Global Insights: November 2019

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ostering a sense of community, as Kayode Alowu discusses in this issue, is at the core of what we do in schools. It is essential. Communities are where we establish and reinforce norms and behaviours, where we frequently celebrate and where we sometimes mourn. Kim Cullen’s focus on authentic learning, also in this issue, underscores the power of this kind of learning; they too are predicated on the principles of community.

What we do matters, and it matters every single day, usually in ways that we do not see or appreciate for years to come. As Angelou concludes her poem, underscoring the impact on us of these great souls who are made possible by our communities: “We can be. Be and be better. For they existed.” May the learning spaces that we call “schools” nurture you more than ever, and compel you to be a relentless community builder so that we all can “be and be better” as a result.

It is in communities that we can create the conditions for success, as well as the conditions that allow our students to become deeply human. It is easy to get caught up in the race to results so that a student can get into the ‘right’ university, land the ‘right’ internship, and so on. Yet, leading and shaping a community is perhaps the ultimate lesson in modelling what we desire to see in the world around us. “Community” is a profoundly human endeavour, and it requires profoundly human touch-points. It engenders what Maya Angelou calls “great souls” in her poem “When Great Trees Fall.” Without community, there are no great souls to create impact in the lives of others.

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s a self-proclaimed “edupreneur” who started my own business with the distinct goal of supporting educators of multilingual learners in innovative ways globally, I’ve been reflecting on the role of English in our rapidly changing world. My team of consultants and I provide professional learning for educators of multicultural, multinational learners through innovative technology, curated content and relationship-building near and far. In our increasingly interconnected world where knowledge is less centralised and more valuable through social media and crowdsourcing, we find it critical to engage through agile, flexible options for our clients and broader professional learning networks. We find it critical to promote the value of multilingualism in our largely monolingual, Englishonly schools and workplaces.



Confianza, the name of my business, is a word in Spanish, derived from Latin, that means more than one might think if looking only at the root, “confiar”: confidence. Like many words that don’t quite translate between cultures, Confianza is more than a word, it’s a cultural concept, meaning mutual respect and trust. It means promoting reciprocal power relations and equality between stakeholders. Confianza is a missing ingredient often in education when we are focused so much on standardised outcomes at the expense of capitalising on reciprocal ways of teaching, learning and relating. The concept of confianza is often overlooked in communities where the dominant culture and dominant language overshadows funds of knowledge of all people in that community. This is particularly true in the focus area that my organisation supports—honouring multilingual, multicultural education which has been historically centrered around the English language.

As the joke goes, “What do you call a person who speaks two languages?” (Bilingual) “What do you call a person who speaks more than two languages?” (Multilingual or polyglot) “What do you call a person who speaks one language?” (American). It takes effort to go outside of one’s comfort zone, to learn not just another language but another cultural perspective. It takes extrapolating oneself from the dominant white racial, “American”, Englishdominant framework and becoming an expatriate even if by frame of mind only. In fact, you don’t have to leave your own country or the country where you are currently inhabiting to have a global mindset. The contributors on my team and I share practical tips for learning about students’ and families’ ways of life, cultures, languages, practices right without going too far from your own backyard. One helpful tool for valuing all perspectives is the concept of ensuring that texts in a classroom have windows, mirrors and sliding glass doors for all children. Mirrors are texts that mirror one’s experience, whereas windows show other ways of being and sliding glass doors allow one to enter other experiences. “Diversity needs to go both ways,” explains Rudine Sims Bishop, “It’s not just children who have been under-represented and marginalised who need these books. It’s also the children who always find a mirror in the books and therefore get an exaggerated sense of their own self-worth and a false sense of what the world is like because it’s becoming more and more colourful and diverse as time goes on.”

In a world where English is very much the language of money, the language of technology, and the language of access, largely coming out of the impact of American-global capitalist structures, it can be all too easy to devalue other languages and other perspectives. For example, in many spaces on this planet, the “America” is used to connote the United States. Yet all of the Western Hemisphere is also known as the Americas. As my time living in Latin America taught me firsthand, the word “American” is ethnocentric, rather than creating an English word equivalent (which does not exist in the English language as it does in other languages) to “United States-ian”.

“Is this ‘English bubble’ helping or hindering our global society?

Naming my organisation a non-English word was intentional in this landscape of overemphasising English and, where my team does much of our work, in the United States where monolingualism is not only expected but enforced in ubiquitous subtractive language program models. I am not a native Spanish-speaker but rather an long-term tourist, a wanna-be bi-cultural, bilingual—and multicultural, multilingual—humble citizen of the world. Wherever I travel in this world, I learn basic phrases and seek to acculturate as opposed to imposing my “ugly American” stereotype on those I have the privilege of visiting. I did the same when I was in the classroom teaching children from over 40 different linguistic groups. I aim to model what the traditional, US-born, white, monolingual can actually be, which is to learn about others’ ways of being, talking, learning so as to not over-emphasise a historically imperialist frame of mind, an ingrained colonist framework with its impact still felt from the inception of the United States through today.

In a global scale, “diversity going both ways” means learning about and integrating languages and cultures even while teaching in an English-forward curriculum and even in an international school. If you are working as an English speaker abroad, you can resist what I call the “English bubble” in the international school space. The “English bubble” is when you are promoting an English-focused curriculum taught by English speakers living in another country with another language yet you are speaking English most if not all of the time in the larger community outside the school. In the English bubble, English can often usurp the mother tongue(s) because of English’s rank in the world, its role in power historical and current relationships, and often because those of us who speak English and are hired, in part, for their language skills can easily get away with




not learning much of the heritage language of the country in which they are living. I urge us to ask ourselves, “Is this ‘English bubble’ helping or hindering our global society? By not taking the time to learn other mother tongues, are we promoting mutual respect and trust in our changing world or are we perpetuating mainly an English-centric, Western-dominant perspective?” Things are changing though. “America is no longer the centre. Now we have a multi-polar world,” author Fatima Bhutto explains. When it comes to cultural influences, with the popularity of K-Pop, Bollywood and Turkish soap operas, the days of “American dominance” are over, Bhutto asserts in her book “New Kings of the World”. However, when it comes to languages, we are seeing mother tongues become extinct while the prevalence of English flourishes. I met student Fatima Djalalova through my work at the Tashkent International School in Uzbekistan. In her TEDxYouth talk titled, “What if English was the Only Language?”, Farima ponders that whole having one language may unite the planet and even bring us more towards world peace, we should consider the very real impact losing one’s mother tongue can have. “Language is not just about communication. It is about sharing a part of your soul.”

Sarah Ottow is a professional learning specialist focused on improved cultural understanding, communication and collaboration with twenty years of teaching, training and coaching experience. Sarah is the author of The Language Lens for Content Classrooms: A Guide for K-12 Educators of English and Academic Language Learners published by Learning Sciences International. Having taught English language and literacy skills to every age group, including adults, Sarah has enjoyed working in public and private schools, non-profit organisations and corporations across the US and internationally.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Reading Rockets: Windows, Mirrors and Sliding Glass Doors, by Rudine Sims Bishop.” YouTube, January 30, 2015.

We need to remember that educators are social agents in schools where we are either promoting or interrupting power relations through our actions, and what languages cultures we choose to emphasise or de-emphasise, to integrate or ignore. To deliberately move away from monolingualism and monoculturalism is a small but important step in this increasingly interconnected and multi-polar world, especially if we are to retain the richness that cultural and linguistic diversity inherently brings to the proverbial table. Let’s promote mutual respect and trust for all stakeholders by learning, retaining and promoting nonEnglish languages and non-Western cultures in this global world. We can indeed create an international educational ecosystem where all ways of being and communicating are not just integrated but valued and utilised as the strengths they are.

The Days of American Culture Dominance Are Over, Author Says. National Public Radio, September 27, 2019. TEDxTalks: What if English Was the Only Language? Fatima Djalalova, TEDxYouth@TashkentIntlSchool.” YouTube, May 23, 2019. watch?v=3BnKF8OD7C8



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JOHN POLIAS Lexis Education




hat can educators take from recent brain research, especially the research around neuroplasticity? Neuroplasticity claims that the brain is able to change in ways that previously were not thought possible and the research around the changing brain provides a convincing argument that educators are not simply facilitators of their students’ learning but, rather, play a crucial role in that learning.

5. Our students’ brains are responding to all of the complexities of a classroom through all the different senses and so we need to be making meanings in ways that give students multiple access points to the meanings. 6. It is difficult to unlearn the learned—the paradox of neuroplasticity. When learning something new, those parts of the brain that are involved can get so efficient at doing their job that they resist doing the same thing in a different way. That is why the learning pathways for students ought to be set up for success in order to mitigate the need for repairing so that both students and teachers are not de-motivated in their attempts to learn.

Since the research identifies language development, where language is the principal resource for making meaning, as being critical to brain development, that will be a focus here. Some observations from the research and the main pedagogical implications are the following:

I will elaborate here on the research evidence that teachers should be providing students with multiple access points to meanings, and using the patterns in the knowledge and language to shape their teaching; the ‘how’ we teach should resonate with ‘what’ we teach, which I have termed pedagogical resonance (Polias 2010, 2016).

1. Strong brains are built through the simultaneous activation of brain cells. This is neatly expressed by Doidge (2007) as: “When two neurons fire at the same time repeatedly (or when one fires, causing another to fire), chemical changes occur in both so that the two tend to connect more strongly.” 2. The more a system in the brain is activated, the more the system strengthens. 3. Language development (and, therefore, brain development) doesn’t happen discretely in compartmentalised parts of the brain but involves complex synergies between multiple brain systems. (Deacon 2012) 4. The stronger brain is the one that has developed through moderate stress in patterned and recycled activities. Also, the brain functions as a predictor and is alert to identifying meaningful patterns in the messages it receives. The direct implications for pedagogical practice are: • understanding and framing teaching according to the patterns in the knowledge, which are construed through the patterns in language (text, lexis and grammar), and predominantly visuals (still and animated) • making the patterns explicit to students • designing activities in teaching programs in sequences that are meaningful to the disciplines in schooling and, hence, the teachers and students • recycling meanings (not simply repetition) through the myriad interactions that occur between students and teachers using the various resources in the classroom • maintaining a suitable challenge for students but providing the support that allows them to meet the challenge—this is the meaning of scaffolding.

