space is now a space covered with plants, vines, ferns, and flowers,” writes Allen F for the International School of Beijing (ISB) student newspaper The Break. Over the summer of 2021, the International School of Beijing (ISB) installed this living green wall as part of its commitment to sustainability and as a capstone to a High School student project in biophilic design by Hazel S and Ryleigh R. Biophilic design is an innovative new field growing in popularity in buildings around the world. The term ‘biophilia’ was first coined by biologist and Harvard University professor Edward Osborne Wilson from the Greek “bios,” meaning life, and “philia,” meaning fondness. The term has since evolved to the idea that humans possess an innate love of nature, essential for our health and productivity. Numerous studies in how buildings impact student learning have shown that, at all educational levels, direct exposure to the natural environment can enhance learning by improving student attention and behavior. ISB’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA) had previously identified the need to increase the role of nature within the school. Upon hearing about the work of the High School students, the PTA jumped at the opportunity to provide their support, in the form of a financial gift for ISB’s 40th anniversary year. As a result of the PTA’s sponsorship, ISB installed a second living green wall at the front entrance a little later last summer. Winter marked an essential phase for the living green walls. ISB, in collaboration with the designer’s maintenance team, evaluated the health of the over 20 different species of plants located on the walls. The design vendor has constructed numerous living green walls that remain healthy and green years after. We have high confidence in the integrated water feeding system and LED lights to keep the plants healthy but will continue watching closely. 44 EARCOS Triannual Journal

The living green wall has sparked interest across the school – how does it work? What type of plants are used? Can we build more? We plan to invite the design team back to ISB later in the year to have an open discussion with students and staff on the design process of a green wall. Another question often asked by students and staff centers on the environmental benefits of a living green wall. Will the plants save us energy? Will they increase the amount of oxygen and clean the air? Following the science, the answers are “no” or “not significantly.” For example, energy used to maintain the health of the plants is greater than potential savings from heating and cooling. That said, validating the science with a living example would make for a fascinating student project! ISB’s Sustainability Roadmap 2025 is focused on making ISB a healthier, more sustainable place of learning.The living green walls are consistent with this ongoing commitment. The Sustainability Roadmap 2025 is ISB’s strategic pathway to evolve into a healthier, more sustainable place of learning.The Roadmap establishes a holistic vision for our future with clear goals and priorities in the areas of learning and sharing, people, planet, and campus. It also encourages students and staff to continue investigating, planning, creating, and acting on sustainability opportunities by using learning experiences inside and outside the classroom to tackle real-world challenges on our campus. Learn more about ISB’s sustainability endeavors by visiting


Ecovengers (CCA) Tote Bags - Personal Project By Zaya, Grade 10 International School of Ulaanbaatar My name is Zaya and I go to the International school of Ulaanbaatar (ISU). I am currently in the 10th grade and 16 years old. ISU is an IB World School and I am in the Middle Years Programme (MYP). When in the 10th grade, MYP students go through a process called the ‘Personal Project’, where over the course of a few months, we are required to initiate and complete our own project for the betterment of ourselves or a service project. Criterions and rubrics are provided for us to follow and give us the outline and order of the project. For my personal project I wanted to do something related to service and the environment, which led my learning goal to be “Learning more about eco-friendly products and their benefits to the environment, which I will achieve through researching the effect of plastic on the environment and how eco-friendly products can help fight against it”. And the product goal being “producing/making ecofriendly products, specifically tote bags to sell at ISU through Ecovengers, at least producing over 50 of them to begin with”.

The reason why I was so fixated on working with the Ecovengers is because I remember joining the same eco club at ISU in primary school in 2nd grade. We preserved in action to try and make ISU as eco-friendly as possible, from recycling and reusing the plastic bottles to plotting plants and taking care of them. So that was when my hobby and interest with environmentalism all started, and ever since then I had been joining Ecovengers every year I could. From a young age learning about the horrible environmental issues terrified me for the future of our planet and scared me. Even now it is something I unconsciously do and think about. Ecovengers had a huge impact on me, from urging my parents to stop buying plastic bottles to always being mindful of my waste and making sure it gets thrown away. These little initiatives we did made me so happy and feel like we were able to do so much for the environment. This year, I joined as a student helper and helped lead the primary students with their initiatives and in return they helped me create the tote bags, of which they designed the logo for. Working together, we created drafts of possible logo ideas they had thought of, which I digitized, and finally, they helped choose our winning design.

