Global Insights: November 2018

Page 1










Issue 7 | 11/18

Copyright 2018 | Twitter: @ecischools

02 04 08 12 17 21


Kevin J Ruth | Chief Executive, ECIS

Getting Ahead

The College Board

Diverse Cohesion

St. John’s International School

Life as a Young Muslim girl

Suzanne O´Reilly: Interview with Nour Makholf

Honouring Student Voice Lorraine Kellum

21st Century Learning Anne Fischer

31 34 37 39 44 47

Community & Identity Development Jeremy House

Research-Informed Practice Karen Taylor

Learning by Problem Solving Robert Barnett

Elevating Students’ Learning

Linda Lanis | Víctor González | Delinka Fabiny

Collaborative Learning Goes to Mars David Clapp

Out of Context: Teaching Teachers Matt Nink & Sarah Andersen


Bringing Music & Maths Alive


Personalised Learning with Big Data


Student-Driven Service as Action


The Whole Child is the Whole Point


What makes a qualification international?

Lynda Thompson | Francesco Banchini

Susan Min

Cover image: Marcia De Wolf, St. John’s International School, Waterloo, Belgium

Martin McKay

Vanita Uppal

Peter Monteath

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.

KEVIN J RUTH Chief Executive, ECIS


e are pleased to share the current issue of Global Insights, with its focus on community, in the myriad ways our schools express it.

The articles represent a rich tapestry of what defines us as a membership organisation – indeed, a membership community. I invite you to linger over its contents, giving pause to your own programmes and where you might find opportunity to bring further expression the notion of community. Often it is our own students who help us to see how our schools are already rich and vibrant communities; successive generations continue to encounter profound moments of learning about themselves and the world through the ways in which we weave our community tapestries. In this issue, you can read one young girl’s perspective on how her school helps her to understand her own religious faith better, in the context of other faiths. In keeping with the notion of learning about themselves and the world, we read about yet another student whose work is around gender bias. We encounter the power of students in yet a third article that shows how service learning in a community can be a creative act vis-à-vis extracurricular offerings and programming. Finally, we have thought pieces here to engage us as a readership community in conversations about experiential education and research-informed practice. I am deeply fortunate to be able to meet so many passionate educators in a variety of cultural and educational contexts when I visit schools; I’ve learnt that these conversations are ubiquitous and not germane to one type of school only. That learning serves as a powerful reminder of the signature strength of our ECIS community: its diversity.

Twitter: @kevinjruth

Our schools are full of curious professionals who are willing to seek out opportunities to be challenged. Strong communities enable that to happen. So, here’s to strong communities and the professionals that bring them to life daily for children and colleagues alike! Toward better things, always.



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The College Board


fter applying to the University of Oxford in

Now a freshman at Oxford with his nerve-wracking

England, Henry Wendorf, like other final year

university application days behind him, Henry credits

secondary school students at Switzerland’s

hard work, discipline, and his Advanced Placement (AP)

International School of Zug and Luzern, waited anxiously

courses with getting into his dream school.

each day for a reply. When his peers began receiving their university admission letters from around the world and

Get with the AP Programme

his hadn’t arrived yet, the anxiety reached an all-time

The AP Programme is an innovative secondary school


suite that includes university-level courses and exams. From arts to sciences to humanities, each AP course is

“As I stressed at the lunch table, I asked my mom to

designed to connect directly to a wide variety of university

check the mailbox,” Henry recalled. “When she sent back

majors and careers. Any secondary school can add AP

a screenshot of my acceptance, I shouted ‘YES!’ loud

courses to enhance its curriculum, and students can use

enough that the whole school probably heard me.”

their AP scores for global admissions - and often to gain university credit (without even being in university yet).

4 4

“The idea that AP scores could be used as university credits

University Board recently introduced an AP Capstone

was enticing,” says Miranda Zhang, also a University of

programme that includes AP Seminar and AP Research

Oxford student and AP grad originally from Guangzhou,

courses to train and encourage independent thinkers,

China. “I chose the AP programme because I liked that all

skilled writers, university-level researchers and effective

courses would be taught in English by qualified teachers,

collaborators. Students typically take AP Seminar in

providing an interactive environment to practise and

the equivalent to U.S. grades 10 or 11, followed by AP

improve English. I wanted to be around like-minded

Research.“Being in an AP programme is a privilege

students with similar goals.”

many students don’t have,” says Zhang. “I would tell new students to get the most out of it by working hard – and

Because of her combined AP and SAT exam scores at

don’t be afraid to try new subjects. Your university self

her secondary school in China, Zhang even received an

will thank you in the future!”

unconditional offer from Oxford upon admission, which she says made her life much easier than those of A-Level

Catering to Schools and Students

students, who had to wait for their exam results in August

When the University Board approached the Colegio Nueva

to see if they met Oxford’s conditions or not. Zhang says

Granada (CNG) in Bogotá, Colombia four years ago about

she was pleasantly surprised to have the opportunity to

piloting an AP Capstone, the school was intrigued by the

study subjects like psychology, literature and art history,

programme’s structure and focus. With 1,775 students

and that her AP courses helped her decide what she

from 47 different countries, CNG knew that many of them

wanted to major in at Oxford.

would choose to go to international universities and also likely pursue advanced degrees.

In order to maximise the benefits of enrolling in AP

courses, the University Board helps secondary school

“We needed to strengthen our course offerings in research

students identify their potential for success in these

and writing, both vitally important academic skill sets for

courses. Based on students’ SAT and PSAT-related

our students,” says Dr. Eric H. Habegger, CNG’s School

assessment scores, The College Board’s AP Potential tool


suggests AP Courses to students who are likely to receive a

the AP Programme’s research protocols and seminar

3 or higher on AP exams. The tool is designed to increase

methodology strongly reflected what many students

access to AP and to ensure that no student who has the

would need, while also allowing them to pursue their

chance of succeeding in AP is overlooked.

passions through authentic project-based experiences,

for the past eight years. “We believed that

which would open many doors for them post-secondary school.”

As a complement to discipline-specific AP courses, the


For many students, an AP Seminar course can replace an

externally-validated learning experiences like AP courses

elective class in the last year in secondary school, which

and exams.

is particularly suited to humanities students (like Zhang).

“Over the past eight years, we have seen more of our

When students move into AP Research for year two, the

students attend US and overseas universities and fewer

course can supplant a Grade 12 English course, allowing

remain in Colombia,” says Dr. Habegger. “The shift has

greater flexibility in academic schedule and choices. This

been quite dramatic, from approximately 23% attending

is how the AP Capstone Programme is designed, to cater

the US eight years ago to 51% this past year. Among

to a broad range of students with an even broader range of

several factors leading to this shift, we believe that our AP

interests, and equip each and every one of them with the

programme and a near doubling of student participation

skills necessary to not only gain admission to their dream

have resulted in our graduates receiving significantly

university, but to thrive once they’re there.

increased scholarship monies. Those totals over the past

four years alone have gone from around $1 million in

“We have seen broadened interest with more students

scholarships and grants to now over $4 million annually.”

captivated by the programme and fully grasping the importance of taking a research/writing course such

As anyone with a university degree reading this can

as AP Capstone prior to entering university,” says Dr.

remember, the university application process is far from

Habegger. “They have also heard from our graduates

user friendly – and inconsistent from country to country.

that AP absolutely helped facilitate their entry into highly

Unspoken quirks and cultural norms involved with the

competitive institutions and prepared them for first-year

application process assume international applicants

university success.”

understand them all. Common measures like AP courses and exams help serve as passports between systems.

Keeping up with Academic Global Mobility In 2017, more than 2.7 million students in 150 countries

“If not for my extraordinary university counselor, I would

took over 4.9 million AP exams. They sent their scores to

not have understood the huge differences between what

more than 4,000 universities in more than 60 countries.

a UK university wants in a personal statement and what

Those are some big numbers.

a US university wants in an application essay,” says Wendorf.

And the numbers are getting bigger – and broader. Trends show that more and more university-bound

Through working with his counselor and sharing his

students are interested in attending universities abroad,

experiences with like-minded students, Wendorf says

and so secondary schools must cater to what international

he was able to confidently navigate the intimidating

universities look for in student applications by providing

international university application process. And from


And once they – or any student - have been admitted to their dream school, there are still just a few more barriers to overcome. “At Oxford, I’ve found English food doesn’t live up to the tacos or brisket I had growing up in Texas, but what does?” quips Wendorf. “That said, everything else has surpassed my expectations: I am challenged, forced to grow and Oxford feels like home.” Dr. Habegger says the AP programme fosters true friendships between teachers and students, and he loves to keep in touch with AP graduates that have gone on to international universities. When recent alumni return for summer vacation, his team invites them in to speak with Grade 11 students about their experiences abroad. “During those conversations, they always mention how valuable their AP courses were in preparing them for university-level courses and the rigorous university study load,” he says. “They also mention how much they miss the relationships they had with their teachers. They look back at their time here at school and realise how much the teachers cared about them not only as students but also as

an admissions perspective, taking AP courses showed

young adults.”

universities that Wendorf could handle rigorous first-year coursework. “Making





The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit


organisation that connects students to university success

admission is not just about getting high grades or

and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the College Board was

marks,” says Andrew Arida, Director of Undergraduate

created to expand access to higher education. Today, the

Admissions at The University of British Columbia in

membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the

Canada. “It’s about demonstrating that you can challenge

world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated

yourself academically. The AP Capstone course shows

to promoting excellence and equity in education.

that you’re learning how to learn, independently defining and pursing your own academic interests.”

Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition

Preparing For The Future

to university through programmes and services in

“Students who complete the AP Capstone programme are

university readiness and university success — including

far better prepared and fully ready to engage in all types

the SAT® and the Advanced Placement Programme®.

of research at the university level,” says Dr. Habegger.

The organisation also serves the education community

“Many first-year university students lack a strong

through research and advocacy on behalf of students,

background in taking rigorous research courses before

educators, and schools.

entering their undergraduate programmes. [Our AP graduates] mentioned their AP Capstone experience as

For further information, visit

one of the most important courses they took in secondary school.”











community is an every day effort when your student body hails from more than 50 countries”, says Mrs. Cate Cooke, the Assistant Principal at St. John’s responsible for student life in grades 6 through 12. “How do we celebrate their cultures within our value system?” she asks. “How do we have conversations without diluting anyone’s beliefs?” The goal is to strike the proper balance. The key to building the community is to keep talking. “We have a St. John’s feel, and it’s really hard to describe,” says Mrs. Cooke, who has been associated with St. John’s for 20 years as a parent, coach, teacher and administrator. “We talk to each other through our three values. That is what defines us.”