When we talk about making meaning in multiple ways, it is not a matter of quantity only but of quality as well. Using a range of meaning-making resources may not necessarily result in effective and efficient learning; we need to consider the patterns in what we are teaching and the patterns in how we are teaching. There are recognisable and, therefore, predictable patterns that construct knowledge, which teachers of that knowledge need to be intimately acquainted with. These are the generic patterns that construe discipline knowledge and the patterns of texts that are construed predominantly through language. The more teachers use these patterns as framing tools for how they teach, the more likely it is that students are not encountering hurdles in their learning. This interplay is pedagogical resonance and, in this way, we can and should maintain a high challenge for the students in what they need to learn. I will use one simple example of how discipline knowledge is patterned and what is meant by not creating hurdles for students in their learning. If a science teacher is comparing the components of animal and plant cells, then some representation that sets up the comparisons would be appropriate. For ease of comparison, this would have to have the things to be compared immediately adjacent to each other rather than physically distant from each other. This could be in a Venn diagram format but it would preferably be in a table format with columns and rows allowing the reader’s eyes to quickly and easily compare. All of this might be co-constructed by any combination of



teacher and students. Taking the table of animal and plant cell comparison (Fig. 1), we can see that the column for animal cells should be on the left of the plant cell column because we read, in English, from left to right and because the simpler one, as the teacher’s starting point, is on the left.

of, say, critical perspectives on their worlds is from the point of being equipped with the resources needed for taking a challenging approach and being ‘successful’ in that endeavour. The efficient pedagogy is now an effective pedagogy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR The teacher who knows the discipline knowledge is also aware that all of the components in the animal cell will be found in the plant cell but the plant cell will have more components. This allows us to say to the students that when they think about the components of the cells, that they should not think randomly but according to the structure of the cells themselves—start from the outside of the cell and then move to the centre and then fill in the last two parts of the plant cell. John Polias is an international consultant in the classroom applications of the role of language in learning. He is the co-founder and director of Lexis Education, an international provider of train-the-trainer professional development for educators.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Deacon, T. (2012) ‘Beyond the symbolic species.’ In Schilhab, T., Stjernfelt, F. and Deacon, T. (eds) Symbolic Species Evolved. 81-96. New York: Springer.

Comparison genre: Comparing components of animal and plant cells

Keep in mind that, in the classroom, while all of this knowledge is being talked about and drawn up, the student is sending the many visual and sound messages to the brain and the brain is setting up nascent networks or linking to and expanding existing networks. If all of this knowledge were presented to the student in, say, a mind-map that is constructed through some kind of brainstorm, then there is much more work to be done in the students’ brains, trying to make sense of what they are seeing, hearing, and drawing. So we can see that, in accordance with the research evidence, the way we represent knowledge (in our spoken texts and in our visual texts on the board and in our worksheets) is crucial to the efficiency of the learning. With the success in learning maximized, the students can get through the curriculum faster.

Doidge, N. (2007) The brain that changes itself: stories of personal triumph from the frontiers of brain science. New York: Penguin Books. Polias, J. (2010) ‘Pedagogical resonance: improving teaching and learning’. In C Coffin (ed.) Grammar and the curriculum. London, UK: National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum (NALDIC). Polias, J. (2016) Apprenticing students into science: doing, talking and writing scientifically. Melbourne: Lexis Education.

In this article, I have introduced some of the recent brain research supporting the claim that an efficient pedagogy is an effective pedagogy, and that we can both support and challenge our students concurrently. This kind of pedagogy provides students with the meaning-making resources needed to venture further, independently or collaboratively, to interrogate their worlds, and inquire and explore. Importantly, the exploration and the taking




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PROMOTING ACTION & SERVICE LEARNING IN THE CURRICULUM. MARK BARLING Leader of learning for Individuals and Societies, Sotogrande International School

DAVID GREEN Educator, Green School, Bali




he African proverb that “it takes a village to raise a child”, offers a reminder that meaningful education has been taking place long before the first use of the word ‘school’; that action and service learning (a form of action that should benefit others whilst also providing opportunities for learning such as developing new skills, knowledge or conceptual understanding), is perhaps the oldest form of education. What might be gained from providing opportunities for action and service learning in education in the 21st century? And what strategies might we employ in our classrooms to promote action and service learning?

A recent example involved an M2 class investigating modern systems of food production and in particular the impact these systems can have on the environment, resources and the health of societies. The action component required the students to plan, investigate, and build a sustainable system of food production on the school site. One group built their own aquaponic tank growing herbs in a large funnel above a fish tank that provided water and nutrients for the plants and in turn filtered the water for the fish. Other projects included forms of rainwater harvesting and composting for the school garden. Beans grown in the garden were harvested and served in the school kitchen.

Service learning can allow students to formulate questions based upon their own areas of interests, before engaging in subsequent stages of active student planning, investigation, action, reflection and demonstration. Each of these stages requires a wide range of approaches to learning and connects the individual learner to the real world, it provides context to learning, it is a chance to empower students and encourage them to be lifelong, change makers and develop an awareness of their own strengths and areas for growth.

Students gained intellectual, experiential, social and natural capital from this unit whilst being empowered by the understanding that they can take action to transition the world towards more sustainable agricultural practices. Furthermore, students were able to reflect on the connections between the local to the global as well as the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving. The unit incorporated at least three of the 4 classifications of service learning; direct in working with the people and environment that they wanted to impact, advocacy in allowing them an opportunity to speak up about what they considered to be the negative aspects of modern agricultural practices and research required in order to inform their actions and to raise awareness. Opportunities also existed to include the fourth type, ‘indirect’ by working on behalf of other groups to initiate change, for example the food produced could have been sold to raise funds.

In the 21st century, service learning can be modified and adapted in response to the changing needs of societies and workplaces. Employers on a global scale are increasingly valuing the skills, values and mindset associated with active, service learning, including creativity, imagination, collaboration, resourcefulness, empathy, able to view situations from multiple perspectives and curiosity. To do so, I would argue that approaches to education in the human sciences also need to modify and adapt in response to a changing world. The human sciences have traditionally neglected service learning as a form of action. For example, history is often concerned with the causes and effects of past events but how often is this then used as a force for good and a foundation to consider future possibilities and action? Only by doing so can the human sciences, and indeed all areas of knowledge, play a role in education in creating future change makers and effective problem solvers. The human sciences encourage holistic thinkers that can view issues and challenges from multiple perspectives and this is essential when considering possible forms of action in service learning. Crucially for student wellbeing, adopting a solution-focused approach can empower students when investigating global issues such as climate change, poverty, health or conflict as opposed to harbouring anxieties and pessimism.

It helps to have a tool kit full of strategies to help guide students through this form of solution focused inquiry and I will outline some examples below.

SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP Action through service learning can be encouraged through providing opportunities for social entrepreneurship in the curriculum. This form of entrepreneurship may use business models and a sustainable income but should benefit people and/or the environment. This form of action often requires an interdisciplinary approach, requiring students to transfer knowledge and skills from different disciplines and develops important thinking, research and communication skills. An M2 class were assigned the task of setting up a company that would be an example of social entrepreneurship addressing a chosen issue/ challenge related to food production or consumption. One group looked at the issue of plastic waste and considered how to turn this issue into an opportunity. Using design



thinking (see below) they researched and created a prototype food wrapper made from organic material that was biodegradable. The final products were presented using an elevator pitch to the rest of the class. This example fully engaged and motivated the students because they had autonomy over what they focused on, the task was challenging but achievable because they had the tool kits, they saw the role they can play in being active change makers and also the way this task can link to real world careers.

DESIGN THINKING This approach starts by making observations, empathising with different groups and identifying the problem, for example the amount of food waste created each day in the school cantina. The 2nd stage is to carry out research and investigation into the issue and also existing solutions. How have other groups tried to address this issue? What were the strengths and limitations of these solutions? The students now move on to idea generation regarding possible solutions (see divergent/ convergent thinking). From this some form of prototype of test should be carried out followed by reflection and revisions before the final action can be implemented. For example, students develop a system of waste food collection that can quickly be sorted and then suitable waste used as food in the wormery for the school permaculture site creating a circular system. Reflection plays a key role in all stages of design thinking and another useful tool here is the perspectives compass (see next page).










This is a very simple brainstorming tool that encourages idea generation, creativity and focus. This tool is normally used after a problem has been identified and there has been some level of investigation into its causes, effects and existing solutions. Students begin by brainstorming a whole range of solutions. At this stage it is about quantity not quality and encourage them to think big with no limitations. No ideas should be judged at this stage, every suggestion is noted. Ideas can include technology not yet invented or “out of the box� solutions. A time limit can be set to encourage rapid brainstorming. After this initial stage students should start to group/ rank the list of suggestions and then try to focus these down to what might be the most appropriate or effective solution. Once the ideas have been focused divergent thinking can once again take place to consider all the different ways this could be done, applied or created. The cycle can continue until students have





reached a possible solution to the initial problem and from here further research, testing or prototyping can take place.

impact and then rank each idea on the graph in order to identify the ones that achieve the highest in both criteria.

SCAMPER MODEL This is a useful tool for encouraging students to be creative. SCAMPER (see over) is an acronym and each letter provides a way to consider a new perspective. For example, a student that is concerned about plastic and waste pollution in the oceans considers the idea of substituting toxic fibreglass used on surfboards with a new, more organic material such as cork. This material is waterproof, strong and locally available and is biodegradable.
























This is a useful tool for considering multiple perspectives on a proposed solution or form of action. It considers environmental, social, economic and political viewpoints. For example, what would the cost be of implementing a system of sorting food waste? How would this pose risks to health? What are the laws regarding food waste on a school site in this location?




SLIDING SCALE FOR RANKING IDEAS Students may be generating ideas and suggestions to address a particular issue or challenge faced by society but how can they decide which ones to develop further? A sliding scale (see opposite) requires them to select two important criteria, for example, cost and environmental





If the aim of education is to prepare students for the future, and to contribute to the communities and world in which they live, then it stands to reason that there must be opportunities for student led action. This is the generation that will have to face complex issues and it is more important than ever that they see themselves as change makers. If education is really to be a force for good then action must, where possible, lead to service learning. From a teacher´s perspective what could be more satisfying and rewarding than to guide young people towards being part of a change towards a more sustainable, optimistic and equitable future?

Mark Barling is the Leader of learning for Individuals and Societies at Sotogrande International School, Spain. He has worked in international education for over 25 years in schools in Colombia, Egypt, South Korea and Spain. His recent interests are in designing flexible and inspiring learning spaces, concept based learning inquiry, interdisciplinary learning and the development of effective e-assessments for integrated humanities.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Norman, D. (2013) The design of everyday things. Basic Books. (Divergent and Convergent Thinking) Meadows, Donella H, and Diana Wright. Thinking In Systems. (Perspectives Compass) Elmansy, R. (2015). A guide to the Scamper technique for creative thinking.

An educator who draws upon a diverse career that includes work in the music industry and in corporate entertainment, David Green is committed to exploring innovations in educational environments and practices. David has taught both the national curriculum in the UK and the International Baccalaureate at Sotogrande International School in Spain. He is currently working at Green School, Bali. His recent work has included exploration of innovative educational environments, development of integrated, experiential units of work, concept based inquiry, permaculture and education, arts integration, developing student autonomy, introvert friendly classrooms and mindfulness in schools. His study of Gaia Education’s, ‘Design for Sustainability’ course is part of a lifetime commitment to contributing to more sustainable and regenerative cultures through education.





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STEVE GARNETT Author, Teacher, Facilitator, Dragonfly Senior Trainer


remember very clearly what I was thinking when I read a tweet that Professor Dylan Wiliam posted on 26 January 2017, a tweet that made a pretty emphatic claim incidentally!

“I’ve come to the conclusion Sweller’s Cognitive Load Theory is the single most important thing that teachers should know” What I was thinking was quite simple: “I have absolutely no idea what that is!”. I spend my professional life working with teachers on all aspects of trying to improve the learning experience for pupils they teach. Over the last 12-15 years this has extended to over 30 countries around the world. When I count up the number of workshops and whole school/whole staff professional development sessions I have run, the number of teachers I have delivered training to must have extended to over 15,000 quite easily.



The point to this is that, up until the Dylan Wiliam tweet, the concept of Cognitive Load Theory never, ever came up in terms of a question raised when training teachers, never came up within a wider more general conversation related to aspects of pedagogy nor was it ever requested as a focus for training.