Mock ups of the small and large tote bags. From then on it was my responsibility to find a tote bag making company and get in contact with them to help make our tote bags. I was able to find a local Mongolian company called “Хотир ХХК”. The company manager helped me finalize my designs from color, material and size. I met with her a couple times to get samples of the tote bags which I brought in to the Ecovengers to have checked by the teachers. After everything was finalized we officially placed our order and the manager was able to get the bags produced in under a week.

The author (back row, second from the left) shows off the new tote bags with the Primary teachers and students from Ecovengers. With the help of the Co-Curricular Activtiy (CCA) club at ISU called the Ecovengers, I worked towards making tote bags for my personal project. ‘Ecovengers’ is a teacher-led after school activity, which aims to raise awareness about environmental issues to students within our school. With the help of the two teachers that lead ‘Ecovengers’, Ms. Andrea and Ms. Sonia I was able to start my project.

We ordered 60 bags, four colors, with two different sizes, one casual smaller bag whereas the other was a big bag to use for grocery trips. Ecovengers members created posters to help advertise our tote bags to the ISU community around campus, in our weekly newsletter, and on Seesaw, thus we were able to start our selling journey and it has been very successful. We sold out of our first order in under two weeks and have placed a larger, second order to continue the momentum. Funds raised from this project will go towards helping with future Ecovengers initiatives. I am extremely grateful for all the help and support I have received from all the teachers, Ecovengers, and the tote bag company to help make my project come alive and help me complete my personal project for the 10th grade. Thank you so much!

Spring 2022 Issue 45


Designed For Learning By Nasci Lobo Yokohama International School

Marking a major milestone in its long history as one of the world’s first expressly international schools, Yokohama International School has relocated from the original location of the school’s founding in 1924 to a new purpose-built campus. The new campus, designed by world-renowned architects Kengo Kuma & Associates, opened to classes in January and is providing myriad advantages for the YIS learning community.

Sunshine through the atrium’s glass ceiling brightens the spacious 1F hub of the North Building. “Among our most important principles for the new campus design are that all spaces should be considered learning spaces and the learning should be visible throughout the school,” says Head of School Craig Coutts. “Learning in our school takes place continuously and in a variety of settings, not only in classrooms,” he continues, “and Kengo Kuma and his team have delivered brilliantly in helping us create an ideal environment to support the YIS way of learning and maintain the close community feel that has always been a YIS hallmark.”

(Top) Students play on the full-size sports field in front of the North Building. (Bottom) YIS students spend recess on The Street, the play area between the two main buildings, adjacent to the sports field.

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Entering the campus one is struck immediately by the open, airy feeling and warm wood tones, including the distinctive angled cedar panels of the building facades, louvered ceilings in the cafeteria and other common spaces. Large open hub areas are positioned on each floor of the main building, and classrooms are connected to shared spaces via 3m-wide sliding glass doors. “In our old campus, teachers and students would find ways to extend the learning beyond the physical classroom, but you would often bump into students working on their projects on the floor of the cramped corridors,” notes Craig. “Now, with our open hubs and furnishings purposely chosen to accommodate a range of learning styles and scenarios, there is a much freer flow of inquiry and collaboration in and out of classrooms.”