“We can’t assume that just saying something once means

Those values are familiar to St. John’s students, teachers,

have to have other ways of helping them to learn and to

the students have understood us,” Mrs. Cooke adds. “We know”

administrators, and parents. But that doesn’t mean that understanding them should be taken for granted, Mrs. Cooke stresses.

Those values extend inextricably into the classrooms

Integrity: the courage to be true to ourselves, to each

followed by the school since 1978.

through the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme

other, and to our world.

“It’s not just a curriculum that we teach and they regurgitate at the end,” Mrs. Cooke stresses. “We

Respect: the appreciation of diversity amongst peoples,

encourage and need students to have conversations with

languages, cultures, and beliefs.

their teachers.”

Companionship: the gentleness to befriend and strength to accompany.

One example is a Theory of Knowledge class for grade 11

“You can’t just expect people to come in to St. John’s and

know what you know?

and 12 students, which asks the question: How do you

appreciate and internalise the values we have,” Mrs.

“Children are expected to have different and divergent

Cooke says. “We have to explicitly talk about and teach them.”

views,” Mrs. Cooke states. “We try to help them

Those lessons start with the teachers, as they are instructed

and violent place if we don’t respect those perspectives.”

understand that the world would be a very dangerous

about the vision, mission and values at St. John’s.

In public speaking and debate courses, for example,

Students in grades six through 12 are exposed to those

students in grades six through 12 learn the techniques

ideas during orientation. Those lessons are followed up

of debating topics.. They can disagree, but they must be

regularly in advisory sessions, expanding into discussions

respectful and learn the other perspective. “It’s OK to

on meaningful services, ethical and responsible decision-

challenge, to challenge assumptions and to be critical of

making, social awareness, self-management, personal

the information they find,” she says. “Our teachers expect

and social well-being and healthy relationships.

students to challenge and to ask if there is another way to do things.”


Students are encouraged to have those conversations with each other, inside and outside the classroom. She recounted a cultural misunderstanding between two students which was resolved by having the students get together to discuss their perspectives. “They both left with a better understanding of each other,” Mrs. Cooke recalls. “Sometimes it’s just sitting down to try and understand each other’s values and perceptions.” Celebrating diversity can be as straightforward as St. John’s annual International Festival celebration. The parade of students and parents, the booths featuring different foods and cultures are fantastic ways to display the diversity that is St. John’s. “It’s such a wonderful day,” she says. “Literally, you walk around the gym and you are walking around the world.” But that isn’t enough to create the community that St. John’s seeks to build with and for its students. That spirit needs to be carried throughout each day, each classroom. The effort is fed through teachers and administrators reading






information, opening up to new ideas and bringing them into the classrooms and their daily interactions with students – and their parents. “We need to be always challenging ourselves and looking to be better,” Mrs. Cooke notes, including herself. “I am confident we are doing things well, but I need to be open to doing a better job. That means encouraging feedback, a lot of feedback.”

St. John’s International School is an IB international school located in Waterloo, Belgium, and a member of the Inspired Education Group.


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LIFE AS A YOUNG MUSLIM GIRL Interview with Nour Makhlof By Suzanne O´Reilly Copenhagen International School



our is new to CIS and delighted to be in an

We are all different in our own ways whether it’s our

environment which is open-minded to all races

religion, colour, intelligence or beauty, which is amazing.

and religions. Nour happily shares her story

But those differences should not make a difference in how

with us here.

we see others because in the end we are all humans who deserve to be treated equally, so let’s make that happen!

Can you describe your life as a young Muslim girl in 2018?

I have always been interested in religion, like learning about other religions while also sharing some things

Being a Muslim, in general, is a big responsibility since

about mine. At my old school we didn’t talk much about

you have to represent your religion in a good way because

religions; although it did come up a few times in class,

these days there are lots of people who are racist or don’t

some people were afraid, or not confident enough, to

accept Muslims. But being in an international school

talk about their religions; they said it makes them feel

makes it somehow easier because of all the other students

uncomfortable, so we didn’t dig deep into that topic.

who also have different religions, beliefs, cultures, and

While here in CIS I realised that students are more open

traditions. In this school, you are freer to be yourself and

and speak freely about their religion, culture, traditions,

people accept you very easily for who you are and don’t

and family, which is great.

judge you by your religion, which is amazing considering there are lots of other schools which make it hard to show

I also love knowing more about other religions since

who you are and your religion because you could be afraid

religion is a huge part of our life now (even if you don’t

that people won’t accept you or welcome you.

have a religion or do not believe in anything, it’s still something big in your life). I think it’s important to at

Wearing the hijab to me means to represent my religion

least have a basic knowledge about different religions so

without being afraid of others and it lets people know that

that it’s easier to understand people and also to make sure

I am Muslim and that I am proud of it. To other people,

not to offend them in any way. When I saw the hallway

it might have a different meaning such as covering your

display I was so happy to know that students in CIS had

beauty because the hijab protects you, and makes people

the opportunity to study about religions. I loved all of the

respect you more since you are covering your hair, which

pieces displayed.

makes up a big part of beauty, and people will start to look at your personality rather than your looks as these days

Being a Muslim isn’t just what you wear but also what you

people think too much about body image and how others

eat; there are two strictly forbidden things that are called

see them.

Haraam, which means forbidden in Arabic, that Muslims should avoid eating or drinking: pork and alcohol. Pork

The Quran is an Islamic book that teaches us about

is mainly forbidden because we believe that pigs are not

Islam and how to behave, it also tells the stories of the

clean animals, and Allah forbade us from eating it, alcohol

prophets. And yes the Quran also talks about Jesus, as

is mainly forbidden because when you drink you can

well as Moses, since we believe in the same God as the

get out of control and drunk, so while being drunk you

Christians and Jews, the only difference is that the Quran

might do more Haraam things. The way you act is also a

has exactly the same text and words ever since it was

huge part of being a Muslim, like in many religions lying,

written and not a single word has been changed; the Bible

stealing, swearing and so on are forbidden and they are

and the Torah’s text and writings have been changed over

important part of the religion too.

time by humankind, we believe the reason why the Quran was actually written was because the earlier texts and

I love being recognised as a Muslim and that is mainly

writings have been changed and Allah (God) sent the last

because I love my religion and Islam is actually a very

text-writing down and said it should not ever be changed

nice, peaceful religion, but there are people out there who

since it’s perfect the way it is.

are representing it in a bad way so I always like to show that Islam is good and make sure people recognise that I am a Muslim.







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HONOURING STUDENT VOICE Lorraine Kellum Teacher of EAL & MUN Franconian International School



n a sunny, Wednesday afternoon, a Grade 9 student named Sonia* stood before one international school’s entire teaching staff to

speak about the dangers of gender blindness in schools. “A

friend of mine doesn’t quite know if she’s male or female or not, and her switching back and forth is actually angering her classmates. They say that she needs to make a decision. And blatantly call her by pronouns she doesn’t want to be called. This is an example,” proclaimed Sonia, “of why we need to learn about non-binary gender…I hope that we can continue to make school a safe place for everyone.”

Gender Today Although UNESCO’s call for an Education for All aimed to ensure that for every child, “respect for identity, integrity and participation rights, and freedom from all forms of violence” is realised, the language, textbook and story content, testing tools, seating, roles, and the general organisation of and within our classrooms continue to reflect some gender-based bias. In a majority of schools today, most books feature

vs. girls” teams or sit our students in “girl-boy-girl-boy”

heroes, geniuses, leaders, and lead characters who are

order, reinforcing ideas of functional difference and

male. Similarly, while research has clearly shown that

competition among ourselves.

our use of the seemingly generic male pronoun “he” or suffix “man” will most often be interpreted to refer to a

Following our school years, these unconscious school

male individual, many ideas and stories presented in

choices translate into real disparate outcomes. According

schools are still expressed using these terms.

to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index, as of 2016, Western Europe and North America

Research also asserts that homophobic bullying, a

continue to experience a gender disparity of at least 25

form of exclusion and gender-based discrimination,

percent. Only five countries out of 144 surveyed have been

in schools is not only rampant, but poses a real threat

able to close their remaining gender gaps by 80 percent

today. Stonewall has found that although LGBT based

or more since 2006: Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden,

bullying and homophobic language has decreased across

and Rwanda.

the UK since 2012, two in five transgender identifying youth have attempted suicide. UNESCO cites that the

While those countries have managed to improve

threat to LGBTQ indentifying young people is sure to be


felt by not just the victims alone, but that the perpetrators,


bystanders, and our learning institutions as a whole are





participation, survival,




empowerment for the most part, nations such as

sure to be impacted.

Germany, the UK, and the US have slipped behind in gender disparity rankings by 8, 11, and 22 places,

And we as teachers are usually completely unaware of our

respectively. Gender stereotyping in schools undermines

own implicit bias and actions. Studies have shown that

learning and opportunity for everyone.

boys today continue to receive the most attention from their teachers in school, irrespective if that attention is positive or negative. Many of us still construct “boys


as they hold so much gravity and form the backbone of who we are as humans and how we view and treat others,” said one Grade 11 student. One teacher also noted, “Students were very engaged and learned a lot! It was amazing how topics were prepared and carried out and discussed by students.” Students had spent the day leading topics around transgender and non-binary gender visibility, men’s place in the abortion debate, their experiences connecting with adolescent girls in Kenya, women in politics, genderrelated suicide, women’s labor in sweatshops, sexual harassment, and so much more. What students had engaged in here was clearly service as action: they had identified the problems they wanted to tackle, conducted the research, volunteered a platform, and had helped one another to grow personally and civically. But what about the impact of these student service activities on the teachers? In the moments leading up to and following the event, school leaders and staff finally felt somewhat prepared






around gender. Prior to that, talk of “gender” beyond

A Conference-Style Event

departmental or friendship lines was virtually non-

A professional development (PD) opportunity, Sonia’s

existent at the school.

speech was the first follow-up to one school’s response

As the gender forum team

discovered, teacher readiness to engage in a critical topic

to society’s current state of affairs. The Franconian

like gender could have been the direct result of student

International School (the FIS) offered to hold its first-

voice throughout the conference event.

ever Gender in the 21st Century Conference which aimed to mobilise teachers, students, and school leaders around

Next Steps…

questions of gender.