Once a teacher understands how this system works, the teacher can improve the quality of instruction a pupil receives. If the teacher doesn’t understand the system the brain uses to process this new learning then the quality of learning is hampered. This is why Sweller describes CLT as an ‘instructional theory’ so by understanding it, teachers will be better able to deliver better quality lessons.

In short my view was that whilst I certainly had no idea about Cognitive Load Theory, teachers, working in the primary and secondary sectors, whether state or independent, as well as international schools across the world, had no idea either.

There are two major components in Sweller’s system: Working Memory and Long Term Memory.

So when a claim as emphatic as this is made about Cognitive Load Theory I felt I should not only find out what it was all about (almost for my own sake!), but more importantly, put this new knowledge I gained together so that busy teachers could use this knowledge to improve the learning experience of their own pupils.

Q: WHERE DID COGNITIVE LOAD THEORY ORIGINATE? Emeritus Professor John Sweller (University of New South Wales, Australia) conceived the theory of Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) and published a paper in the journal ‘Cognitive Science - A Multidisciplinary Journal (Vol 12, Issue 2) in April 1988. Sweller himself says that after this, his work was then largely ignored for the next twenty years!. So it’s clear from the timing of Dylan Wiliam’s ‘tweet’ that it had remained a theory largely confined to narrow academic fields and certainly not within the thinking of a normal classroom teacher.


His theory was used to generate hypotheses that were tested using randomised controlled trials. CLT rests on a base of hundreds of randomised controlled trials testing many thousands of primary and secondary school children as well as adults.

Sweller says that the working memory is the part of the brain that processes what we are currently doing and thinking. If what we are currently thinking and doing is completely new or ‘novel’ then we can only deal with a finite amount of information at one time. It is too easily overloaded.

CLT can be described as something of a ‘moving target’ in the sense that it has been constantly evolving and updating itself since those early years in the late 1980s (see the timeline of major developments in CLT later).

Essentially the working memory acts as a ‘gatekeeper’ to new learning. The implications for a classroom teacher then are clear. When teaching a class of pupils a new topic or skill then the teacher must be aware both of the limitations of the working memory, and also how it functions, because it is this part of the brain that will be attending to all the new learning the pupils are receiving.

Q: WHAT WAS SWELLER’S ‘BIG IDEA’? Sweller’s big idea is that the brain has a very specific system for processing the learning of new or novel ‘domain specific biologically secondary knowledge’, in other words the knowledge that schools are tasked with passing on.




Sweller is really clear on the implications of working memory limitations: ‘The implications of working memory limitations on instructional design can hardly be overestimated ... Anything beyond the simplest cognitive activities appear to overwhelm working memory. Prima facie, any instructional design that flouts or merely ignores working memory limitations inevitably is deficient.’ The absolute key for all teachers is that they need to be aware of the effects (some desirable and others undesirable) that all impact on working memory resources (listed in the table below - please click below to open a PDF version).

With almost 20 years experience as a successful international provider of CPD across all types of schools, Dragonfly have established an excellent reputation as a highly reliable provider of engaging, interactive, inspiring and practical training across the globe.

SWELLER’S COGNITIVE LOAD THEORY The topic of CLT has become one of the most popular INSET requests that schools are making to us. If you are interested in hearing more about this course and all about what teachers do in their classrooms to embed CLT then please contact Mary Chapman who is our International Director and co-ordinates all international Inset.

We deliver bespoke training as well as ready-to-go courses in schools of all sizes and contexts, for Secondary staff, Primary staff or Early Years staff, as well as all staff together. Many schools choose to bring our trainer over for a few days to make is as cost-effective as possible. You can view our case studies to get an idea of our varied programmes or contact us to discuss your bespoke requirements. We are delighted to now be partnering with ECIS to deliver several ECIS accredited courses on Securing Success for EAL Students in the Mainstream Classroom, Effective Differentiation and Awe & Wonder in the Early Years Classroom, as well as the ‘Teaching Essentials’ programme for Teaching Assistants and those without an internationally recognised QTS or for Teaching Assistants.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Steve Garnett is an award nominated author and has been a teacher for 29 years. He has delivered INSET for Dragonfly Training to over 12,000 teachers in the last ten years across the UK and Ireland as well as Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America and the Far East, too.

Please do get in touch if you have any training requirements. +44 (0)29 20 711 787 or email: Mary Chapman our International Director on: Gail Hewett our International In-school Training Co-ordinator on:

BIBLIOGRAPHY p0257p0285/main.pdf article/10.1023%2FA%3A1022193728205










“Inspired, resilient, passionate.”




...the inclusive Design Thinking process with which all our community has been recently involved in the development of our new mission and values. Examples that epitomise those values include ISL’s first Tedx Youth event, the LuxTech School programme, an all school approach to the UN sustainable development goals and most importantly the daily engagement ISL teachers have with their students. All of these teachable moments are inspirational and build upon the teaching and learning that takes place in all classrooms each and every day, guided and nurtured by all staff.





5 YEARS FROM NOW? Well-being by Design is at the core of everything we do. We value the dynamic partnership between home, school and the wider community which speaks to our mission and values. We believe in the continual process of growth and reflection within our community. We strive to be a “lighthouse” for innovative and authentic professional development, leveraging emerging technologies to be the international school of choice in Luxembourg. This ensures we provide our students with multiple opportunities to develop the confidence and skills they need to be lifelong learners and meet the constant complexities of change.

WE BELIEVE... ...the power of listening to each other. ...learning happens in and out of the classroom. ...we’ll achieve more if we work as a team. ...that change is almost always a force for good. looking after each other like family.

WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO... ...seeing our new mission and values embedded in daily life and how we challenge ourselves to continue to impact lifelong learning at ISL.

Interested in featuring your school? Contact






KAYODE ALOWU Colegio Anglo Colombiano, Bogota, Colombia

ircle time is a meaningful part of the day for young children in a Pre-School prepared environment. If well-planned, it has many benefits and should be considered an essential part of the daily classroom routine.

WHY IS CIRCLE TIME IMPORTANT? Circle time teaches patience and encourages interactions in a group setting. It fosters a sense of community as it tends to a child’s individual needs. A caring and supportive circle enhances a child’s self-esteem and confidence, while permitting freedom of expression among peers. Circle time is perfect for introducing and reinforcing classroom rules and routines.



HOW DO CHILDREN BENEFIT? • A positive circle time will encourage social, emotional, physical and academic growth • Children love to sing, dance, role play and engage in various other social activities. They will learn valuable listening skills as well as problem solving strategies and patience. The students will also master the important rules and routines, which allow for the smooth functioning of a Pre-School classroom. • A child will gain confidence, a heightened sense of selfesteem, and a positive feeling about expressing himself in a group setting. • A child can enhance his hand-eye co-ordination and refine his fine motor skills through various games and finger play. Also, a child can improve his gross motor skills through games, dancing, music and movement, etc.


• Academically, the child will also develop. Many themes and lessons are taught at circle time, including important concepts such as the calendar, various cultural themes, and individual news items. Attendance is taken to ensure promptness and accountability.

Ideally, there are two circle times in a day. The first circle is at the beginning of the day. This circle should be kept between ten to fifteen minutes. It is important to keep the first circle relatively calm and quiet, as this sets the tone for your entire day. During this time, the children should come in, shake the teacher’s hand, and respond with a polite greeting. Each child should put on their slippers and quietly sit down, waiting patiently for the other students to arrive. The brevity of the meeting does not weaken its importance. It is a special time that reinforces the meaning of shared rituals. Children will learn to contribute to the group while acknowledging the contributions of their peers. This adds structure to the day and makes the child feel safe, cared for and accepted.

HOW TO ORGANISE A CIRCLE TIME Planning and organising is the key to a successful circle time; it is extremely important to be prepared. It must be interesting, fun, keep the group’s attention, and at the same time, remain organised and controlled. It is important to have a mixture of resources available, for example, songs, games, finger plays, props, stories, etc. A session should not be too long. If it is kept relatively short, the teacher is better able to activate the group’s interest and attention. Most pre-school aged children are unable to maintain focused during a circle time longer than fifteen minutes.

After the children form the circle, the session should start with a greeting song; this strengthens their feelings of inclusiveness and togetherness. Next, a brief checkup time reacquaints the group and recognises individual needs. The teacher moves around the circle, asking each child if they feel well today. Discomforts of any kind should be acknowledged and accepted. A group cheer for “good health” can be invigorating. It is then that a teacher decides who will need additional support during the day. The teacher’s unique response to each child gives the children information on how to care for each other. The teacher’s empathy or praise helps foster the



children sensitivity towards their peers and will hopefully encourage more caring interactions. Children may also conduct their own check-up times as their familiarity with the ritual grows.

what they consider important will be continued in the next meeting. The second circle end with a closing song. It should be the same song each day, as with the morning song. The children should be reminded that they are a unique part of a special group and that everyone is looking forward to seeing each other the next day. They leave knowing that their community is supportive and dependable.

The focus is on sharing. Children speak their mind as clearly as possible, while others listen to their words and respond with questions or concerns of their own. New topics can be introduced and discussed, with the teacher as a guide. The first circle also includes news presentations, learning the calendar, a few other quiet songs or finger plays, and attendance.

Circle time can be a very positive aspect of the day. As a teacher, it is important to be enthusiastic, prepared, and to make it fun. Building a good community feeling is the key to success. Remember, it does not matter how well you sing, but it does matter how enthusiastic you are.

The only rule is that the children sit quietly when appropriate, and follow the teacher’s direction. Noncompetitive games will end the circle on a high note and heighten a “whole-class” identity. The last activity should be another group song that brings the children full-circle and signals a new beginning.


The second circle often includes music and movement, snacks time, story time, games and songs. This is also the time for the children to put on their shoes and coats. To bring the children together, a transitional activity such as a song or a poem should be used. This time, activities and songs should reflect curricular themes and the children’s favourites. If calendar time is not part of the first circle, it should be included in this circle. Kayode Alowu is an experienced International educator with seventeen years’ experience in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. He has worked in 5 International Schools and currently work at the Colegio Anglo Colombiano, Bogota, Colombia. As a wellrounded educator, he has gained in-depth knowledge of accommodating the different style of learners and incorporating effective methods to meet student’s unique needs. He encourages student learning by incorporating creative learning centres with various forms of technology, hands-on activities, and fun manipulative.

Time should be taught as sometimes that continues and is shared by all, and as a way of recording what has passed and planning for what is to come. Emphasis is placed on what makes each day special to the group, so that the children can all relate to it and know that each day has meaning. The second circle should increase the child’s involvement and self-esteem. For example, selecting different children to act as calendar helpers will eventually allow everyone to select a special event from their day to highlight. The calendars can also be made into books to serve as reference tools in the class library, with everyone playing a variety of roles in their construction. Whatever is done should reflect the morning’s work and play activities. Children will reflect on what they have accomplished and learn habits of thinking that builds on their understanding of more expansive ideas. It is a positive time, free from criticism. If the second circle is at the end of the day, it is a time to look forward into tomorrow. Children will again listen to each other and plan what activities or project will begin the next day. The teacher should record the information so that the children learn that their ideas are respected and







DARYL HITCHCOCK TOK Department Chair Leysin American School PAUL MAGNUSON Director of Educational Research Leysin American School




ur education system was designed to meet a need for a workforce capable of learning and implementing a standard set of skills. Though there have been adaptations, we are all too familiar with rows of students taking instructions from a single teacher in order to pass a standardised test. Order is maximised and deviation is identified and rectified.

difficult to achieve. Will Richardson and Bruce Dixon (2017) remind us that “truly transformative change … in pre-existing schools is very difficult to find. It’s easier to build a new school than to change an old one” (page 2). School practices calcify and too often petrify. We know that teaching soft skills, e.g. collaboration, perseverance, leadership, and respect, is important. We also know that course content crowds out soft skills. That doesn’t negate the need for them. And the problem is, even when some parts of the educational equation are ready to embrace change, there are plenty more forces ready to defend the focus on content.