Physical education facilities now include a fullsize sports field, double gymnasium, and 25-meter indoor heated swimming pool, a rare gem for schools in Japan. “At YIS we believe a successful aquatics program goes beyond swimming laps and learning how to swim” says Jay Brownrigg, Aquatics Program Manager. “Our students learn important life skills and participate in diverse experiences in the pool, including water safety skills, water familiarization, water-based games along with swim stroke development.” Performing arts facilities have likewise been expanded, with music classrooms, practice rooms, blackbox theater-style drama classrooms, and a fully equipped 411-seat auditorium. “Our students

YIS’ Aquatics Program teaches important life skills through an array of water-based experiences. have the opportunity to create and perform their work in a state-ofthe-art environment in addition to getting experience in production operations such as light and sound management, audio recording and greenscreen production,”says Peter Noonan, Performing Arts team leader. In visual arts as well, the school’s expanded open concept Art and Design studios, including workshop and pottery kiln facilities, are opening up new possibilities for students’ creative expression. Teachers also have the opportunity to learn and develop professionally and personally, allowing them to create new experiences for their students. Eight collaboration rooms dispersed throughout the school provide venues for concentrated teamwork, the exchange of ideas and building stronger relationships. Teachers and staff regularly work in the bright, airy hallways and hub spaces where a range of formal and soft furnishings contribute to the casual interactive atmosphere of the school. The Japanese tea house-inspired design of the Chowa-an (the Japanese word chowa meaning harmony), complete with an ornamental Japanese style garden, sliding glass doors and tatami mats, is used weekly for staff wellbeing and mindfulness classes.

(Top) The 411-seat auditorium with retractable seating is a multipurpose space for the arts, exhibitions and conferences. (Bottom) The industrial appearance of the Art & Design hub reflects the open studio concept that contributes to creative collaboration. “We are proud and excited about our new campus and the new opportunities it is opening up for our students,” says Craig. “Buildings and facilities are of course important, but what we are happiest about is how well our new home has captured the essence of who we are as a school community and the foundation it has laid for supporting our growth and development in our second century.” About the Author Nasci Lobo is the Director of Communications and Marketing at Yokohama International School. He can be contacted at

Spring 2022 Issue 47


ISS Appoints Inaugural Director of DEIJ Joel Llaban Jr. will join ISS in August 2022

PRINCETON NJ, USA (January 18, 2021) – International Schools Services (ISS) announced that Joel Llaban Jr. will join the staff in August 2022 as the inaugural Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ). The purpose of this newly created role is to champion the importance and value of a diverse, inclusive, equitable and just culture at ISS as well as the creation and implementation of antiracist policies, practices, and programs at ISS specifically and across the international school sector more broadly. As a member of the senior leadership team, the Director of DEIJ will serve as a key partner to other ISS senior leadership team members to develop and drive DEIJ strategies across all departments and functions of ISS. Liz Duffy, President of ISS, said, “As a global organization with a wide-reach in the international school community, we can help spark progress across the international school sector, but only if we hold ourselves accountable and model the change we aspire to effect. This role represents our long-term commitment to further our own learning and to support systemic change.” Mr. Llaban has been recognized as an action-oriented, thoughtleader in the global movement to foster inclusion, belonging and equity at international schools. He believes that DEIJ is a fundamental human protection and child safeguarding issue, our duty of care, and essential to ensuring that international schools are safe, restorative, transformative, innovative and identity sustaining and identity affirming communities. Joel contributes to and is a member of the Editorial Team of The International Educator (TIE) Online. He has also led workshops and collaborated with organizations where he is also a member such as The Association of International Educators and Leaders of Color (AIELOC), EARCOS, CIS and ISS Diversity Collaborative. He has supported a few other international schools in their initial work on DEIJ. As a member of IDEA Board committee of the Council of International Schools (CIS), he co-developed the charter and recommendations for CIS to take actions on DEIJ. “I am thrilled to be joining the innovative and courageous learning community of ISS. It is an organization that genuinely listens and invites BIPOCs to co-create actions,” Joel says. “It is our shared responsibility in this pivotal movement in international education to reflect, re-imagine, and further cultivate 48 EARCOS Triannual Journal