For years now, international organisations like the United Nations have been reminding us that every child has

Despite the potential hurdles, the FIS teachers and

a right to a rich educational experience. But if we truly

students dived right in. The school kicked off its first

hope to eliminate the negative impacts of exclusion and

largely student-led conference-style event. Just under

stereotyping as they relate to the right of every child to

half of the conference facilitators were students grades

fully access the curriculum, we might have to commit to

seven through twelve, and in the end, the event proved to

enlisting the help of the very community we serve: our

be an important service learning opportunity that would


offer students the platform to professionally present their work as well as would continue to normalise their own

When teachers were asked what they found particularly

engagement within their school community.

engaging about the conference follow-up PD led by Sonia, forty-four percent stated that her speech made all

Service as Action

of the difference. 65 percent of respondents stated that

The school feedback data revealed an overwhelmingly

the opportunity helped them to further consider their

positive response to the conference event. “I feel that this

actions around gender in the classroom, and 50 percent of

was a really positive event. I felt very empowered at the

responses revealed a clear need for more and more open

end, as I feel that these issues are simply not addressed


within school or the workplace, yet they are so important


At the heart of international mindedness in schools is our


bringing of student experience to the fore. While gender mainstreaming, the inclusion and normalising of gender

American Psychological Association. (1991). Avoiding

and sexual minority identities throughout all areas of

heterosexual bias in language (Vol. 46). Burlington, VT:

social life can be done through staff trainings, equity-

University of Vermont.

based policy changes, and community service activities, the FIS experience of working directly with their student

Ang, M., & Kellum, L. (2018, January 19). 1st “gender

body brought to light the undeniable need for ongoing

in the 21st century conference” at the FIS. Retrieved

learner voice and action when working to create a better


and more peaceful world.


*names have been changed to respect individuals’

Atthill, C., & Jha, J. (2009). The gender-responsive


school: An action guide. London: Commonwealth Secretariat.

About the Author

Barnes, E., & Carlile, A. (2018). How to transform your school into an LGBT+ friendly place: A practical guide for nursery, primary, and secondary teachers. London & Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. IGLYO. (2015). Teacher’s guide to inclusive education. Retrieved from uploads/2012/04/IGLYO-Teachers-Guide-to-InclusiveEducation2.pdf

Lorraine Kellum currently works as a teacher at the Franconian International School in Germany. She is

Stonewall. (2017). School report: The experiences of

dedicated to enhancing deep thinking and social inclusion

lesbian, gay, bi and trans young people in Britain’s

in schools with the use of social-emotional learning

schools in 2017. Retrieved from https://www.stonewall.

tools and frameworks. Thanks to her third-culture kid

background and her expertise in language acquisition and identity, Lorraine is uniquely suited to respond to the

Streitmatter, J. (1994). Toward gender equity in the

needs of a flourishing multicultural expat community and

classroom: everyday teachers’ beliefs and practices.

their children and families. She currently teaches English

Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

as an additional language (EAL), Global Perspectives, and MUN to K-12 learners throughout the school.

UNESCO International Bureau of Education (IBE). (2015). A guide for gender equality in teacher education policy and practices. Paris, IBE. Retrieved from http:// UNESCO. (2012). Education sector responses to homophobic bullying, booklet 8. Retrieved from http:// World Economic Forum. (2016). Global gender gap report: Rankings. Retrieved from http://reports.




ne evening after dinner, my husband started talking about his company’s journey towards becoming agile and their implementation of scrum in the workplace.

His explanation of creating a flexible, self-organising company where teams collaborated and innovated together made a lot of sense. However, I couldn’t help wonder if I as an educator was successfully preparing my students for this ‘modern’ world that my husband was talking about, about open working spaces, about taking initiative, about consistently reviewing and improving, about programming, about effective communication. I reflected on my teaching practices in the classroom as well as my effectiveness as a school leader to properly prepare my students for the future. What I concluded was that our school needed to do better in providing students with 21st century skills and competencies that they could apply to any job or situation that their future would bring them.


Student Self Reflection of Their Skills- Photo Courtesy of Daniel Wood

The problem for me was- what does 21st century learning

the list goes on and on. The modern workplace is adapting

even look like? For at least the past two decades in

at a rapid pace; jobs such as cloud engineers, app

education, there have been a lot of buzz words flying

developers, social media managers, content moderators

around- coding, AR, 1:1 devices, game-based learning,

and data scientists didn’t even exist 15 years ago (Moore,

virtual classrooms, OER, MOOCS, higher-order thinking,

2017). Yet, most schools are still utilising teaching

individualised, collaborative, differentiated instruction-

practices that were established hundreds of years ago and still worse, teachers are just now undergoing training that reflects the ‘new’ style of teaching. (Darling-Hammond, 2007) (eduScrum, 2012) It will take a while for the shift to start, but the problem is, we don’t have time to waste. I kept going back to that conversation on agility; on that iterative process towards making a product with the understanding that learning is an iterative journey as well. The more I dug into the topic, the more I liked what I saw. Then I came across eduScrum, a framework for adopting agile and scrum concepts in school. It is collaborative as well as iterative and engaging. Best of all it reflects the modern working world. I showed it to my colleague, Daniel Wood and we were sold; we were convinced that this methodology could be a start to introducing 21st century learning in the classroom. We decided to incorporate agile and scrum methods into our 5th grade classroom’s Project Based Learning this autumn. This was the first time we have ever attempted something like this in our school but we were looking

Students Working Agilely: Updating their Scrum Board- Picture Courtesy of Daniel Wood

forward to being the pioneers.


Another important question was knowing what skills


and competencies to look for when embarking on new teaching and learning methods. This is where the

Darling-Hammond, L. a. (2007). Preparing Teachers for

European Commission on Education and Training came

a Changing World: What Teachers Should Learn and

into play. Using their competencies and skills (European

Be Able to Do. New Jersey: Jossey-Bass.

Commission on Education and Training, 2018) as a benchmark allowed for consistency and a base from

eduScrum. (2012). Von eduScrum:

which our school could provide high quality teaching and abgerufen

learning. Students’ skills were reflected upon and tested along the way, both by the learners themselves as well as

European Commission on Education and Training. (17.

the teaching team. In a seemingly short amount of time,

January 2018). European Commission on Education

Dan had turned his classroom into what he called ‘scrum

and Training:

ninjas’- students who worked together, were self-reflective


and kept their eyes on the wider goal. The classroom

lifelong-learning.pdf abgerufen

became collaborative and iterative, with each phase of the project being iterative and self-driven. Instead of that

Moore, E. (23. Oktobber 2017). Glassdoor: https://www.

traditional teacher who stands and lectures in the front,

Dan became the coach, the one who stands on the side


line and pushes his team towards the goal.

About the author

I had the opportunity to complete my Scrum Master training a few months ago and much of what I saw in Dan’s classroom in regards to the teaching as well as the learning (and the students’ self-driven learning and reflection for that matter) echoed a lot on what I experienced in my own training. It was at that point where I as a school leader became satisfied that we were on the right track in regards to 21st century learning. Satisfied that we were giving our students the skills and experiences they need to ‘survive’ in a modern world. Even though my school is on the right

Anne Fischer is the Assistant Principal and Curriculum

track, we are in no way yet finished. Implementing 21st

Coordinator at Phorms Berlin Süd in Germany. She has

century skills in primary school can be such a challenge,

an MSc from the London School of Economics and a BA

especially when students are just starting out on their

from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. She

academic journeys. But it is never too early to provide

has over a decade of experience working in international

students with the type of learning and skills they need for

and multilingual school environments.

the future. During the first term, we only had one grade

focus has been on Project Based Learning integration,

level implementing agile concepts, doing cross-curricular

balanced literacy in bilingual environments, supporting

projects and organising self-driven teams. The success

multilingual dyslexic students and integrating agile

of the project was a great way for other grade levels to

learning concepts into the school classroom. Her current

conceptualise how they can implement more 21st century

focus is on curriculum alignment and integration as

learning concepts into their classroom. So far, there has

well as professional development support for individual

been feedback from two other year groups expressing

schools and school communities. Originally from the

interest and I am looking forward to embarking on a

United States, she resides in Berlin with her husband and

project in the new term with them.

three children.


Her career


Lynda Thompson Deputy Head (Pastoral) Greengates School, Mexico Francesco Banchini Educator, composer & performer



ur schools have a responsibility to prepare our young people for their futures. However, in a rapidly changing climate, in terms of technology

and social change, this is becoming increasingly challenging. Educationally our response has been to focus on the acquisition of skills which can be applied in a range of contexts, and one such way to concentrate this focus is through inter-disciplinary learning. The International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP) highlights this importance of applying learning through different subject disciplines. ‘Interdisciplinary instruction





(aesthetic, social, analytical) and prepares them to solve

When exploring the Ancient Greeks, students made their

problems, create products or ask questions in ways that

own mono-chord instruments and used these to explore

go beyond single disciplinary perspectives’ (IBO, 2010).

how the frequencies change as the length of the string is altered. Although these were somewhat crude and results varied, there was great excitement to discover that as the length of the chord is halved, the frequency doubles. This doubling continues as an exponential function. Students were able to explore how the Greeks used different musical modes for different social purposes, and how these were associated with different emotions. We examined the relationship between the frequencies of notes which ‘sound good together’ (consonance) and those which do not (dissonance). Exploring the frequencies and wavelengths of notes was differentiated as we used lowest common multiples, as well as the transformation of sine

This inter-disciplinary unit (IDU) was born from a

graphs. Students discovered that for the C and G notes,

genuine desire to understand if there is a ‘reason’

for every 2 complete cycles for C, G completes 3, and thus

behind our reaction to music and if mathematics can

their wavelengths ‘meet’ frequently. These notes sound

prove useful in explaining that reason. As music and

consonant. In contrast C and F#, do not experience any

mathematics teachers, we sought to work with our

such synchronicity, and sound dissonant to our ears. The

students to understand why certain music makes us sad,

unit culminated in the students exploring a piece of music

while other music makes us want to party. Within our

and finding mathematical reasoning for our emotional

own backgrounds also existed the social anthropological

reaction to it.

interest to explore how different cultures have created music which provokes different emotional reactions.