Schools may need to identify the appropriate levers to pick up their rate of change. In a workshop at the beginning of the school year, educators were asked to identify the skills students need to navigate the modern landscape and workplace. Soft skills like resilience, flexibility, creativity, and the ability to embrace continually emerging and evolving competencies were all put forward. Nary a mention was made of content mastery, standardised tests, or the Common Core.

Parents demand it (I want my kid to get into such-and-such university), teachers are trained in it (it’s easy to hire a history teacher, it’s harder to find a perseverance teacher), government programmes require it (no more needs to be said), materials, books, nearly everything is provided for content. And here is the kicker: students demand it, too.

RESISTANCE IS DEEPLY EMBEDDED That our educational system is in need of an overhaul shouldn’t be news to anyone. What can be much more difficult is making it happen. Change is hard, and real, substantive change in schools has been particularly

We came face to face with this traditional demand of school - content over skills - in our progressive middle school. It is unfortunately too easy to believe that learning soft skills



is soft, meaning easy, and learning hard skills (content), is hard, and therefore worthy of school. We think it’s just the opposite, by the way, but this message is a difficult one for parents, students, and educators. For example, instead of finishing learning by virtue of a grade entered in the gradebook, good or not, the middle school introduced a policy of redoing work when needed, something central to mastery learning and standards-based assessment. You would think this is a win for education. Alas, not necessarily. On average, our middle school students did not perceive our assessment system as enabling further learning. A serious school - we think this sums up their feelings - is hard and sometimes painful. Serious schools give Fs and make you stay up late to complete lots of homework. And why not? It’s what they are used to. While we can disagree with them, it’s not hard to see where they are coming from. The vast majority of the models we experience, literally anywhere on the planet, work this way. School is in fact so predictable that when we walk into one in Moscow or Malaga, Taipei or Toronto, we can feel right at home. If you doubt this, ask a group of six-yearolds to “play” school. They will select one teacher, who will stand while the rest will sit, so the teacher can start asking them questions. We’ll even wager this: the child playing the teacher will quickly become a disciplinarian and delight in pointing out errors. Try it.

THE LEVER OF CHANGE MAY LIE OUTSIDE THE ACADEMIC DAY Traditional school is built for predictable events. At the end of the unit there will be a test with questions. The questions will have right answers. And, perhaps almost comforting, one can study for them. Life, though, is full of complex questions with fluid responses. So like Don Quixote and Sancho going after the next windmill, we continue to implement progressive programmes in our traditional structure. Our justification is that we believe we can nudge education in a direction it needs to go. We also feel that there is a place in school where experimentation with more progressive education does not suffer nearly as much from the gravitational reversion to the status quo. This is in our residential and extracurricular programmes, where, if we were clever, we might be creating much more curriculum, and planning much more instruction, than we currently do. In fact, we wonder if it might be these programmes that should be the drivers

That our educational system is in need of an overhaul shouldn’t be news to anyone. What can be much more difficult is making it happen.

of a focus on skills in addition to content. Perhaps it is only when the residential and academic programmes of school are functioning together, intentionally, that a school can fulfill its promise.




the world we were preparing our students for: simple, complicated, complex, or chaotic. Most of us moved into the section called “complex.” He next asked us to move to the quadrant that best described our current curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices. We all moved to “simple.”

Student life outside the traditional bell schedule is a rich archipelago of clubs, sports and activities. These programmes offer more flexibility, are often much less hidebound or “curriculum bound,” and pave a path for schools to begin the process of implementing learning principles for the 21st (and 22nd) century. Here are a few steps to move forward:

We can do better.


• Start with a definition of learning (see for example ACE Learning, 2017). • Ensure the definition of learning is transferable across all parts of the school. Curriculum does not end when the last bell rings. To be blunt, we are suggesting that the curriculum our students need often starts when the last bell rings. • Create opportunities to meet learning standards in many, if not most, parts of school life. If this statement does not make sense with your current standards, examine your current standards. • “Map out” the residential and student life curriculum. These maps provide orientation and keys to help students navigate their way. • Identify the skills that are, in fact, better suited for after school moments than inside the traditional classroom setting. Maximise their impact. • Avoid the easy temptation to make the residential and extra-curricular day more like the school day. Doing so, we believe, will lead to a loss of good learning experiences. • Extend curriculum planning into residential life and extra-curricular activities. • Define common understandings that describe the ethos of the school. For example, if a school is seeking to create leaders, then a definition of “leadership” must be defined. Then articulate pathways to be leaders and to practice leadership. Students should be able to understand the steps to becoming a leader, just as they need to understand the steps to solving a math equation. • Make multiple routes to reach learning goals known, across the entire school experience.

Daryl Hitchcock is the Theory of Knowledge department chair and a resident scholar at the Leysin American School. He has lived and worked throughout his career in boarding schools around the world, including more than 20 years as the head of large dorms of teenage boys.

Paul Magnuson is the director of Educational Research at Leysin American School and adjunct faculty for the International Education Program of Endicott College. His interests include student agency and self-regulated learning for students and teachers.

CONCLUSION We might do ourselves a favour by examining residential and extra-curricular (even the name gives away our bias, doesn’t it) programmes and their role in leading a shift to greater inclusion of soft skills. For that matter, we might want to reconsider how we speak about soft skills. In the same training we mentioned earlier, our facilitator asked us to step into one of four quadrants which best described

BIBLIOGRAPHY Richardson, W. and Dixon, B. (2017). 10 principles for schools of modern learning. Modern Learners Media. Accessed 20 October 2019.


THE NEED FOR AUTHENTIC LEARNING KIM CULLEN, M.A., M.S., B.A. Upper School Director, The American School of Madrid

Image: Diego L., Iceland, April 2019




s a twenty-year veteran in education, with 15 years of experience in secondary administration and counselling, I get frustrated by conversations like this one:

Horn and Jimmy Chin on Instagram. Just getting him to jump through the hoops of high school would be challenge enough so instead of talking about moving straight on to university, we instead encouraged him to do a gap year after graduation. In September of grade 11, he set his goal: he and a friend would embark on an 80-day hiking and camping trip around the island of Iceland, and they would do this completely unassisted. If successful, they would be the youngest team ever to do so. To make this happen, they would spend the next two years developing business plans, designing merchandise, and presenting their project to sponsors. They grew a strong social media presence and raised thousands of dollars to support their trip. They storyboarded and began to script a documentary to that would feature their journey.

“What’s going on at school today?” I ask my teenagers on the way to school in the morning. “Nothing” one responds, a little too quickly for my taste. And so I press. “Really? Nothing?” I wait a moment. My son, in grade 9, shrugs his shoulders. “There’s nothing interesting happening in any of your classes today?” I can almost feel my daughter, in grade 11, roll her eyes in the back seat. “Not really, mom, “ she answers. “I mean, I have a quiz in math, but that’s not interesting.”

There is no shortage of research to illustrate that kids learn best from authentic experiences.

“What about your science class?” I ask her. “You like that one. What are you guys learning?” She answers “We’re starting a new unit today.” Oooh! A new unit! I think. “What’s it on?” I ask. “Um, science something or other”. Science something or other? I throw my hands up, defeated, as we pull into the parking lot.

As the boys grew increasingly committed to their project, my son found that he would much rather devote time to planning for his trip than to completing the IB diploma. As a family, we made a strategic decision to allow him to drop the full IB, knowing that just the experience of creating this trip was teaching him more than he would ever have learned in school. As an educator, I regretted this. Yet, I could not find a strong enough reason to tell my son to stick with the full diploma at the expense of the one thing that was finally motivating him - and that one thing had nothing to do with school.

Today, kids are faced with intellectual challenges far more complex than those of their parents. They have access to information at a dizzying pace, and they don’t know how to process all that they see, read and hear. Their adolescent brains struggle to make sense of the news, complex sociopolitical situations, rapidly changing weather patterns, and the vastly mixed messages of and in democratic leadership. They embody the narcotising effect of the information era. Sadly, they are used to guns, blood, war, bomb threats, and school shootings. All the while, they struggle to balance raging appetites and fluctuating hormones, and they still face the same hallway dramas of ole. So given all that they are forced to process on a daily basis, it’s not surprising that factoring quadratic equations may not be all that inspiring.

Unfortunately, this is where schools get it wrong. Most of us in education know this. There is no shortage of research to illustrate that kids learn best from authentic experiences. From Ken Robinson (Creative Schools, 2015) to John Moravec (Knowmad Society, 2013) to Wagner and Dintersmith (Most Likely to Succeed, 2015): it is evident that when kids are given the opportunity to break out of the confines of traditional education, amazing things can happen. Ours is a k-12 international school. We went through a significant leadership transition a few years ago, and with it, the school began the slow, often painful move away from a focus on content and grades to a focus on learning. We moved to a block schedule, began the shift to standards-

My eldest was unmotivated in high school. He was obedient enough so he never fell too far behind, and he had moments of enthusiasm over the four years, usually tied to passionate teachers. But he, too, was uninspired by school. He discovered toward the end of grade 10 that he loved to travel; he found inspiration in adventure. Through middle school, he had watched every episode of Bear Grylls, and he followed people like Paul Nicklen, Chris Burkard, Mike



TEACHING ESSENTIALS A Modular Programme Accredited by ECIS.

Are you new to teaching, changing roles or ready to upgrade your teaching skills so you can ensure the students in your class thrive and succeed? Do you want to embrace the latest advice and best practice into your teaching in simple, but effective manageable steps? Do you want to take away an extensive range of strategies, activities and resources to implement in your classroom and curriculum? Dragonfly are delighted to partner with ECIS in delivering this exciting new accredited programme designed for international teachers without formal qualified teacher status (QTS), as well as Teaching Assistants, so they can build on their existing skills in order to develop greater confidence and expertise in all aspects of their teaching role.