educational beliefs, experiences, systems and structures that are truly inclusive and equitable for all learners, so children and adults can participate, thrive, create, lead, succeed, and live and love in our most authentic selves without shedding any parts of our intersectional identities in order to fit in. It is our collective call to action and to be in solidarity with one another,” shares Joel Llaban about his outlook regarding this new ISS Director of DEIJ role. He added, “We would love to see principles and practices of DEIJ as a de-siloed work, undergirding all elements of children’s and adults’ experiences in schools. While we collectively leverage what we know about school change, we will also co-inquire about systems of oppression, deeply reflect and understand individual and institutional harm, as well as intentionally apply identity-centered learning, anti-racism and anti-bias practices in our communities and use them as foundations for learning, transformation, and healing.” Joel believes that “the diversity of our schools is a consequence of our beliefs, (re)imagination, and actions on inclusion, equity, and justice. When we are inclusive and equitable, when we acknowledge the systemic harm, and remove the systemic barriers for authentic and full participation; when we celebrate the abundance and harness the genius and brilliance of our intersectional identities, we will become more diverse.” Most recently, Mr. Llaban has served as a Learning Specialist and Instructional Coach and the school-wide DEIJ lead at the International School of Kuala Lumpur. Throughout his 19 years in education, he has been engaged and led in accreditation, teaching and learning, curriculum development, and professional development at the International School of Brussels, the International School of Beijing, Cebu International School, and Paref Springdale School. He holds a Master of Education in International Education Administration from Endicott College (USA) and a Certificate of International School Leadership from the Principals Training Center (PTC). Mr. Llaban is from the Philippines and is currently based in Kuala Lumpur. Liz Duffy reports, “There was an impressive applicant pool for this critical role, which signals its importance to the international community. I’m delighted that Joel has accepted the position and look forward to learning from him and working with him to embed best DEIJ practices in all we do at ISS.”


The Applied Economics Award 2021 Winners An academic year reminiscent of 2020 descended upon us here in Shenzhen, and many of your students may have experienced interruptions to their preferred way of learning; despite the chaos, loads of excellent economics essays were submitted by lots of them! We reviewed over 150+ entries for this year’s winners and while judging was delayed on numerous occasions since December, I am pleased to *finally* announce a consensus reached on the three winning essays (and one runner-up) for the Applied Economics Award 2021. Each of the winners were selected because they displayed a unique approach to this year’s question, often going well-beyond the entrenched norms of the ‘sharing economy.’ A convincing use of data, referencing, and well-informed opinion making are the hallmarks of this competition, which these authors did brilliantly, and at such a young age! Furthermore, even with many local institutions of learning and discovery temporarily shutting down in many parts of the world creative curiosity prevailed, nonetheless.

Winner 1: Sung Junhyuk, Grade 11 (year 12) Teacher’s name: Lukasz Jan Kruczek IGB International School, Malaysia Winner 2: Tianchen Zhang, Grade 11 (year 12) Teacher Name: Priya Banerjee United World College of South East Asia (East Campus), Singapore Winner 3: Elan Victoria G. Tomaneng, Grade 9 (year 10) Teacher’s name: Jestoni M. Villareiz Republic of the Philippines

Watch this space for the 2022 invitation later this year and I’d like to say a sincere thank you to all this year’s entrants who put their time, effort, and creativity into each submission. I sincerely congratulate the winners of this year’s award that’s just enjoyed its fifth year. Please enjoy reading their thoughts and opinions and do feel free to share these downloadable PDFs with your students, colleagues, and friends.

Runner-Up: Cao Thuy Trang (Paris), Grade 11 (year 12) Teacher’s name: Bill Hanrahan International school of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Chet Khatu (Founder, The Applied Economics Award)

>> Read the 2021 winning essays here.

Spring 2022 Issue 49


EARCOS School wins the Teaching and Learning Award 2022 By Samuel Burnett Press Officer, ISC Research

The International School Awards 2022 took place virtually on Tuesday the 18th of January. More than 260 schools from 48 countries received nominations. International School of the Year 2022 was awarded to the International School of Zug and Luzern, Switzerland. The International School Awards were hosted by ISC Research for the fourth year in a row and they recognise outstanding initiatives being delivered in English-medium international schools around the world. The award categories include community wellbeing, innovation and creativity in learning, digital technology in learning, diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, and pathways to continued and university education. This year, the Awards received almost 250 eligible nominations, the most popular category being the community building award with over 30 nominees. An independent judging panel of 12 international education experts selected the winners. TRI Winner This year, The Harbour School, Hong Kong won the Teaching and Learning Award due to its Marine Science Program which is embedded into the school’s curriculum. It effectively uses the local environment to teach students experientially about their world and themselves.