As educators we have learnt both pragmatically and

We built an MYP IDU centred upon exploring to what

philosophically from this experience. On a pragmatic

extent our emotions can be described as mathematical.

level, we have had to invest significant amounts of time

This focused on pattern and repetition, used in a variety of

into the planning and preparation of this IDU. We spent

ways in both disciplines. Our aim as educators was to give

lesson time from both subjects and were able to team

the students an experience of using their understanding

teach many of these sessions. This gave the students a

and skills from two very different subject areas in a truly

very clear example of subject specialist teachers working

integrated and purposeful manner, drawing upon the

collaboratively to reach a common goal, using subject

heritage, both in terms of mathematics and music, of

knowledge from another discipline.

different cultures.


On a more philosophical level, students learnt an

thus gave responsibility and ownership to them. It also

important lesson in how skills and knowledge from

involved time and energy commitment from ourselves,

different subject disciplines can be used meaningfully

but has left us thirsty to explore the link between music



and maths more fully. In the words of Guns and Roses (in

traditions, we felt that students were able to connect their





the Greek Mixolydian form), ‘Where do we go, where do

understanding and experience to ancient civilisations. Our

we go now, where do we go ….. ’?

use of the Mayan, Greek and Arabic cultures ignited their


interest of these cultures and some students investigated different aspects of these civilisations. Throughout the unit, we frequently used examples of current songs to

Guns N’ Roses,1988. Sweet Child o’ Mine. In: Appetite for

illustrate different techniques and different modes.

destruction [Format CD]. Record label Geffen.

Students really enjoyed discovering that Lorde, Maroon 5, The Beatles and The Ramones all make use of different

IBO, 2010. Middle Years Programme MYP guide to

modes coming from the Greek and Arabic traditions.

interdisciplinary teaching and learning, IBO.

For example in the Greek Mixolydian mode we can find songs by Guns and Roses, Madonna, The Rolling Stones,

About the authors

Gorillaz, Coldplay, and Radiohead. We questioned whether this was a conscious decision. In terms of accomplishing the aims of inter-disciplinary learning, our students certainly used skills in transferable ways. They learnt how bringing together aspects of two different subject disciplines to one task, could deepen their understanding and ability to connect with and produce an outcome. As music forms a meaningful aspect







of all our students’ lives, through the modern music

educator, researcher, composer and performer, having

they share and listen to, students were automatically

implemented many innovations in international schools.

intrigued and interested to find a ‘reason’ as to why their

He has published many CDs, a book on historical musical

emotions respond as they do, why they like the music they

notation, and movie soundtracks. He plays freelance with

like? Given the absolute nature of mathematics, there

the Qatar and BBC Philharmonic Orchestras and holds

was a great attraction to use such an ‘objective’ tool to

an MA in Educational Leadership and Management

answer such a ‘subjective’ emotional reaction. One of the

(University of Bath) and a Certificate in Advanced

discussions which will stay with us was a discussion about

Educational Leadership (Harvard University).

how much our culture ‘trained’ our ears to find certain sounds consonant. We considered whether members of an isolated tribe, who only ever heard natural forest sounds and used their own musical instruments, would also have the same ideas about which notes sound consonant and dissonant. This led us to question if the very nature of consonance and dissonance is culturally specific. What are the implications of us living in a globally connected

Lynda Thompson is the Deputy Head (Pastoral) at

world where music is shared in every corner of the world

Greengates School in Mexico, having previously held

and certain music is ‘accepted’?

posts as DP Coordinator and Head of Mathematics. She has worked in both UK and international schools and

We feel that the process of developing and exploring an

recently completed her MA in International Education at

IDU between music and maths originated in a genuine

the University of Bath.

interest of our own, was meaningful for the students, and


SCHOOL Snapshot


We aim to enrich the educational landscape with a high-quality English-German Immersion school. Working together with local authorities, local and international educational institutions and companies, we designed our establishments to reflect the needs of learners in the modern world.

OUR SCHOOL IN JUST FOUR WORDS Local school, global education.









A REALLY PROUD MOMENT FOR US Re-vamping our curriculum to be innovative and in line with 21st century learning concepts and skills. We are moving towards Project Based education and just launched our first public product in October.







IT’S WHAT MAKES OUR SCHOOL DIFFERENT The variety! Students are exposed to an array of pedagogical and practical activities including learning music from a world renown opera singer, finding adventure in Berlin’s rich history, attending wilderness adventures, skiing in the Austrian Alps and conducting science fair experiments with the support of accomplished scientists. Our highly collaborative international educators help mentor for jobshadowing programmes and provide contemporary ideas for team teaching.

WE’RE REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS As our school openend in 2008, we are looking forward to celebrating as our very first Phorms students (those who entered 1st grade in 2008) graduate in 2020. We are really excited for their future and are eager to see where it will take them.


Interested in featuring your school? Contact


Susan Min The Franconian International School


ervice as Action is an important and critical

When initiatives come from students it demonstrates

focus for schools implementing the IB MYP

that, “...when they care about the subject matter and

Programme as it directly connects to many school

have authenticated a need, students discover intrinsic

mission and vision statements. This element of the MYP

motivation,� (Kaye, 2013). Through Service as Action, as

aims to aid students in developing as global citizens

well as various other service learning programmes,

through thoughtful engagement in both local and global

students are able to make contributions to the world

communities (MYP, 2014).

around them. They create connections to issues that matter to them and thus are able to transfer skills learned

While Service as Action can take a variety of forms; such

throughout their lives to real experiences. When going

as being driven by the curriculum as a unit of inquiry,

through the Stages of Service Learning, students are able to

or a teacher led project that involves an entire class.

discover and investigate a need on a deeper level, develop

However, from a personal point of view, Service as Action

organisational and research skills through preparation,

manifesting itself through student driven initiative is a

build perspective through action, and reflection allows

true representation of the goals of international schools

for connection, an increase in self-awareness, as well

around the world, as well as student development towards

as developing plans for the future (Kaye, 2012). The

becoming civically engaged, global citizens.

creation of an extracurricular club, The Little Feminists, at the Franconian International School (FIS) is Service as Action at one of its finest points.


During the 2016-2017 school year Grade 6 Social Studies (pre MYP programme adoption) course at the FIS, we spent a portion of time at the end of the second semester investigating the social impacts of the Industrial Revolution in Britain. Small groups of students chose what social issue they wished to investigate in more depth to ultimately create a learning station for their peers. One group, consisting of four girls, chose to investigate the Women’s Suffrage




research process, these students developed thoughtful




their work in research journals and openly discussed their findings with me on a regular basis. It was through these conversations that they began to question current society and if the impact of Women’s Suffrage truly changed anything for women in the modern world. Once the class created and shared their learning





investigation they undertook, this group of girls came to me after class. They decided that they wanted to create a club for students to discuss feminism and gender inequality. They asked if I

In the following school year, The Little Feminists

would be their advisor. I was more than happy to comply.

continued to grow, involving up to 14 Middle School

Thus, The Little Feminists was born.

students, including both genders. The focus of the club became not only about raising awareness of feminism and

These students then articulated what the goals of their

other gender issues, but to also have monthly discussion

new club would be: to have more open discussions

groups during lunch, open to all students, to discuss

at school about feminism, raise awareness of issues

student chosen topics such as stereotypes and bullying.

facing women and girls, and to help their local or global

The Little Feminists also decided to connect with an NGO

community. During their first meeting the girls wrote an

located in Nairobi, Kenya named IECE and worked to

action plan for their first few projects as well as decided they wanted to bring more students into the club.

make connections with girls in the education section of

Slowly, over the next few weeks, the club grew from four

with a group of students from IECE, sharing letters and

their programme. The Little Feminists became pen-pals videos in order for each group to understand each other’s

to seven students (all female at this point). They began

worlds better. They also worked to help raise money for

speaking during Middle School assemblies about their

IECE’s scholarship fund for education. A final action the

goals and initiatives as well as created booths at school

club took part in was the school wide Gender Conference

sponsored events in order to spread the word and raise

in which they presented their continuing project with

awareness. These actions and events are evidence of their

IECE to their student and teacher community and

curiosity, engagement, and various other aspects of the

discussed why this type of interaction--a means to learn

IB Learner Profile. These students were also engaging

and understand people different from ourselves-- is

with global issues in a real and localized way, making this

needed between young adults around the globe.

endeavor an authentic and student led experience.


The club is now in its third year at the FIS and is going


strong. The group’s participation rate is consistently around 12 students (approximately 15% of the Middle

Billig, S. H. (2002). Support for k-12 service learning

School population) and meets weekly. This year’s goals

practice: A brief review of the research. Educational

focus on continuing to develop the monthly discussion

Horizons, 80(4), 184-189.

groups as well as prepare a session at our school’s Culture Conference 2019.

Furco, A., & Root, S. (2010). Research demonstrates the value of service learning. The Phi Delta Kappan

The Little Feminists encourages the school community

International, 91(5), 16-20.

to engage with current affairs and to continually develop as global citizens.

Students actively participating are

Kaye, C. B. (2012, January). Why service matters.

using their planning, action, and reflection skills in a

Retrieved from

progressive and continuous basis. As one Grade 8 student


recently observed during a club meeting, “Look what


we’ve built. Our club has grown and is doing things. I’m so proud!” This statement demonstrates many of the

Kaye, C. B. (2013, June). The five stages of service

goals, not only of the MYP, but of progressive education:

learning. Retrieved from http://www.cbkassociates.

students taking initiative to develop service learning


projects that are authentic, engaging, and tackling the


issues students care about. These student led initiatives are successfully using the inquiry process to develop

International Baccalaureate Organisation (UK) Ltd.

projects in school communities in organic and localised

(2014). MYP: From principles to practice. United

ways thus demonstrating the interest, need, and meaning


behind Service as Action programmes. Programmes that are tied with strong teaching and curriculum continually strive to meet the missions and visions of international schools to encourage civically engaged, global citizens.