PROGRAMME DETAILS: Unique to Dragonfly Training and ECIS, this highly engaging and interactive SIX-DAY programme provides first-hand experience of essential classroom skills. The six days develop from basics and fundamentals to more advanced and sophisticated approaches and will equip teachers with a comprehensive toolkit of skills, knowledge, resources and inspiration to take advantage of the opportunities available in international schools. This will include managing workload, collaborating with teams, effective planning, assessment and feedback - all with a view to maximising the potential of every individual.

i Speak to us to find out how to bring this to your school, be a host school, or attend at a venue near you. +44 (0)29 20 711 787








based grading, created collaborative learning spaces, and emphasised on site professional development for our teachers. We worked with our parents, students, faculty, and the Board to identify a set of learning beliefs that would guide our future. We hired coaches to work with our teachers and our administration, and we continue the important work of rewiring our Board to focus on what education could be. In only a few years, we have made tangible changes in our institutional philosophy. Yet, as is evident in the conversation I had with my own children on the way to school, we still fall short. There remains an important gap between what we say and what we do.

editing, the boys learned more real-world skills than our school could ever have taught them. That their project was real, personal, multi-layered, and impending meant that the stakes were high enough to make it so that “just getting by” was not an option. There was no grade. There was simply “we do this right or it doesn’t happen.” Schools need to give students more authentic learning opportunities that raise the stakes and the engagement. Like I said, change is hard. But there is a slow and steady shift happening as more and more teachers begin to think outside the box. Kudos to those who are deciding to be bold, to take a leap of faith, to let go of some of the traditional control. Here’s to courage, initiative and authenticity. In order to learn, our kids must be inspired. Anything less is not education.

All one needs to do is look at our learning beliefs to know that our heads and hearts are in the right place. But the challenge here is twofold: 1) Change is hard. Generally, educators feel much safer when we can control the outcomes. We all agree that learning should involve real world experiences as well as risk and failure, but to engage kids in the process of experimentation and inquiry makes us feel like we are throwing content out the window, and frankly, in the face of high stakes exams, there’s nothing safer than a course guide. 2) We are making it up as we go. As Cristel Hartkamp suggests in Knowmad Society (2013), the great paradox of defining what learning for the future looks like is that most of us are products of traditional education: “it is rather grotesque that societies, which essentially depend on and intently strive for innovation and progress, should try to source the power and energy for their innovative and progressive future from the physical and conceptual conditions of the educational mills of the 19th century.” It goes without saying that when we can’t fully predict the outcomes of our efforts, we’ll revert to the familiar.


Kim Cullen has years of experience in international education. As an American citizen born in Brazil and raised in Texas and Spain, Kim is an adult TCK (*third culture kid) who understands the unique benefits and opportunities that come from having cross-cultural experiences during the developmental years. Kim cares deeply about young people and how they learn and she has devoted her entire professional career to fostering supportive, impactful and relevant learning for both students and educators. Kim’s unique longevity at the American School of Madrid has given her a professional profile that is comprehensive with experiences in visioning, strategic planning, relationships, team-building and compassionate leadership. Since 1997, she has been a member of the school’s Leadership Team serving in various capacities both in operations and in education.

At the beginning of each school year, our opening days for faculty and staff include discussions designed to provoke: What would innovation look like in my classroom? If we could untie ourselves from content, what small steps could each of us take to innovate in our own classes? Teachers are challenged to think about how they can bring alive the school’s learning beliefs, even in the smallest of ways. While many of the conversations focus on instruction and assessment using standards, the conversations inevitably move into how we might shape learning differently. And now I think again of my son and his friend, and everything that they learned during the two year planning for their gap year trip to Iceland. From business plan and grant writing to communication and networking, graphic design, managing social media, photography and film







oaching is emerging as a powerful tool to create transformation in school.1 The days of a standardised ‘one size fits all’ CPD model, that expects everyone to sit through the same endless INSET presentation, are (fortunately) in decline. Practitioners in schools rightfully expect professional development that is suited to them at their stage of the career, is adaptable to the ever-changing educational landscape, is bespoke to their context and, most importantly, is directly applicable and thus can have an impact. Coaching is uniquely placed to help schools achieve this. At its heart, coaching is about a creating the conditions for a powerful conversation that helps someone move forwards.



1 1 1 1 PROCESS





















Despite a clear ethos built around the traditions of a holistic education3 and a genuine belief (regularly articulated to key stakeholders) in ‘best fit’ university destinations (rather than ‘best in ranking list’) there pervades a broader belief in the significance of ranking, relative status and examination outcome.


This is not to suggest that parents and students do not recognise the importance of pastoral care, wellbeing focused support, and the value of positive relationship with peers and with their teachers - they do (and this is clearly expressed and evident in our stakeholder surveys). However, there does appear to be a possible juxtaposition with regards to where we see intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation.




As such, coaching can be used across the educational context. Broadly speaking its impact manifests in the following areas:




Dulwich International High School Zhuhai (DCZH)2 have chosen to develop a coaching culture in their aspirations to address student wellbeing. They believe that this is in keeping with their broader underpinning intention to develop student agency and collective teacher efficacy. Located in southern China, just across the bay from Hong Kong and adjacent to Macau, Dulwich students exist in a context of ‘heightened expectation and aspiration’, Students join at the age of 14 (in Year 10) and all of are sitting external high stakes exams at some point in the year. They come to Dulwich because their parents want them to study at some of the ‘best’ universities around the world.

In this context DCZH set about building capacity towards an enhanced approach to achieving their wellbeing objectives. They wanted to enhance their pastoral support by ensuring that their staff were trained in advanced level coaching techniques. The focus was on training key student-facing staff as coaches so they were able to use coaching techniques in their pastoral interactions with students, especially those related to wellbeing. Their belief was that this would not only develop important skills in this area, but also work towards the benefits of collective teacher efficacy.



Coaching was chosen as the ‘tool’ to achieve this. Forming a partnership with UK-based leadership coaching company Making Stuff Better (MSB), they set about identifying a provider that understood their context and needs and could support them in an enhanced approach to developing capacity. There was some in-house experience of coaching but it was evident that there were a number of advantages in accessing ‘outside’ expertise. As an international school in China there are some contextual considerations. On-site professional learning was of course possible. However, they needed to give consideration to virtual access too. A oneoff course for a day or two might create some momentum and interest, but this was likely to wane over time as the realities and priorities of life in school ‘took over’. They also wanted to work with a team that understood an education/ schools’ context. Their sense was that ‘coaching for performance’, as you might see in a business context, just wasn’t the right fit for their purposes. MSB and DCZH were able to build a programme that allowed them to achieve the blended delivery model they were after. A ‘kick off’ two-day workshop in November was planned to really build buy-in, gain traction, immerse participants early on in the practice of (as opposed to the study of) coaching. This was followed up by monthly virtual sessions that would be used to: 1. reinforce and consolidate existing skills practice 2. address participant-specific case work queries (“I am working with a student and would like your advice/ perspective on taking XYZ forward….”) 3. introduce new skills so participants feel a continuing sense of progression 4. maintain frequent ‘touch points’ so participants feel an ongoing sense of commitment and association with the programme.

The impacts have been powerful. Participants report far greater agency in holding pastoral conversations with students in a way that is culturally effective. It has allowed them to let go of their need to ‘fix’ the circumstances that students find themselves in, but rather has given them the skills and language needed to help students find their own way through their circumstances, thus in turn giving students far greater agency.

12 participants (about 30% of their expatriate staff) joined the programme, which was completely ‘opt-in’ and elective. These ranged from teaching staff to professional support staff (all student facing), expat, local bi-lingual, and also expat but with Asian heritage. Virtual sessions were arranged into two sub-groups based on the practicalities of ‘availability’ and a recognition of the benefits of a more ‘intimate’ and personalised virtual experience.

The project has now moved into its second year, with a second cohort of staff training as coaches and the original moving onto Advanced coaching skills. In addition, Making Stuff Better are co-creating an 8-week coaching programme for Year 10 students in partnership with the school’s pastoral leaders.

Thus, the staff followed a 9 month programme that skilled them up in the ability to hold effective coaching conversations with their students.




senior leadership portfolios. Andrew is a licensed training facilitator and is accredited (by NCTL/COBIS) to facilitate leadership training. Prior to this he completed 5 years at the SSAT (Specialist Schools and Academies Trust/The Schools Network) having worked with a number of influential Professors and academics leading research in education. There Andrew also established professional learning networks across London; and then, as Operational Director, oversaw national programmes supporting many schools in the UK and internationally.

Matthew Hall is a Director at Making Stuff Better. Matt believes that people are capable of far bigger leadership and lives than they ever dare let themselves believe. His life as a senior leader in secondary schools in the UK and overseas gave him a deep understanding of what makes engaging learning and leadership.

Andrew is passionate about learning and education, and encourages students to be ‘the best you can be’.


As a CTI-trained coach Matt has an incredible ability to really understand others and move them forward to what they want. Matt has a MA and MPhil from the University of Cambridge, a PGCE from Nottingham University and holds the National Professional Qualification for Headteachers. Matt is a licensed training facilitator and is accredited (by NCTL/COBIS) to facilitate leadership training.

Making Stuff Better’s Leadership Coaching Module as part of the ECIS Middle Leader Certificate https://www. A full article on this project and its impact can be found in CollectivED October 2019 Issue 9: https://www.

Matt delivers across all of the MSB programmes and is responsible for the strategic development of the company. He is currently co-authoring a book for Crown House publishing about leading schools in exceptional circumstances, due for release in summer 2020.

BIBLIOGRAPHY 1) 2) 3) wellbeing

Andrew Macdonald-Brown is Director at Dulwich International High School Zhuhai since August 2017, having spent the previous 5 years at British School Muscat, most recently as Deputy Head (Whole School). Andrew holds a BSc in Sport Science and Business Studies, and PGCE in Business Education and Computing, and an NPQH (National Professional Qualification for Headteachers). He has over 25 years experience in education having spent the first 17 of these in West London schools where he had significant middle and





INTERNATIONAL DIRECTOR Oxford International Study Centre




restigious universities in Britain (“Russell group” universities) welcome applications from the brightest and the best students worldwide. There is no magic formula for success….you must have an excellent school record and show that you have the stamina to work hard in a very competitive environment. Almost certainly you will apply to University (and remember the closing date for Oxford and Cambridge and for courses such as Law and Medicine at some other universities is earlier , October not January!) before the results of your final school examinations, Abitur or A-Levels, or IB. This means that your previous school results ((I)GCSE or equivalent ) are very important , since it is the only solid evidence that admissions tutors will have of your academic ability. Typically Oxford expects at least 6 A* grades in GCSE. Of course your predicted grades in your A-Levels or equivalent must be excellent. Typically the best academic universities will be looking for at least A*AA at A-Level or 39 points in the IB or 1.1/1.2 in Abitur.


But many students achieve these grades. The top universities therefore need additional criteria by which they can select the best students. This is why there are admissions tests in many subjects . At Oxford and Cambridge and some other universities the admissions tests include BMAT(Medicine), ELAT (English Literature), LAT (Languages), LNAT (Law), and TSA (Thinking Skills Aptitude Test, leading to various degrees). These tests are not intended to assess subject knowledge, but your aptitude for studying a certain subject. For example the LAT sometimes asks candidates to work out the meaning of phrases in an invented language and the TSA often asks candidates to logically interpret data from a written article. All the tests are looking for the ability to reason critically and to express yourself clearly. Sample papers do help, since you are then used to the format of the examination ,and they are available online.

1. Why you want to study your chosen subject. This is very important. Having been part of an admissions team at a leading University I used to tire of reading about applicants “enjoying football” or “have travelled extensively”. This does not show anyone why the candidate is suited to studying History or why the tutor would enjoy teaching him or her. If you have done any additional reading about your subject, or if you have used your initiative to gain insight into it (eg by attending some lectures in your local university) then this does warm the admission tutors to you. 2. As a potential member of an academic community you need to be able to show a breadth of other interests. It does not matter what they are….sports, cinema, debating and lots of others…. but these interests must be actively pursued. No-one is impressed by a candidate who watches chess on television. You need to show that you will be a worthwhile member of the University and will contribute to its life.