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International School of the Year 2022 The International School of the Year 2022 was awarded to the International School of Zug and Luzern, Switzerland for the success of its two outstanding initiatives.

remote learning initiative to support its students with special educational needs, ensuring that they are not disadvantaged, even during school closures. •

International School Ho Chi Minh City – American Academy, Vietnam won the Safeguarding Award due to its initiative to encourage children to come forward about abuse and involved a programme of learning, student surveys, staff training, a disclosure process, and parent education.

International School of Zug and Luzern won the International Impact Award for its Global Changemakers initiative. It is designed to directly connect students around the world with global changemakers who are working on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Dulwich College Beijing, China won the Pathways to Continued and University Education Award for its studentled initiative that enriches the career pathways of its students by creating connections between the school and the world of work. This includes internships, panel discussions, and recorded video conversations with industry partners from a wide range of disciplines.

Other Category Winners In addition to the TRI winner, the other eleven individual category winners were: •

The International School of Kenya, Nairobi won the Community Building Award for a social enterprise run entirely by the students to empower local communities by promoting grassroots plastic recycling The Rugby School Thailand, Chonburi won the Community Wellbeing Award for creating an online forum that provides support for parents to connect with each other and share their experiences with the wider school community.

Berlin Brandenburg International School, Brandenburg won the Ethical Values Education Award for a primary years initiative which frames complex notions of ethics in an accessible way of learning involving storytelling and imagination, linking ethical values to global citizenship.

The International School of Zug and Luzern, Switzerland won the Environment Award for its aquaponics system that will act as the model for a larger sustainable, alternative food source they are helping to construct in Ghana. This project is expected to produce 20 tonnes of fish and 50 tonnes of vegetables annually and will provide food, work and education to the local community.

Colegio Panamericano, Colombia won the Digital Technology in Learning Award for a robotics programme to learn how the various parts of the human body work together, in so doing, creating a functional robot nurse that is supporting COVID-19 patients in the local community while protecting caregivers.

Nord Anglia International School Dubai, UAE won the Innovation and Creativity in Learning Award for its bespoke curriculum that allows students to approach real-world problems in a fun and supported learning environment, whilst developing innovative, entrepreneurial and enterprise skills.

Marlborough College Malaysia, Iskandar Puteri won the Strategic Leadership Award for a cross-school positive psychology and wellbeing initiative for students and staff involving a wellbeing researcher in residence and staff peer mental health first-aiders.

Brighton College Bangkok, Thailand won the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Award for developing a

ISC Research hosts the awards to highlight and share innovative practices from international schools around the world. Details of all award-winning and shortlisted initiatives are available on the International School Awards platform and will be accessible to all schools and educators for the next few months. Alongside this year’s headline sponsorship by Pearson, the category awards were sponsored by BrainPOP, Komodo, Education Perfect, Nasen, Metanoia, Community Brands, Explore Learning, Nearpod, Navitas, Jigsaw PHSE, Cognia, and EtonX. According to ISC Research data, there are now more than 12,000 English-medium international schools around the world teaching over 7 million children. “The range of schools participating, the breadth of initiatives submitted, and the quality of practice being delivered within the international school community today is inspiring,” said CEO of ISC Research, Leigh Webb. “ISC Research is proud to be hosting the International School Awards for these past four years as they raise awareness of the very best initiatives that International Schools can offer. I want to offer a hearty congratulations to International School of Zug and Luzern for its remarkable success this year, and to all schools that submitted a nomination.” You can view a recording of the awards ceremony and learn more about the award-winning initiatives on the ISC Research website. Spring 2022 Issue 51