About the author

Susan Min is the Service as Action Coordinator and an MYP Individuals & Societies teacher. She has an interest in progressive and inquiry based education as well as using Service Learning as a means to explore these pedagogies. She also enjoys working with the Model United Nations club to help students continue to investigate global issues as well as develop research and communication skills. Her next project is to continue to develop her tech skills through the Apple Educator programme.



Jeremy House Head of Marketing, Strategy and Admissions St. Gilgen International School | Austria


n the next nine hundred and eighty words, I seek to traverse identity formation and value dimensions of culture to arrive safely at a challenge for the

So what makes a school community different from

future of school based community building. Though this

any other collection of persons who share a geographic

will necessitate intentional brevity and result in some

whereabouts or particular commonality?

incomplete arguments and open propositions, I hope it might catalyse our quiet and ongoing contemplation

It is that our commonality is such an incredibly privileged

around community building.

one, we work with young people in their most importantly formative years. Not formative in the sense that schools

The Oxford dictionary defines community as ‘a group

‘form’ something from nothing, or prepare students to be

of people living in the same place or having a particular

‘productive’ members of a society; rather, formative in

characteristic in common’. Based on these criteria,

the sense that the major developmental task of this stage

schools easily qualify.

of the lifespan is the construction of identity.

However, in considering a ‘school community’ one cannot

There is no more important task or understanding in

help but feel a little unsatisfied with this definition as it

education than this. We support young people as they

lacks a certain transcendental resonance, emphasis or

determine who they are, what they stand for, how they


want to be in the world, and by consequence… the future.


Those responsible for this task must have ways and means of dynamically assessing this community feel. For this task one could draw upon Hofstede’s value dimensions. Hofstede proposed six dimensions originally intended to look at national cultures, yet they can be applied equally well to understanding the cultural norms of a community or organisation such as an international school. These are (i) individualism, (ii) power distance, (iii) masculinity/ femininity, (iv) uncertainty avoidance, (v) indulgence/ restraint, and, (vi) long/short term orientation. As a brief introduction to the field of study, one can reason with a moderate confidence that: (i) Individualism’s positive associations with freedom

Identity drives behavior, behavior drives performance.

and autonomy lead it to be beneficial for happiness and

This cannot be overstated when working with young

life satisfaction (perhaps with a collective safety net to

people and it is what makes school communities so vitally

guard against social isolation and loneliness). It is also


intuitive that more individually oriented communities are supportive of moratorium/experiential identity phases.

Identity theorists have identified four (sometimes more) stages of identity development which correlate

(ii) High power distance communities legitimise social

significantly to indicators of student wellbeing and

inequality and often lead to emotion characterised by

attainment. These are diffusion (the student is not

anger in community members, whereas lower power

actively experimenting with identity or significantly

distance communities encourage collaborative role

aware of identity construction), moratorium (the student

modeling through accessibility to school leaders. The

is actively experimenting with one or more identity

latter seems more conducive of identity exploration/

constructs), active achievement (the student has a


strong sense of their identity which has developed and consolidated through experimentation) and foreclosure

(iii) Extremely masculine cultures are associated with

(the student has a strong adopted sense of identity which

more frequent negative emptions, and lower social

has resulted without deep experimentation).

support due to increased competitiveness and aggression. However slightly masculine communities have typically

A very general summary of these categorisations sees

had positive effects on both happiness and life satisfaction.

active achievement and moratorium as most significantly related to positive student wellbeing and development.

(iv) Low uncertainty avoidance cultures encourage

Foreclosure is also positively associated with subjective

greater risk taking from community members, whereas

wellbeing, yet is less stable over time, whereas diffusion is

high uncertainty avoidance can lead to tighter social rules,

associated with poorer outcomes for students.

social control, greater anxiety and negative emotion. Low uncertainty avoidance cultures are likely support

Bearing this in mind, we can now begin to consider the type

identity exploration, where as high uncertainty avoidance

of community which may support identity development.

might lead to greater diffusion (non-experimentation) or

When we consider community in its most holistic sense

foreclosure (uncritical identity adoption).

(as encompassing of its deeper connotations), the task of the school leader may be analogised as that of the tribal

(v) Restraint verses indulgence is another worth deeper

elder. They are custodians of the values which shape the

contemplation as indulgence correlates positively with

interactions we call education and of the requirements for

life satisfaction and wellbeing. A school agenda of placing

participation in the common network we call community.


importance on reflexivity, being spontaneous and fun


makes sense in this regard. Jun, K-H. (2015). Re-exploration of subjective wellbeing (vi) Long term orientation presents an interesting

determinates: Full model approach with extended

conundrum for school leaders as the research outcomes

cross-contextual analysis. International Journal of

are counter intuitive. That is, long term orientation is

Wellbeing, 5(4), 17-59

generally negatively related with happiness and life satisfaction. This suggests that emphasising the short

Klimstra, T. Luyckx, K. Germeijs, V. Meeus, W.

term outcomes (such as a reflection on an identity

& Goossens, L. (2012). Traits and educational

exploration) equally or even greater than the longer term

identity formation in late adolescents: Longitudinal

outcomes (such as getting into a University) may be felt

associations and academic progress. Journal of Youth

positively by students.

and Adolescence, 41, 346-361

To come full circle, I have argued that communities

Mick, C. (2011). Introduction: Discourse and identity

must be understood in ways which support students’

in education. European Educational Research Journal,

wellbeing, and the positive and secure formation of

10(4), 467-470

identity. I introduced Hofstead’s value dimensions as a lens for considering this and implore readers to question:


How does your community look through this lens? What

management: Effects on (of) identification, attitudes,

structures, written/unwritten and habitualised ways of

behavior and well-being. Frontiers in Psychology, 1-4






doing and being contribute to these community norms? And, in which ways can each be treated to support the

Langer-Osuna, J. & Nasir, N. (2016). Rehumanising

positive identity construction of our learners?

the’ other’: Race, culture, and identity in education research. Review of Research in Education, 40, 723-743

The best school communities have shared answers to these questions that have been designed and reinforced

Côté, J. (2005). Identity capital, social capital and

collaboratively and thoughtfully to maximise community

the wider benefits of learning: generating resources

value. The challenge for educational leaders now and in

facilitative of social cohesion. London Review of

the future lies in being sufficiently attuned to developing

Education, 3(3), 221-237

communities, through which… young people can be the best young people possible.

Meeus, W. (1996). Studies on identity development in adolescence: An overview of research and some new

About the author

data. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 25(5), 596-598

Jeremy is the Head of Marketing, Strategy and Admissions at St Gilgen International School, Austria. Currently studying a DEd (Positive Education) at UCL, he is committed to pushing Education toward its fullest potential by promulgating a research driven, positive, international education.



Karen Taylor, Director of Education Ecolint - International School of Geneva


n 2017, the International School of Geneva’s Institute of Learning and Teaching, in partnership with several

• learning is social and relational, not just in terms of

outside organisations, launched a series of initiatives

the relationship between student and teacher but in

whose ultimate purpose is to develop a space for dialogue

relation to the learning environment and the extent to

among researchers and classroom practitioners and

which it promotes discussion, collaboration and debate;

to create mechanisms to support research action in

• learning takes place best when it involves reflection,

international schools. In short, to promote Research

self-assessment and metacognitive awareness;

Informed Practice in Education (RIPE).

• motivation, readiness, and emotion all play a role in

Educators increasingly seek to base classroom practice on

• learning is enhanced when organised around essential

learning; a wide range of current research in education, cognitive

ideas and concepts of the disciplines;

psychology and neurobiology, all of which contribute

• learning takes place best in context;

to deeper understanding of how human beings acquire

• deep learning occurs when students can apply learning

and retain knowledge to make meaning of their world.

to new situations.

To recognise the complexity of learning and to develop one’s practice in response to it is no simple task. There is

All educators seek to ensure that each student reaches

a broad range of literature that seeks to define learning.

his or her learning potential, a particularly challenging

However, there appears to be general agreement on

undertaking given the wide range of abilities and linguistic

certain essential elements:

and cultural backgrounds that we find in our classrooms.


If we are to meet the needs of learners and respond to


the nature of learning itself, then research in education and other related disciplines should inform pedagogical

Collins, A., Brown, J. S. & Holum, A. (1991). Cognitive

practice. Yet the reverse is equally true; the wisdom and

apprenticeship: Making thinking visible. American

experience of practitioners should shape the work of

Educator, 15 (3), 6-11, 38-39.

researchers. Collins, Brown & Holum (1991) argued that “cognitive

About the author

strategies are central to integrating skills and knowledge in order to accomplish meaningful tasks. They are the organising principles of expertise.” The aim of RIPE is to bring university researchers and classroom practitioners together in a space that will allow us to build on this notion of making our thinking and learning visible as we engage in a shared experience of “cognitive apprenticeship.” Most important, the aim is to work together and to draw from our collective wisdom to create the best possible

Karen Taylor is Director of Education and of the Institute

conditions for student learning.

of Learning and Teaching at the International School of Geneva. Prior to moving to Switzerland in 2008, Dr.

In collaboration with Durham University, the University

Taylor taught at the Sidwell Friends School in Washington,

of Geneva, Evidence Based Education, Wellington

DC and in the Liberal Studies Degree programme at

University China and the Association of Genevan Private

Georgetown University where she earned her PhD in

Schools, The International School of Geneva’s Institute

history in 2000. Dr. Taylor’s research interests focus on

of Learning and Teaching has developed a four-day

the links between eighteenth-century French pedagogical

summer institute to develop research action projects in

writings and Enlightenment epistemology, International

international schools.

Mindedness and Plurilingual Education.

1. Participants will be asked to bring with them the burning question at their school. 2. Over the course of 4 days, we will help participants make connections in order to develop the appropriate research action project that will allow them to address their question. 3. During the 2019-2020 academic year, we will provide access to an online forum for discussion and support. 4. Particularly innovative results will be published in a peer-reviewed research journal housed at the University of Geneva. The programme will include guest speakers, sessions on research methods (in French and in English), workshops on developing research action projects, in addition to time for community building, reflection, consultation












37 36 13 12 8 7 54 4 3 aysia























Robert Barnett IB Maths Studies & Theory of Knowledge Leysin American School | Switzerland

“Would your students work hard in your class if they weren’t graded?”