Alongside these exam results, the UCAS form contains a reference from the school or college of the student, and a Personal Statement, in which the candidate must try to impress the admissions tutors from their universities, by writing about why they deserve a place, and their passion and enthusiasm for their subject. The admissions tutors assess these forms, and then offer interviews to the students they feel are the best candidates.

3. You also need to show that you are a mature and responsible person. Work experience, holding positions of responsibility or voluntary work all help. You are a member of society and need to show that you can make a contribution.



The interview procedure is almost unique to Oxford and Cambridge, and is the best way for the admissions tutors to decide which candidates are the most talented in their subject of choice. Overseas candidates are normally interviewed in their own countries. Candidates are generally interviewed 2 or 3 times, in order for the tutors to gain a complete picture of the student and their academic interests and abilities. Tutors will also ask questions about the Personal Statements, and about the students’ own particular areas of interest.


After the interview period, which usually takes place in December, the tutors will offer a place at the university for the students they believe to be the best candidates.

Carolyn Llewelyn is International Director of Oxford International Study Centre , an International College in the heart of Oxford . She studied languages at St Anne’s College , University of Oxford , and has worked in international education for over forty years , including at Oxford Brookes University and Queen Mary , University of London. Her interests are travel and languages , and art. She describes herself as a language freak and lifelong learner, having attended University continuing education classes in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese for several years.

The offers given are conditional upon the results of school leaving , which the students sit the following Summer. Therefore, in order to gain the place on their course of choice, they must gain excellent results in their examinations. Many students fail to make their offers, and therefore cannot study at a leading university. Some subjects have a much higher success rate for receiving an offer. For instance, a student applying to study Classics at Oxford has a 42% chance of receiving an offer. Yet a student who is applying to study English at Oxford has only a 20% chance of receiving an offer.

Learn more about Oxford International Study Centre. For the students who receive offers, and attain the required grades their course of study at a leading university will begin the following October. They will spend their Summer Holiday reading and preparing themselves for the start of their courses, where they will receive some of the best education in the world.



If you are seeking the most direct and cost-effective pathway to teaching in the digital age, earning a US teaching license in less than a year, you should take a close look at our partner, TEACH-NOW. Irrespective of your citizenship and feasible in whichever country you are living, A high-quality teacher preparation programme – at a fraction of the cost – and in less time!





Director, International Leadership Academy




t is THE question that cuts to the core of what we believe as teachers and school leaders. Just as Hamlet faced core moments of ethical quandary, so do we as educationalists. And it is in these moments of adversity, of challenging financial times, that the decisions we make about appropriate funding (in all its forms) for professional learning and development exposes our core education beliefs. Is professional learning and development a luxury we can ill afford or an anchor we can ill lose? I ask this question for several reasons. As a UK teacher I am concerned about the funding crisis, and the catastrophic situation regarding initial teacher training, recruitment into the profession and, most importantly, retention of our teachers. Secondly, as a global leader in education professional learning and development, I am challenged by the predictions of exponential growth in the youth population, predominantly in Asia and Africa, alongside the meteoric rise of international education where we’ll need more than half a million teachers to service these schools within the next ten years (thank you ISC for the data in this field). What, if any, is the role of professional learning and development in schools?

Leading the charge for the profession, and supporting concerns about this, Professor Dame Alison Peacock, Chief Executive, Chartered College of Teaching, added: “Every day we see excellent teaching delivered despite huge pressures. We need to give teachers the opportunities and tools to develop their skills and to be proud of what they are doing.


However, due to the demands on their time, learning and development is all too often neglected, with the average teacher in England spending only four days on CPD per year.


Well, before we hit the global, let’s start with the UK. The Teacher Development Trust announced in their annual data review produced by SchoolDash in 2019 a staggering 12% drop in secondary teacher training budgets and a 7% drop in primary; the first time there has been a decline since the data has been collected. This confirmed what many teachers and school leaders were reporting and led to universal concern across the profession.

If our pupils are to receive the best possible education, we at the Chartered College believe teachers must have access to good quality CPD. With the profession struggling to recruit and retain teachers, we need to show that we are willing to invest in them from the second they enter the classroom”.

James Bowen, Director of NAHT Edge, National Association of Head Teachers, in response to this data, said: “This report reflects exactly what we hear from our members – that they are being forced to reduce CPD as school budgets are cut. NAHT’s most recent funding survey showed that 70% of schools have had to reduce investment in CPD due to funding pressures. We also know that finding the time for CPD, especially out of school, is a challenge due to unmanageable workloads. Time for CPD is vital to school improvement and to ensuring children get the very best education. Lack of dedicated investment by the government in this area is a false economy.”

As budgets are squeezed, expenditure on professional learning and development both in terms of time and funding are cut, we start to realise the actual value placed on this activity. The research from #EduGreats like Vivienne Robinson clearly demonstrates that leadership focussing on professional learning and development will lead to the highest outcomes for young people and yet, when it comes to the crunch, we still see this as a nice-to-have and not a critical activity to core business. Last week I was told by a headteacher that it feels wrong to invest resource in professional learning and development when he has just had to let 4 staff go. This reveals the very real challenges



our leaders face and some of the underlying beliefs about the profession. When the chips are down the glue sticks and blu-tac are rationed (if you’re lucky to have any at all!) and so does the investment in the profession.

We can see that investment in the individual within a workforce is an aspect that matters when it comes to recruitment but what about retention? The Council of British International Schools looked in more detail at this in July 2018 in the largest study of British international teachers ever, ‘Teacher Supply in British International Schools’, and concluded:

Parallel to the financial situation, we can track the impact of the current climate on recruitment and retention. The ‘Teacher Workforce Dynamics in England’ (2019) report by NFER and the Nuffield Foundation highlights the scale of the crisis as the number of trainees on initial teacher training have increased but still fall short of targets by around 2500 whilst also seeing a 25% decline in qualified teachers from Europe applying for QTS ; yes, the BREXITeffect is rearing its head! At the same time the school workforce census shows that a third of teachers left the system within five years of qualifying, it predicts a 19% growth of student population in the next decade. We are also now seeing that the number of teachers leaving the profession increased from 6% to 8% between 2011 and 2016. In bite-size clarity, there simply aren’t enough teachers entering the profession, staying in the profession or returning to the profession.

Schools reported that the most prevalent method of facilitating teacher retention and recruitment in the last two years was through ‘enhanced professional development’, with ‘improved marketing of our schools’ ranking second most prevalent. Note that increases in salary and improved benefits are both ranked as significantly less important as retention and recruitment tools. Looking beyond education there is much written about a changing landscape where employees have different expectations. They want greater input from their employer and are looking for career growth within their organisations, very much as we can see within teaching through the TeachAway and COBIS reports.



Dr Holbeche, a global giant in the field of HR and previously Director of Research and Policy for the CIPD , presented at Relocate’ s Festival of Global People in London’s King’s Cross in April 2019 and said, ‘Staff are saying: we are good, you as an organisation have got to bend towards us, and provide what we need. This might be a career path, a four-day week or more of a work/life balance.’

The NFER report highlights teacher concern about workload as a primary reason for teacher attrition from the profession and goes on to assert that ‘To improve teacher retention, nurturing, supporting, and valuing teachers is vital to keep their engagement high.’ There is, rather unsurprisingly, a direct correlation between high engagement and higher retention. So, whilst also considering the weighty beast that is workload, what does nurturing, supporting and valuing teachers actually look like?

She goes on to assert that current research of trends is identifying that people tend to move on if they start to become disengaged, particularly in the UK where we have got full employment. He advises HR and recruitment departments, ‘if you have got good people you have got to find ways to hang on to them and develop them, and they will be asking for more in return.’

This year a study was completed by Teach Away into the global international school workforce which explicitly looked at push and pull factors in more detail. The 2019 International Education Recruitment Report: Insights and Trends collected data from 12,618 Teaching Candidates which highlighted the top three attractions for a teacher to a new role (weighted responses, respondents were asked to rank their preferences): • • •

We have the perfect storm. Increased global demand for teachers and a period of decreased supply leading to significant competition alongside changing priorities for the profession as employees. And yet, knowing all of this, the truth is that when faced with financial adversity, leadership decisions around allocation of extremely limited budgets are resulting in decreased spend in professional learning for school improvement.

66% Salary and bonus 65% PD Opportunities 49% Career Progression Opportunities

The challenge faced by school leaders is to ensure we have the highest return on investment through the outcomes of




our young people. Difficult decisions have to be made and, whilst cutting expenditure and resource on professional learning and development is an easy cost-saving in the immediate term, the ongoing impact for schools to both your own staff, your recruitment/retention of staff and, most importantly, the impact on your students will be costly notwithstanding the longer term impact on the profession. The NFER report highlighted the importance of nurturing, valuing and supporting teachers as the only way to secure a sustainable and stable global profession. We need to do this full stop. And when it comes to professional learning and development, if I were to look to a football analogy, and for the record I’m not a great footballing expert, but what I do know is no team that had limited resources ever said, we will stop developing our team to save scarce funds.

Liz Free, teacher and headteacher, has worked in some of the world’s leading schools before specialising in learning and development. Liz is Director of the International Leadership Academy (ILA), the professional learning home for international schools as well as the school improvement arm of The British School in the Netherlands. Liz is a global board member for the TES Institute and global strategic lead for #WomenEd. She is a Founding Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching and Fellow of RSA. Liz has recently published with Sage and writes for publications around the world on the theme of global education leadership.

If anything, they go even further and do everything they can to optimise the potential of what they have. And so, this begs the question in education, knowing what we know, facing what we face; to PD or not to PD, that is the question!

BIBLIOGRAPHY i: ii: dynamics_in_england_research_overview.pdf iii: iv: cobis/bu6zyw9c7cdxpjsbq2uk/COBISTeacherSupply_ FinalReport_July2018.pdf v:




OMOLOLA WRIGHT-ODUSOGA English Modern School, Wakra Campus, Qatar.

If you had to choose one pressing issue facing International schools, what would yours be?

Lola is the founding Head of School at the English Modern School and The English Modern Kindergarten in Al Wakra, Qatar. She joined The English Modern School (Doha Campus) as a Year One teacher in September 2010, after which she moved on to set up the Al Wakra City campus as the Early Childhood Education Coordinator.

To engage in consistent learning and knowledge-building around human resources strategies such as the recruitment, selection, and retention of teachers, and administrators, as well as ensuring the alignment of recruitment plans to the school’s needs assessment, mission and vision statements.

With over twenty years experience working with children, young people, and adults in the areas of teaching, administration, and leadership, Lola has a wealth of knowledge and experience in early childhood education and primary education, using both the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and The Cambridge International Curriculum.

Thinking longer-term, is there anything international schools could do better, be it for staff, students, or parents? To have international schools as a model of diversity and community that promotes Global mindedness, values, culture, tradition, that builds a stronger understanding of best practices approaches for 21st-century learning with all stakeholders. Great emphasis should be placed on embedding multicultural education in the international curriculum.

Can you tell us a little about how you came to be in Qatar? The initial idea was to see what else is out there and what teaching and learning looks like in other countries compared to my teaching, learning, and leading experiences in the UK. I commenced my employment in Qatar with The Ministry of Education, as an inspector for Independent schools. I later joined The English Modern School.