GK STAMFORD By Luis Miguel Ong Stamford American International School-Singapore

“KINDNESS IS A GIFT THAT ANYONE CAN AFFORD TO GIVE” In May of 2021, I was privileged to have been chosen by Stamford American International School (Singapore) to receive the EARCOS Global Citizenship Award. With this, I had the chance to apply for a grant to help in my project for my club, Gawad Kalinga Stamford. Finally, in June 2021, I received the excellent news that my project was selected to receive the EARCOS Global Citizenship Community Grant. As a Filipino student living in Singapore, I always wanted to give back to my home country, Philippines. From doing it on an individual basis, I eventually created a club called GK Stamford to have a wider reach. GK Stamford aims to raise awareness in the school and help Gawad Kalinga in the Philippines build sustainable communities, especially for those in poverty. Our club is focused on three main causes-health, education and hunger alleviation. Through the club and with the help of the grant, we were able to donate 10,000 masks to the GK Community, 200 schools supplies and 200 food packs. To promote mental health, we helped in GK’s sports events. We donated balls and prizes. School supplies were also given. Aside from Gawad Kalinga, we were able to help build a house for Mang Fidel and his family who lost their house due to Typhoon Rai that hit the Philippines. With the help of the club members and this grant, we were able to help more people and raise awareness of our cause, and for that, I am truly grateful. >> Click here to watch the video.

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High School Art Celebration

American International School Hong Kong “Shut Up and Dance” Charis Brown, Grade 9

American International School Hong Kong “Mimic Me” Muflihah Abdul Wahid, Grade 10

Bandung Alliance Intercultural School (Left) “Beauty Does Not Always Bring Happiness” Merlina Setiabudi Watercolor, gel pen, acrylic paint, makeup (Right) “Excited!” Odelyn Nethania Illustrator, Photoshop

Featuring Apo Wangod, last Kalinga Tatooist, Banaue Rice Terraces (UNESCO World Heritage), and Bulul (Ifugao’s Guardian of the Rice Crop). >> View more artpieces

Brent International School Baguio “Dapit-Hapon (Sunset)” Rae Antoinet Padilla, Grade 9 Watercolor on paper

Brent International School Baguio “Spectacular Cordillera” Cassey Denise Cunanan, Grade 11 Watercolor and oil on paper

Spring 2022 Issue 53

High School Art Celebration Beijing City International School (Left) “Landscape” Katie Yan, Grade 9 Water color on paper (Right) “Self Portrait” Anita Wang, Grade 11 Oil on Canvas >> View more art pieces Brent International School Manila “Self Portrait” Foundations of Art 10 Hyunseo “Sera“ Lee Colored Pencil on Paper

Brent International School Manila “Close up Flower“ Foundations of Art 10 Mary Pacquiao Acrylic on Canvas

Concordia International School Hanoi (Left) Minh Anh (Bella) Ngo Grade 11 (Right) Vinh Hanh Linh (Emma) Nguyen Grade 12

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Dominican International School “Hide and Seek” Silva Lin, Grade 11 Acrylic on canvas

Dominican International School “Shoe Factory” Morris Yu, Grade 12 Colored Pencil on Paper

Wells International School (On Nut Campus) (Left) “The Watcher” Oil on Canvas, 30x30 cm (Right) “Dance of Achilles and His Men” Acrylic on canvas, 50 cm x 70 cm Shreeya Srimanothip, Grade 12 IB Visual arts

The British School New Delhi Art & Society Project for Year 9 on Global Citizenship Year 9 Art students reflected on how art can respond to the needs of society through artistic expression. They thought of a message they wanted to give the world about this social/political/cultural issue or concern that they were passionate about through typographic slogan posters based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Issues ranged from animal welfare, the environment, gender equality, the right to schooling, clean air, water and food for all. (Left) Aryaman Agarwal (Right) Amaira Kaur Anand

Spring 2022 Issue 55

“Portrait of Tibetan Woman“ Wenlan Chang, Grade 12 Beijing City International School Digital Illustration

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