But is this really how we want to motivate our students? I teach maths because I believe deeply that mathematics


offers humankind a powerful and beautiful way to

maths class designed explicitly for students “whose main

students learning them, and stressing over them, just for

interests lie outside the field of mathematics.” I teach

the sake of their GPAs?

t’s a question I ask myself often -- although, if I’m

understand the world. The skills and techniques I teach

honest, I probably don’t want to know the answer.

have been developed over centuries in order to make our

I’m a high-school maths teacher, and I teach an IB

lives easier, richer, and more interesting. Do I really want

wonderful students with a diverse range of passions, goals, and personalities, yet few would confess to an

I don’t. So this year, I’ve started doing something new.

earnest desire to learn maths. (For the most part, it’s

I’m no longer teaching students content explicitly, and

already been beaten out of them). What am I to do?

telling them to learn it for the test. Instead, I’m trying to find interesting problems that my students will want to

What I’ve always done is the same thing that teachers

solve -- regardless of their interest in maths -- and which

have done for years: I give grades. If students work hard,

will motivate them to learn the maths that the syllabus

they get good grades; if not, they don’t. It doesn’t matter


if maths interests them. As long as their transcripts do,

did so not to earn good grades, but to solve challenging

they’ll do what we tell them.

problems. I’m asking my students to do the same.


The thinkers who developed mathematics

This is an abstract idea -- let me make it concrete. I

“just in time” to accomplish a meaningful task sticks much

started my IB Maths Studies class this year by diving

better than learning done “just in case” it might be useful.

straight into one of the most challenging syllabus topics:

(I credit Simon Head from the International School

mathematical models. But I didn’t begin by giving out

of Dusseldorf, with giving me that brilliant insight.)

a syllabus, or by reviewing prior knowledge. Instead, I

suspect that our students will truly master the skills and

asked my students to identify populations they cared

content we want them to learn -- be it grammar, historical

about. They chose a variety: the populations of their

analysis, foreign language, coding or the laws of physics

home cities or countries, the populations of their favorite

-- when we give them tasks that inspire them to learn and

wild animals, the population of the world. Each student

apply those skills, and not just when we give them a test.

had a population of genuine interest. Then I asked: what

I’m certainly eager to see teachers in those other subjects

will this population look like in 50 years?

try, and to learn from them as they do.

My students didn’t know where to start -- which was a

So would my IB maths students really analyse their chosen

good thing! (If they did, they’d be in the wrong class.) But

populations if not for a grade? I don’t think all, or even

they had an interesting problem to solve, and they wanted

many, of them would. The population-change project has

to solve it. So I told them: a linear model might help.

plenty of room for improvement, as does the way I teach

“Well,” they asked, “what’s that?” The game was afoot.

it. A classroom culture takes time to build. But come


visit my classroom some time, and you’ll notice genuine For the next several weeks, it’s my students asking

student excitement about maths. Look at students’ final

the questions -- not me. They need the tools to model

reports, and you’ll see real conceptual understanding.

their changing populations, and I have those tools. In

Ask my students about what they’ve learned, and you’ll

predicting future population change, they’ll learn what

hear pride in their voices. I’ve got a long ways to go before

linear and exponential functions are, why they’re useful,

I’ll be able to give up on grades altogether, but I think I’ve

and how to represent them. And at the end of the unit,

made a promising start.

they didn’t just take a test. Instead, they each produced and presented a full-fledged mathematical report. On the

About the author

day the assignment was due, I told a student to format her report in a way that would make her proud to turn it in. She responded, “I already am.” My approach is far from perfect, and not nearly as idealistic in practice as it sounds on the page. As an IB teacher, I don’t think I’d be doing my job if I weren’t assessing my students with timed, IB-style tests. And yes, I still give grades, which students still continue to care about. Even so, I notice that the very tenor of my

Robert Barnett is a maths teacher at Leysin American

classroom has changed. I spend less time talking with

School in Switzerland, and is the co-founder and Chief

students about what they need to do to improve their

Operating Officer of The Modern Classrooms Project.

grades, and more about how they can answer questions

Prior to teaching internationally, he taught maths,

they really care about. Less time lecturing, and more time

entrepreneurship, and computer science in Washington,

answering questions. Less time pulling students along,


and more time pushing them to excel.

Education Week, The Washington Post, and Washington

He has previously written about education for

City Paper. A native of Washington, DC, he holds degrees Could an approach like this work for any class? I’m not

cum laude from both Princeton University (A.B.) and

sure. But I do know that students learn best, and enjoy

Harvard Law School (J.D.).

learning the most, when they’re engaged with projects and problems that matter to them, and that learning done





1 2 3

Linda Lanis International School of Florence

Víctor González International School of Bremen

Delinka Fabiny American International School of Budapest





n story writing, as part of a language learning process, there are several components that may have a significant impact in student production.

The competence of our student is surely important, motivation is essential, but there is another factor that is

Credits for character cards: Credits for linking word cards:

hardly mentioned: the capacity and the “comfort” when writing a story.

create and develop their hidden skills and their ability to build tales. Also important, guiding does not stop

Storytelling and story writing can be taught at every level,

creative students from writing a good story. The

but while “talking about a movie or a holiday” is perceived

question is, how to guide students in a way that we as

as useful, it is the process of writing a story where

teachers can be more facilitators rather than tutors,

characters are invented and developed, a good plot is

with an awareness of their background and abilities?

created, that can be perceived difficult, even if conducted in the mother tongue. We can only imagine how a student, especially a teenager, could feel uncomfortable.

What I usually propose to my intermediate students is a

The ugly truth is that sometimes we ask pupils to produce

is using the cards with linking words. Students receive

writing project based on input cards. One of the activities four cards with linking words to be used at the beginning

something they have not experienced or have been exposed

of each paragraph. This allows students to give their story

to before. Without this exposure, we then ask them to

a better and stronger structure. Any input given by a card

transfer their knowledge from their first to their second

helps students leave the comfort zone of practical daily

language. When learning a foreign language, especially

sentences and they are guided to the use of more complex

in more advanced levels, the learner is asked to cover


specific topics in which they may not feel comfortable. We are not talking about translating, of course, but about

About the author

specific skills and structures. It is important when we teach creative writing in a second language that we understand that not everyone is a writer or enjoys writing. However, there is no need to give up, as it is surely possible to develop these skills in a second language, even if we do not have the required abilities in our first language.

Linda has been working as an Italian Language teacher and facilitator at the International School of Florence,

Creative and story writing in a different language than

Italy, where she is the chair of the Modern Language

the mother tongue allows students to improve their

Department. She teaches all grades from Middle Years

vocabulary, their syntax and their use of rhetorical figures

to the Diploma programme. Linda has been a member

more than any other argumentative or instructional text.

of the ECIS World Languages Special Interest Group

The secret is in practicing and the key word is guiding.

since 2013. She is particularly interested in international

Guiding allows introverted or reluctant students to

communication and translation.





hat makes games so successful amongst children and adults? Why are we always so focused and engaged when we play a

game? Should we use games in the language classroom in order to improve our students learning skills? All these questions and more have made me push for the concept of gamification in my lessons with extremely positive results. The language maze is a fun concept that students

point A to point B. It is not allowed to follow the path

enjoy once they have learned the vocabulary of

of the game without reading the instructions. The first

giving directions in Spanish. The process is simple

student to finish wins.

and it only takes two or three lessons to complete it. These type of language games are very popular amongst

Phase 1

grades 6, 7 and 8. They ignite their imagination and

After learning how to give directions in Spanish, pupils

make them learn new words and expressions in Spanish.

have to draw a maze including roads, squares and

It keeps them motivated, connected with the task and

buildings with 10 instructions on how to get to a given

involved in the process of learning. Creativity should be

goal. The main character can be a famous hero, placed at

encouraged and embraced in language learning and other

the entrance of the maze, and they have to label 10 parts of

subjects in schools around the world. We just need to find

its body in Spanish. The goal can be a castle, a wonderful

ways to trigger it!

island or anything that entails positive feelings. Both

About the Author

items have to be labelled appropriately in Spanish as well.

Phase 2 It is time to colour the maze, add some obstacles like stones, walls, or trees on the paths and squares and roads, and colour some parts of the maze so that it is visually stunning. All the objects should also be labelled in Spanish and students have to name to their maze as well. Some examples: la puerta mágica, el muro, la plaza.

Based in Bremen, Victor has been teaching Modern Languages and IT for 20 years, conducting creative

Phase 3

workshops for language teachers at international level.

Pupils need to guide the player through a fixed set of

His interests lie in the fields of language curriculum and

instructions to reach his or her destination. The minimum

materials design through innovative digital tools. He

set of instructions is 10 but students are welcome to write

is an official International Baccalaureate® Language B

more directions in the target language if they wish to do so.

examiner since 2008 and he also teaches IT Competencies in Translation, Interpreting & Applied Languages at UOC

Phase 4

(Open University of Catalonia) since 2018. He is the Chair

It’s time to start playing. Students swap their project with

of the ECIS World Languages Special Interest Group.

a partner who has to follow the instructions to go from



EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING – AUTHENTIC TASKS AND REAL LIFE Delinka Fabiny | French teacher American International School of Budapest


n the 21st century language learners are exposed to a wide array of opportunities that can develop all their skills. Technology has brought the world to the

fingertips of the learners. Over the years however, it became evident that exposing students to real life experiences not only motivates students, but also reinforces confidence while simultaneously developing all the skills. According to their own reflections when students face a real audience they will strive to achieve their best potential. The Senegal Project, in its seventh year at the American International School of Budapest, offers this opportunity.