And finally, the best lesson you have learned as a senior leader? As a senior leader, I have learned to apply a balance of judgement and objectivity in reaching decisions, whilst also guided by several educational philosophies relevant to what is happening in the real world.

You have 3 post-it notes to write down one goal on each for the year ahead. What would yours say?

Our thanks to Lola for her insights.

To make a significant improvement in every English language learner’s reading ability.

Would you like to be interviewed in a future issue? Contact:

To be an agent of change and foster community engagement with stakeholders and service providers. Promote the provision of special education needs practices in schools.








or decades, certain institutions have dominated the international higher education conversation. Schools like Oxford and Cambridge come to mind. But as countries continue to invest in education resources, a host of new international universities are drawing in students from all over the world. According to the Institute of International Education, enrolment of international students in universities in places like the UK, Canada and Australia has been consistently growing year-over-year. For Essosolim Apollinaire Abi, there were plenty of reasons to apply to universities outside of where he grew up in Togo, the West African nation on the Gulf of Guinea. He was looking forward to visiting different places, experiencing traditional foods and immersing himself in a culture unlike his own. When his school counsellor suggested he study in India, it sounded like the perfect place. “She told me about the diverse internship opportunities and the toughness of academics,” he recalls. “I was also interested in the diverse culture and curious minds, as well as helping to eliminate the myths and ignorance about Africa. Plus, the travelling and food are cheap!”

The SAT is one of the most accepted entry exams for universities all over the world.

THINKING OUTSIDE THE US BOX With so many international academic options, it can be difficult for students to know which schools are right for them. Representing over 6,000 of the world’s leading colleges, schools and educational organisations, The College Board holds an exhaustive and comprehensive list of international universities and colleges that accept the SAT, AP (Advanced Placement), and SAT Subject Tests for application. “The College Board application resources are very clear and well-organised,” says Beini Wang, a Chinese student currently attending McGill University in Canada. “The content can be sorted and easily filtered. It’s super helpful.”

More destinations are becoming lucrative hotspots for international students.

From South Korea’s Seoul National University, to the Alberta College of Art and Design in Canada, and from the UK’s University of Birmingham, to the Florence Institute of Design International in Italy, the College Board’s directory of Higher Education Recognition of SAT and SAT Subject Tests is constantly being updated and maintained for internationally-bound students to access and use. Many of these schools are becoming ever more lucrative destinations to pursue posts-secondary education - and College Board programs serve as passport examinations to world higher education hotspots.

Abi’s counsellor suggested Ashoka University in India, and recommended he take the SAT to apply with his scores. Abi was accepted to Ashoka with full needs-based financial aid that allows him to have a financially stress-free experience while studying in India. The SAT is a valuable tool for students looking to study abroad and broaden their educational opportunities. As the global interest to study internationally continues to grow, more universities worldwide are accepting SAT scores.



The world of higher education is opening up. Students like Mao are navigating a world of options that were previously unavailable to them - or any generation before. It’s an exciting time for students interested in studying internationally - and universally-accepted standardised tests are serving as tools for students who want to achieve academic success abroad.


The College Board represents over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational organisations.


College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organisation that connects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. Each year, College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success — including the SAT® and the Advanced Placement Program®. The organisation also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators, and schools.

Once a student takes a standardised test, it isn’t always clear how to receive test scores or how to use them to apply internationally. The more international universities that require tests like the SAT for admission, the more familiar students will become with each component of the globally standardised test. “Organisations like the College Board are helpful for anyone short of a college counselling resource,” says Dr. Victor Chuang, Principal of the Kang Chiao International School’s East China campus in the Jiangus Province. “The SAT is one of the most-accepted application materials for universities all over the world. A good report will enhance any student’s application competitiveness.”

For further information, visit

THE RIGHT FIT Accessing a centralised hub of academic information that aggregates and organises application factors can be a game changer for students who truly want to find the right university for them. Students who have used preparatory resources say they’ve felt more supported and confident going through the university application process. “More and more universities are accepting SAT and AP scores, which is a win-win outcome and helps high school students from all over the world,” says Runyang Mao, a student from Ningbo, China who attended both Durham University and Imperial College in the UK. “Students are now able to choose the curriculum that fits them best.”






Technische Universität Dresden


University of Notre Dame *On behalf of the IPPOG Collaboration

Image: ATLAS Masterclass at TU Dresden. Credit: Juliana Socher





ave you considered International Masterclasses? Heard about them? Under any scenario, if you want to give your students a great physics experience in a truly international environment, International Masterclasses may be the opportunity for which you have been looking.

International Masterclasses work at international schools because they share two major attributes. For IB schools, make it three.


The first attribute is, of course, an international outlook. Students participate in masterclasses worldwide because particle physics is worldwide. For example, the ATLAS experiment at CERN may be located just outside Geneva, but physicists participate from 183 institutions in 38 countries. Many visit CERN regularly, but most do the largest part of their ATLAS work at their home institutions. International Masterclasses mirror this worldwide collaboration: in 2019, 133 masterclass institutes in 33 countries participated in ATLAS masterclasses. On just one fairly typical day, 29 March 2019, there were four video conferences moderated by CERN and Fermilab for 13 groups of students from 10 countries, covering three particle physics experiments. Thus, international schools can help model international scientific collaboration to their students with masterclasses and make unique contributions due to their own global stance.

International Masterclasses take place each year around March with some 13,000 students worldwide participating at more than 225 institutions and most connecting by video conference with particle physicists at CERN in Europe or Fermilab in the United States. Students in international schools can participate by either joining up with a nearby university or research institute that is hosting a masterclass or by holding one right at the school. The latter approach takes a little more doing, but it has been done before (see our article International Masterclasses: Global Engagement in Particle Physics in the previous issue of Global Insights) and help is available. Let’s explore both avenues.

HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES AS THE SEASONS CHANGE The second attribute is rigor. International schools promote high academic standards. Master classes are challenging and interesting: International school students can and do thrive. They also bring back a unique perspective on physics that is not found in the textbook or even, often, the science lab. Add to that an awareness of physics at the cutting-edge—the data used in masterclasses is from this decade—and students get a real boost in their physics education.

International Masterclasses (IMC) bring expertise from frontier scientific research to high school students. In a masterclass, particle physics is a hands-on activity. Students learn about methods, tools and open research questions in this field and are enabled to take part in the research process. Scientists introduce them to the world of the tiniest bits of matter and the accelerators and detectors used to study them. By analysing authentic data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN or a neutrino experiment at Fermilab, students get a taste of what cutting-edge physics is really like. At the end of their masterclass, students connect in a video conference with physicists at CERN or Fermilab and other student groups from different countries. They discuss their results, ask the scientists questions, and deepen their understanding of scientific research.

Finally, if a school is part of the International Baccalaureate program, the physics teacher will find particle physics right in the IB Physics curriculum. And we think the masterclasses provide “real physics research” insights that highlight that curriculum.


All resources for IMC are available on the web and free to use for educational purposes. In 2020, the program spans the period February 26–April 8. International Master classes are organised by IPPOG, the International Particle Physics Outreach Group, an international network of scientists, science educators and communication specialists with the goals of conveying particle physics to the general public and improving science education.

If it works for you to bring your students to a university or laboratory, your first step may be to consult the International Masterclasses website to see if you can find a masterclass institution near your school. The site has profiles of the institutions, providing a contact in most cases. You can e-mail that contact directly to see if they are open to involvement by your school. (They may be looking for more students or may already be filled up; you have to



ask!) If that does not work, contact one or both of us; we will try to find you another institution.

Bringing authentic physics research to the classroom and attracting students’ attention by offering activities that connect them to world-class labs has a great potential to spark their interest in science education. Teachers and students thus profit from taking part in IMC, be it at a nearby research lab or at their own high school.

If a nearby institution is not your best bet, you can run your own masterclass. It is more challenging and requires a somewhat bolder attitude. But we can help. First, you will need to register your school as a masterclass institution (see below). Then, let us know you are in and we will provide an extensive orientation via video conference to build your knowledge and confidence. We can also partner with you in finding a physicist to work with you and your students during the masterclass, either in person or online. Since you are doing this on your own, the only “hard” appointment will be the video conference, so you may be able to stretch your masterclass out over several days to give students bite-sized chunks of the masterclass, which some institutions have found to be an advantage. For example, several teachers at different schools who work with the University of Notre Dame often use this approach.


Kenneth Cecire is a co-leader for QuarkNet, a U.S. program to bring particle physics to high schools, at the University of Notre Dame. He has an M.A. in Physics and long experience as a teacher and in national and international physics outreach and education.

We want your masterclass to join the ranks of the many successful participants of International Masterclasses. Together, we can make it a great experience for you and your students.

SIGN UP NOW FOR YOUR CONNECTION TO CERN OR FERMILAB Registration for IMC 2020 starts the end of October and runs until the beginning of January. Let us know when you are interested in joining this international endeavour. You pick your preferred date, and we provide valuable information in a weekly circular on how you can prepare for your event. Whether you plan an orientation with your students or you want to print certificates of participation, we keep a wealth of material and ideas that will help you to adapt the masterclass to your needs. To get on the mailing list for information, including registration, please fill out the online form at the link to the right or this QR code:

Uta Bilow is a science communicator at TU Dresden, Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics, where she is coleader of international and national outreach programs for particle physics. She holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry and has worked as a scientific writer for many years.

RELEVANT LINKS: International Masterclasses: LHC Masterclass Library: E-mail list form:








s we launch our new Physical Education (PE) curricula for Cambridge Primary and Lower Secondary learners, we were interested to read some recent research from the University of Cambridge Sports Service showing a link between sport and improved academic results.

We know that many Cambridge schools – both local and international – will already be teaching PE, but our new curricula give teachers access to a wealth of extra resources, including schemes of work with lots of lesson ideas, that will also help learners progress along the Cambridge Pathway to the Upper Secondary level.

The Sport and Academic Performance Report 2019 compared the exam results of undergraduates who had represented the University in their sport with those who had not. The research analysed the results of over 4,000 students and found that 28.4 per cent of undergraduate sports people gained first class results, compared to 23.7 per cent in the University as a whole. The percentage of upper second results was also higher (achieved by 63 per cent of sports people compared to 51.8 per cent of other undergraduates), which of course also meant that the University’s sporting students were awarded fewer than average lower second and third class passes. Individual sports people interviewed for the research also noted how physical activity was an important release from academic studies, improving their mental health and also helping them develop valuable social networks.

In fact, PE is one of four new subjects that we are launching in September 2019, also adding Art & Design, Digital Literacy and Music to the Primary and Lower Secondary curricula. As a result, Cambridge schools will now have 10 Primary and Lower Secondary subjects to choose from, helping them deliver a broad, balanced and culturally sensitive programme of teaching that can also be tailored to the needs of their learners. Our new PE curricula will be available to Cambridge schools, free of charge, from September 2019, and curriculum frameworks, teachers guides, schemes of work and assessment guidance can all be accessed via the Cambridge Primary and Lower Secondary support sites.

The University’s research adds to the findings of the 2018 British Universities & Colleges Sport Active Students Survey. One of the survey’s key conclusions was that physical activity improves personal and mental wellbeing, social inclusion, perceived academic attainment and employability. In the survey, over 50 per cent of graduates said that their sporting involvement had helped their teamworking and leadership skills, while 94 per cent of employers identified a clear link between participation in university sport and the valuable strengths and skills they look for in potential employees.

ESTABLISHING HEALTHY FOUNDATIONS While Cambridge Primary and Lower Secondary learners may only be at the start of their academic journey, it is no less important for them to access the positive benefits that regular physical activity can deliver - which brings us back to our new PE curricula. The Cambridge view is that an early, structured introduction to the benefits of physical activity will help students of every ability – not just talented sportspeople – to develop healthy patterns that can last a lifetime. Both of our PE curricula develop movement skills while also encouraging creativity, collaboration, leadership and responsibility. We also want our younger learners to understand the positive impact that a healthy lifestyle can have on their wellbeing.





Founder, College Internship Program (CIP)


Lead Academic Coordinator , College Internship Program (CIP)





hen students with autism and learning differences start college, they are considered adults for everything except residency and tuition. Since they are no longer high school students, they are expected to ask for help, track their grades, plan out assignments, follow through with work, and make decisions on how to complete assignments.

How well do they know their learning difference and how it impacts them?

SELF-KNOWLEDGE/UNDERSTANDING Do they have the self-knowledge to accept that there is a need for reasonable accommodations? Example: “I read the book and do the homework, but when I’m tested, I still get stuff wrong. Maybe I need help.”

Many young adults may not be prepared for such a high level of independence quite yet due to their social, emotional, and executive functioning needs, however, there are many practical and valuable things you can do at home to support them in their growth.



How hard are they willing to work? How open are they to change if the path isn’t working?

All young adults are at different stages in their development, but there is often a larger discrepancy with young adults who have learning differences. This needs to be considered when planning a timeline to complete college and deciding who would be best to support your young adult.

It is a continuum, and while this kind of progress may not occur in perfect order, generally it does. College-age students with learning differences may be stronger in some areas than in others. For example, I once had a student with severe dyslexia that was very determined to achieve a certificate in college. He was aware of his challenges and had adapted his learning to include assistive technology that enabled him to hear what was read.

At the College Internship Program (CIP), we work with hundreds of young adults each year in the US helping to prepare them for college, employment, and independent living. Consider CIP’s Continuum of Growth and answer the following:

In addition, he developed a strategy to memorise what he heard because he was unable to reference what he saw. In college, he chose a certificate program that involved hands on learning to supplement what he read. In addition, he explained to his teacher what he needed to support his learning style and his professor was happy to oblige.




As a result of his self-understanding, willingness to advocate and determination to do whatever it took, this young adult was able to achieve a College Credit Certificate. However, his self-understanding of how he affected others when he did not get what he wanted right away affected his success in relationships. So coping with delayed gratification was the area of focus for improvement.




In contrast, I have a student that is able to understand some of her challenges and is determined to get a college degree. However, she is unaware of how her poor performance and lack of self-awareness affects her and those around her. She is still learning basic skills like tracking assignments, calculating grades, reading critically and meeting teacher expectations. Also, at times she is unwilling to do quality work independently. She will require coaching to help her





build these skills. This coaching consists of an objective approach to help her stay accountable to her goals. If families are unable to remain objective, it is important to find people who can.

WHO CAN PROVIDE ACADEMIC SUPPORT? Once admission to college is achieved, and the students are accessing these support services independently, they are now practicing an effective interdependent lifestyle. While the need to utilize these services may vary, supports services should remain available, regardless of success. An environmental change may cause a backslide and the student will need support to help them return to their personal best. In addition, connections with these people could provide social connections and job opportunities as well as educational experiences. These services could include, but are not limited to: • Therapist: To provide emotional support and guidance • Occupational Therapist: To develop strategies to deal with environmental factors • Peer Mentor: To provide support accessing college services and making social connections • Tutor: To assist with content based skills • Academic/Study Skills Coach: To build study skills and check in times to verify completion of quality work. • Life Coach: To build life skills that impact academic work and to add an element of accountability • Campus Disability Support Office: To provide a level playing ground for learning. For example, extra time on tests, preferential seating, recording lessons, use of assistive technology, etc. • Professor: To provide clarification, advice, tutoring and career guidance

had students say to me on more than one occasion, “What if my professor fails me, I flunk out of college and my parents disown me?” • Fear of success: Students may be overwhelmed at the idea of the future that success may bring. They may need help weighing out the good things that come out of success and help them create a timeline that matches their pace. • Need for skill building: Students may need help scripting what to say. They may also require help with non-verbal communication such as tone, proxemics and facial expression. • Need for understanding: Student may not know how their performance impacts class grades and overall GPA. • Need for self-care: Students may possess skills, display independence and have motivation, but show inconsistency. This could be due to unresolved mental health issues or not planning enough time for self-care and relaxation.

HOW DO WE HELP STUDENTS ACCESS SUPPORT SERVICES AND FOR HOW LONG? Many of these services are intended to help the students build skills and access further services that ensure their success in college. Unfortunately, we often find that students do not take advantage of these services. We can help them access services as needed and gradually withdraw our support when not needed.

HOW CAN YOU ASSIST STUDENTS WITH ACCESSING SUPPORT SERVICES? • Script the interaction. What might be said? Ex: “I missed class because I wasn’t feeling well, can I have a copy of the notes please?” • Practice different scenarios such as what might be done if something goes wrong.

• Fear of failure: Students may need assistance visualizing what success and failure looks like. For example, I have



• Model similar interactions and discuss what went right and wrong. Discuss what you were thinking during the interaction. • Plan times for interactions. You can go along in the beginning, but make a plan to fade supports and prompts. Ex: I’ll go in with you this time, but next time I will sit in the hall and after that I’ll be in the car. • Reflect on how it went. Did they receive the outcome they were expecting. • Revise the plan. Refer back to why students don’t access support and address the underlying problem. Have the student come up with a scenario in which they arrive at a better outcome. Do they need to:

to old habits, shutting down or rebelling and deciding to no longer pursue that goal. By building a strong support team we can develop realistic expectations and reduce frustration. We can feel confident that as we fade away, our young adults will continue to move forward. They will adapt and overcome the many challenges they face in order to become productive members of society.


• Add supports • Reduce intensity • Lengthen timeline

CONTINUE TO SUPPORT, REFLECT AND REVISE Students will consistently use the skills learned and then all of the sudden they stop. I had a student complete his Associate’s Degree and continue on to the university in order to complete his Bachelor’s. He was an A student and became active there, participating in clubs and even assisted his professors with research.

Dr. Michael McManmon is the Founder of The College Internship Program (CIP). Established in 1984, CIP is a comprehensive transition program in the United States helping young adults with autism and other learning differences achieve success in higher education, employment and independent living.

A personal event in his life sent him into an emotional tailspin. He was no longer able to do work and was in desperate need of support, which he could not access because of his therapeutic need. Because he was so successful before, the people who assisted him in accessing services had all but faded away. It was time for them to come back into the picture to help him get over this setback by leading him to the services that could best support him. In this case that was a therapist and a life coach. It was discovered that he was in need of medication and therapy to help him regulate his mood. It was agreed that focusing on mental health should be at the forefront. Therefore, the intensity of his college work should be reduced. In the final step, the family supported him in slowing the time it would take to get his degree.

Ryan Therriault, MA is the Lead Academic Coordinator at The College Internship Program (CIP). She received a Bachelor of Science From the University of Central Florida in Psychology with a Master of Arts in Social Science Education. Ryan appreciates the opportunity to train, develop projects and facilitate communication with Academic Coordinators at all CIP locations.

They accepted the fact that intellect is only one piece of the puzzle. Even though he was taking one step forward and two steps back, no matter how frustrating it was, he would eventually grow to live a healthy interdependent life. They knew that although it was important to push him out of his comfort zone, too big of a push could lead to a him reverting

For more information about CIP’s five year round and summer programs across the United States, visit or call (+00) 1 877-566-9247.







n 2000, Tara Waudby was just beginning her international job search at an International Schools Services (ISS) San Francisco recruiting fair; today, she is the Head of School at Riffa Views International School in Bahrain. Follow the chapters of her career around the world, learn what she loves about the Middle East, and what advice she offers to potential international educators:




are so many beautiful things about the whole world. Get to know people, don’t limit yourself to a place, and bust those stereotypes.

Having grown up as a TCK myself, I always knew I was going to go back overseas. I got a couple years of experience in the states once I decided to be a teacher, and in my third year of teaching, decided that I needed to go to an ISS job fair. Otherwise, I was going to get tenure and probably never leave.

Thanks to Tara for sharing your journey and insight! If you’re interested in taking your career abroad too, join this season of recruiting fairs with ISS-Schrole Advantage at If you’re an educator seeking professional learning opportunities in the Middle East, check out the new LEVEL 5 Bahrain innovation hub at the Riffa Views International School. You’ll experience cutting-edge workshops, supported by agile floor plans and an eclectic range of design tools. More at

I grew up in Sweden, so when I attended that first ISS San Francisco job fair in 2000, I was mostly looking at schools in Europe. Very early in the recruiting process, when going through all the introductions and orientations, an ISS representative told us, “Don’t limit yourself to one region!” I didn’t really listen. I had all these interviews in Europe, but at the last minute, they all kind of fell through. So I took a job in Taiwan, which was so completely different! I absolutely fell in love with it. I worked at an ISS managed school for the first five years of my overseas career.


When I was ready to move again, I knew I needed to take the ISS advice. I said to myself, “I won’t limit myself to any region except — as a single female — I won’t go to Kuwait or Saudi.” Those were the two schools at the job fair that I thought I wouldn’t go to, but I ended up taking a job in Kuwait. Loved it. Stayed there for ten years, then went to Saudi, and now I’m in Bahrain. I’ve been in Middle East for fourteen years now.

Tara Waudby began her teaching career in Phoenix, Arizona before moving into international education where she has spent 20+ years in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Taiwan. Tara has served in numerous leadership and teaching roles including assistant superintendent for learning, high school principal, assistant principal, professional development coordinator, ESL coordinator and a teacher of special education, ESL and secondary English. Currently, she serves as Head of School at Riffa Views International School. Follow her at

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT THE MIDDLE EAST? You get the best of everything. I like interacting with people, I like living abroad, I like the diversity of culture, and I like the fact that you become different yourself. My husband and I joke now that because he’s English and I’m American, either of our countries are too far for the other one. But the Middle East has all the American and British things, in addition to all the Middle Eastern things. We think we’re actually more at home here than we would be if we moved to England or the US!



International Schools Services (ISS) is a leading non-profit with more than 60 years of experience in international education. Whether it’s developing and managing worldclass international schools, staffing schools, ordering equipment and supplies, performing accounting functions, or supporting best-in-class teaching and learning approaches, ISS provides the full range of services necessary for schools to thrive and deliver an outstanding global education to their students.

I think the main thing is just to be open. Don’t limit yourself to a region, take risks, open up your worldview, and then fall in love with the place. I loved Taiwan, I loved Kuwait, I still love Sweden where I grew up — all of the places I’ve lived and worked in are vastly different regions, but there














THE EDUCATIONAL COLLABORATIVE FOR INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS 24 Greville Street London EC1N 8SS +44 (0)20 7824 7040 The Educational Collaborative for International Schools. ECI Schools t/a ECIS is a Company Limited by Guarantee in England (No. 08109626), and a Registered Charity in England and Wales (No. 1150171). VAT Number GB 160 9238 11.


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