We state in our schools that we want students to become global citizens, yet how often do we expose them to the

Students note the difference between writing an essay

real global world?

solely for the teacher to read – and grade, and the same task knowing that it is a letter to a pen pal. Involving all

The Secondary school students who travelled on a service-

students and the entire school community gives everyone

learning trip to the Senegalese village commented that the

ownership of the project. Fourth grade students write a

trip was the most impactful experience in their lives. They

postcard to a pen pal. In grades 6 and 7, the assessments

gained confidence communicating in French, but they

become a letter to the pen pal about their family, their

also learned to eat, to dance, and to laugh together with

favorite city, etc.

our hosts. They got to meet the children that the French classes sponsor to attend the school. In each division

Experiential learning can happen at all levels. It always

French classes “adopt” a child and raise the funds for the

starts with an awareness of the other, with the discovery

child to attend school.

of individuals who have different customs but who ultimately are so similar to us, as one student reflected

How do French classes raise the funds? They raise funds

when reading his pen pal’s answer, “We are far away but

through curricular connections with topics studied. For

we like the same things, like football”.

example, elementary students had a “crêpe” sale linked with the celebration of “La Chandeleur”, or Secondary

When students get a letter from their “friend” who lives in

school students organise a French lunch tied to the unit

a fishermen’s village in rural Senegal and attends a school

about eating habits.

where most children come from deprived families, they compare and contrast two realities. They develop not only

Connections are also made with other subjects, especially

their language skills but also empathy and intercultural

with social studies. Thanks to the personal input of the


students, topics do not remain confined to a few pages in a textbook, but come alive with actual reality.


deep and lasting. Students confronted with real people and real situations do not only react with their mind, but also with their heart. Experiential learning has the potential to elevate the learning, to improve all the skills, to open the heart, and also to enrich and to make us better individuals.

Bibliography Words and Actions: Teaching Languages Through the Lens of Social Justice, Cassandra Glynn, Pamela Wesely, and Beth Wassell Publisher: ACTFL,2014 Why Service Matters: Reflections by Cathryn Berger Kaye, M.A. content/ uploads/2013/06/Why-Service-Matters-jan-2012.pdf

About the author

Delinka is currently teaching all levels of French at the American International School of Budapest. She has over 20 years of experience teaching the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme French B course, and is also an IB examiner. She has lead workshops for language teachers internationally. Delinka’s current interests include incorporating service learning in the language classes. Her other field of interest is literature in the language class from the beginner level to the IB DP Higher Level classes. She is a member of the ECIS World Languages Special Interest Group.


The connections are endless and the impact is always









E, H


T, &





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APRIL 15-18 2019










COLLABORATIVE LEARNING GOES TO MARS David Clapp Head of Science St George’s British International School | Rome



ow do you get seventy seventeen year-olds to work together on an interdisciplinary science education project that will teach them team-

working skills, perseverance, and self-reflection all in ten hours? Welcome to the IBDP Group 4 Project – a compulsory component of every IBDP student’s path to their IB diploma and an interesting puzzle for their teachers! With changes afoot in the IB Diploma science courses, it was time for a change and so we teachers set ourselves a new challenge: a new-style science project! The previous style involved much arranging of precious lab time for investigations and venues for the subsequent science fairs. The carrot of grades for the project counting towards final diploma scores had been removed, students were now engaged with in-depth science projects as part of their normal science courses, and the old model just did not fit. Inspiration was needed, and it arrived in the form of the book, and then the film….”The Martian”. Andy Weir’s self-published first novel (he published via instalments on his website), “The Martian” tells a gripping tale of survival and resourcefulness in the most

Are you receiving me?

inhospitable of environments – the surface of Mars. The

First up is the communication problem – the Martian is

subsequent film brought this wonderful science fiction

about 200 million kilometres away, thought to be dead

(and almost fact) story of human ingenuity in the face

after a Martian storm, with no direct means of alerting

of incredible odds to worldwide attention. The tension

the world to his survival of the accident. We translated his

between Ground Control with its vast resources and

ingenious use of an old Mars lander into a “communication

experts, and the lone Martian with only his wits pitted

via flashlight” problem for our teams. After the initial

against the arid, airless and freezing Mars was just the

briefings, the student teams set about devising their own

nerve-wrenching hook we needed to catch the attention

morse-style digital codes in order to transmit their secret

of our 70 17yr-old would-be scientists!

message between school buildings and inform Mission Control of the Martian’s survival! Who will successfully

Our teachers and students worked on the idea of

transmit the message…?

emulating the response of both the marooned Martian and the Earth-bound NASA teams to the host of problems

Help, my hydrazine thermostat is broken!

they encounter in the attempt to “bring him home”!

Next the hydrazine thermostat problem. Communication

Imaginative scenarios were dreamt up and then wrestled

is very slow – letter by letter. The Martian must

with in an editing and rationalising period. Eventually

communicate the problem – broken thermostat. Ground

we hatched a planned sequence of problems to be solved

Control must transmit the solution – the engineering

by our own mini NASA teams with their own Martian to

fix. How to describe with minimal text the construction

rescue. Next, resource-making, a date, a venue, and we

of a complex component of the Martian’s water-creating

were ready for launch.

system? The student teams split, each half receiving the “component” to be described in minimal text. Messages are exchanged via runners between labs, and the teams must now reconstruct from scratch their minimal-text-


described component! The teams re-join for an exchange of constructions: whose will match the original? The revelations of curious resemblance, or not, of original to copy produce scenes of great hilarity!

Store Energy for the Martian Now we move on to more serious engineering – and energy storage: the teams need to devise a way to store energy from the Martians’ solar cells for use in the sunless Martian night. They are provided with construction resources (paper, tape, plastic bowls, water source) to make gravity stores (water up high). A competitive edge is brought in with measurements to judge the maximum energy storage capability of the teams’ water towers (weight x height!), and the inevitable wet moments when towers collapse!

Bring him home The final problem set concerns the 20 day trip across Mars to the rescue point: the teams must split to “solve” 3 planning problems – plan the route, plan the nutrition needed, and plan the psychological support. Maps, satellite photos, craters, space food information sheets and transcripts of the broken conversations between Mission Control and the Martian are provided. There are crater-obstacles to avoid, fuel to conserve, diet to stick to. The psychologists get involved when the communications

About the author

start revealing the disturbing traits in the Martian’s thinking after the months of isolation…. Is he cracking? Is his nerve finally breaking? So how do we talk to him to keep him in one piece? Mappers, nutrition experts and the psychologists come together to find out. So has the Martian got to the rescue point … or not …

The de-brief Well it was a fun, high-energy day. The sense of urgency, time constraints and wandering NASA assessors (white

David Clapp leads the Science Department at St George’s

coats and clipboards) force students to stay switched very

British International School Rome. He has a long career

much on, all day long. They work the problems, do the

in science education both in UK independent schools

maths and science it out all day long! And for students

and in European international schools. As well as life at

who are largely engaged with solo missions to gain their

the chalkboard, he has worked in school leadership for

own IB diplomas, a compulsory project in which your

international schools in Budapest, Hungary. David has

success relies on your team represents a refreshing break

particular professional interests in science education

from personal considerations into the ways of working

generally and student-led practical science in particular.

with others that may well form the majority of their

For more information about the Mars Project please

working lives.

contact him at



Teaching Teachers about Multiple Perspectives in The Dominican Republic

Matt Nink & Sarah Andersen Global Youth Leadership Institute


(Authors note: In July of 2018, Global Youth Leadership Institute partnered with Worldview at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill to design a programme for 27 educators from North Carolina in the Dominican Republic. The programme was called “Legacy of Slavery and Comparative Education in the Modern Dominican Republic.” The programme was designed and facilitated by the authors. The names of all the participants have been changed to protect their privacy.)


lorence had never flown on a plane,


Pearl, Evan, and Diane had not traveled outside the USA. As they, and twenty-two other adults

came through customs into the reception area of Santo Domingo Airport, they were greeted by all five senses of the of Dominican Culture. Sounds of bachata music trickled out of the small coffee shop, competing for attention against the dull overhead announcements all in Spanish. Smells of fried plantains, rice and beans, and rich Dominican coffee wafted, reminding our stomachs of a pressing need. And the people - delightful in their swagexuded a certain Dominican confidence. All for fashion, a mother-daughter duo sauntered past, one wearing painted on pants and the other sporting mini high heels

We know they are on the brink of an 8 day transformative

and star studded sunglasses. Suave businessmen with silk

learning experience, and the nervous energy is flowing.

pocket squares strutted just as boldly as the hip young

This is the scene at the beginning of our recent Teacher

athletic Dominican man - both sporting hats. The clothes

Study Visit to the Dominican Republic in partnership with

did not wear them, quite the contrary. The humidity,

UNC World View. Participants are K-12 and community

registering a full 100%, offered a head-to-toe embrace,

university educators from throughout the state of North

a feeling that did not abate for the duration of our trip,

Carolina. The programme is designed to have them

despite the balmy 35 Celsius (90F).

experience the history, culture, education, and struggles of the modern day Dominican Republic.

1. And so it begins

As guides of this comparative educational experience,

Our organisation, Global Youth Leadership Institute, has

our own self-reflection is intended to model the learning

been running programmes for students and teachers in

we want to see. Coming to the Dominican Republic as

the US, Costa Rica, Panama, India, and the Dominican

outsiders, we landed on their native soil and more than ever

Republic since 2003 and there are many markers and

before, we can empathise with the disruption caused by the

signposts along the way of these journeys. On airport days

arrival of the Europeans. For us, we pondered questions

(first and last), everyone is under more stress and their

that framed our own entry into the Dominican Republic in

needs become physical—food, water, bathrooms. They

the summer of 2018.

cling to the security of the contents of their backpacks, and their familiar playlist of songs as they transition from

Who are our ancestors? How did they get to this continent?

their world into the unknown of a “programme,” a group

What is the legacy of slavery in the US and how does it affect

travel experience that has the elements of a field trip,

us in our classrooms and communities? How do we work

an immersion experience, a retreat and a professional

across lines of difference? How can we work towards racial

development seminar.

reconciliation in the US or other countries among divided


peoples? How can we balance male and female leadership

For us, our GYLI programmes fall under the umbrella

in our schools and communities? How can we teach and

of “Global Education” where experience and collected

learn through and with the body, so that our participants

learning are at the core of what we do. We also balance

understand at the deepest levels? How we can we provide

physical challenge, authentic conversations and reflection

context and history from multiple perspectives, so our

tools that educators can use in class or with their teams as

learners can form their own judgements and opinions?

soon as they return. Our trained facilitators incorporate targeted activities and tools to reach the specific goal of the

When teachers have an “out of context” experience they

programme. These tools include a variety of leadership and

see their roles as teachers and administrators from so

multicultural engagement activities: Leadership Styles

many perspectives: student, community member, parent,

Inventory, Introduction to Collaborative Leadership,

administrator. This layering of vantage points has them

5Cs of Awareness (Colour, Culture, Class, Character and

reflect on ways to communicate more effectively with

Context), Gender and Leadership, and many movement

different audiences. This can have key effects on the

and icebreaker games that get people talking and thinking.

classroom, in ways that we will address shortly. But

We also plan for urban, rural, organised and more open

before that, we need to define our key terms.

periods in our programmes with a constant focus on 3 aspects: team, content, and self. For the UNC Worldview

By Global Education we mean any “out of context”

Dominican Programme, we planned an 8 day path from

experience that can be local or global, but has a focus

Santo Domingo, to Jarabacoa, Santiago, and Cabarete.

on building relationships with team members, engaging with people, cultures, and practices that are not part of

We begin with history in the Colonial Zone, a 3 kilometre

our daily routine. Experiential Learning means learning

section of Santo Domingo that has many buildings dating

environments where the outcome is not predicted and

back to the 1500s. From there we trace the intertwined

is co-constructed among the learners.

By contrast,

Dominican and Haitian history right to present day.

Collected or Curated Learning means experiences where

The colonial zone offers itself to our imagination as we

the outcome is known and that the learners are being

walk the narrow streets of stucco buildings and picture

guided to particular learning outcomes. This can be a

ourselves in an earlier time period. Walking in the street,

museum, a lecture, or book reading where we know the

shopping and attending the Sunday night concert at the

story before we dive.

ruins of the San Francisco Monastery juxtapose with stops of collected learning (also known as museums): Casa Reales, Columbus House Museum, and the Museum


“I don’t think so,” responds Cassandra. “That was a powerful story of how we can take a stand,” offers Bruce. “I wish my students could see this and realise their own power,” says Cindy. We walk in a narrow line back to our hotel and I wondered when to jump into the conversation. It’s the facilitator’s tap dance of inching the conversation forward, without putting it out, or unduly directing it. “I’m not sure if you read the book before you got here, but if not, if you enjoyed that story in the museum, you will really enjoy In the Time of the Butterflies.” “How can people continue to live in a situation with that kind of dictator?” “How did he develop such a hatred of the Haitians? It seems like they’re the ones who do the hard work in this country.” Here, I jump in again—“Well, we may see some parallels with our own country and Mexico,” I offer. “Now I know how my immigrant students must feel.”

3. It’s Day Two and we turn onto our now familiar street of Dominican Resistance. We know that balancing these

to our hotel. Cindy notices a colmado that she missed

two types of learning: experience and collected, is one of

before—“I am just going to stop and get a Coke.” And

the keys to a successful programme.

Missy sees an overstuffed art shop and wants to ask the owner the story behind one of the pieces. The rest of the

Our last collection and one of the best in the country is

group lingers as we wait for these transactions. I have

the Leon Cultural Centre in Santiago that has an excellent

noticed these moments of waiting on a trip are times

collection of artefacts and a thoughtful design. This

when learning sinks in below the surface.

combination museum of anthropology and art tells the Dominican Story from the time of the ingenious Taino

Experiential vs. Collected Learning. One of the key things

all the way to the 2011 Dominican Team that climbed Mt.

we want teachers to reflect on in the DR is the distinction


between collected learning vs. experiential learning. Of course each has its own merit and place in our learning.


We wanted our teachers to notice the kind of learning they do on the street, in meeting and engaging with

As preparation for this trip, we asked participants to read

Dominican teachers, or in talking with the residents of the

“In the Time of the Butterflies” by Julia Alvarez, which

woman’s cooperative. These experiential aspects of the

chronicles the work of three Mirabal sisters to overthrow

programme offer a chance for teachers to put themselves

the dictator, Rafael Trujillo, in the early 1960s. The

in place of the learner and to move beyond their comfort

Museum of Dominican Resistance showcases these three


sisters. Exiting the museum, we cross a street, avoiding flows of strange liquids and littered plastic bottles, and it

To frame these collected learning environments we

is Stephanie who asks the question on everyone’s mind:

provide some history, and then debrief these collected

“Is it different for women now?”

experiences through reflection and debriefing techniques:


partner conversations, journaling, or small group discussions. These debriefs are critical to the learning, as they give the learners a chance to speak and listen their way into the story. During experiential learning environments, we ask participants to engage with people they meet in shops or in schools and to make sure they don’t take photos unless they also get their name, story, and permission. This helps teachers and educators create stronger, more intentional learning experiences and many teachers commented that these practices help them see with the eyes of their students. Once they have those perspectives, they begin to create ways to improve their own learning environments with everything from more orientation programmes, ESL for students and parents, and in some cases even make more use of the school building in the afternoons and evenings. “I never realised how lost my student might be in my classroom.” This was one teacher’s response to driving into the countryside on the day of the slave plantation tours. “Looking at all these signs in Spanish and trying

well as several reflection tools, such as Leadership Styles

to get context clues, and saying to myself where am I?

Inventory and 5Cs of Awareness. Our host María shared

What am I doing? I realised this is what my students

their story of women wanting to improve the economic

are doing in my classroom and they have no idea what

situation of their community and how a small grant from

is going on.”

the Canadian government helped to build their first cabins and create an eco-tourism lodge. Like other stops


in the DR, Sonido del Yaque shifted our perspective in large and small ways.

Everyone breathes. Without it, we literally wouldn’t be here. But how many of us actually take the time to

Case in point, one morning in Jarabacoa, Ron, one of

consciously breathe? To really focus on our breaths as

the teachers, was helping to wash tomatoes while we

we take air into our lungs and slowly exhale? As teachers,

prepared lunch. Modelling by doing, I filled a bowl with

we constantly give ourselves to our students, wanting

water so we wouldn’t leave the water running. Ron was

the best for them and pushing them to become better

astonished, ¨I never would have thought of that,¨ he

human beings. While enjoying the beautiful Dominican

said. ¨At home, I always leave the water running when

mountside in Sonido Del Yaque, our group of teachers

I wash my vegetables.¨ A simple act of conserving water.

had the opportunity to focus on their inner selves and


their breathing as they stretched their bodies in an early morning yoga class. The powerful, rhythmic song of the

Cabarete is a unique town in the Northern Coast of the

Yaque River centred their breath.

Dominican Republic. Originally a small fishing village, Sondio del Yaque is a woman’s cooperative situated

this town has since become one of the top places in the

between Jaraboca and Manabo, accessed by a steep walk

world to kitesurf.

down 300 steps into a beautiful river valley. We spent

village into a booming tourist town. The main road

two days at Sonido introducing yoga to the group, as

separating the resorts and temperature controlled hotels


Cabarete has turned from a quiet

from the true Dominican neighbourhoods marks the clear divide between two vastly different worlds. In one of these local neighbourhoods, where electricity is shut off every 6 hours and running water is not guaranteed, sits The Coral School, founded and run by Mariana. The youngest of 16 brothers and sisters, Mariana knew by the age of 9 she wanted to be a teacher. First teaching out of her parent´s small house, working her way through school and university, little by little accomplishing her dream of owning her own school. It was here in Coral where some of our teachers began brainstorming about how they can improve their schools and curriculums back home in North Carolina, taking initiative as modelled by Mariana.

6. Applying the learning back in North Carolina. “I never realised how lost my student might be...¨ - a continuous statement throughout the trip and even on our return. Once back in the States, Sarah went to visit Brian and Cindy, both principals at a middle and elementary school in Concord, North Carolina. Approximately 30% of the students at Brian´s school are Latino and many

About the authors

of them enter 6th grade unable to speak English. Brain realised how lost his new EAL students must feel during the first weeks of school. He made that connection while in a restaurant in Santo Domingo trying to figure out what to eat from the buffet and not being able to understand the written descriptions. Once home, Brian decided to make a change at his school. He established a new Translator position to help ESL

Matt Nink is the executive director of Global Youth

students understand their schedules, get to the right

Leadership Institute. He is an administrator and global

classes, and even translate during class. Cindy was equally

programme director at Lake Forest Academy, near

excited to share new developments in her school after

Chicago, Illinois, USA.

realising how frustrating it can be not understanding the language being spoken. Cindy opened a night school for parents of the EAL students where they can take English classes to feel more comfortable and get a better grasp of the language. These instances of applying the learning is the last and most important step of an Out of Context Experience.

Sarah Andersen is a Spanish Teacher and coach at

As Marcel Proust wrote, “The real voyage of discovery

Hampton Roads Academy in Newport, Virginia. She

consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having

has been a programme coordinator for Global Youth

new eyes.” Once we help teachers and educators put

Leadership Institute since 2017.

on new eyes, they find new ways to help and serve their communities.



Its collection and use needn’t be of a personal nature either, nor analysed to influence what we see or what we buy online (though it often is). Instead, educators are beginning to think of Big Data in an educational sense


and the possibilities it can offer to teaching.

n classrooms around the world, data is being used as a tool for true pedagogical insight and progress,

What if Big Data is repurposed and repackaged to serve

empowering teachers to understand where a student’s

attainment and instruction - to help struggling readers

learning is and how to target supports to get them to where

fully comprehend, or budding writers reach a little

they need to be. Though it can seem like a frightening

bit further in their work. Well, at Texthelp, data are

proposition in our age of instantly obtainable digital

beginning to do so in a big way (no pun intended).

information, the way in which data are disseminated and used has changed rapidly in a competitive landscape of

One of our own first-hand experiences so far has been

technological advancement. It’s had to adapt, and so have

through the continual development of our literacy


product, Read&Write, which now has over 17 million users worldwide. It’s a statistic we are proud of, but what

While it’s certainly not unreasonable now for the average

really counts is what it offers and how we improve the way

consumer to expect complete compliance when it comes

users engage with the software in their learning. Because

to personal information, it’s a trend largely unique to

of data, we’re able to see which tools within Read&Write

21st Century living - much like the tech that has opened

are the most popular because they offer the best support,

up teaching and learning in classrooms over the last 20

and spend time refining them. It also offers us an

years. But data, big or not, needn’t conjure up legislative

opportunity to see what we can do better in other areas to

boogeymen like GDPR or the Personal Data Privacy Act.

help teachers on the frontline when using our tools.


About the author

Martin McKay founded Texthelp in 1996 to help people with communication difficulties. What started as a company focused on people with profound Speech and Dexterity Disabilities has become a world-leading Education Technology company providing easy to use, and useful software tools that help everyone read, write and communicate with clarity in education, at work and in life. Over that time he has built, led and directed a team of engineers to deliver technology that is used by millions of people every day around the world. He regards himself as incredibly fortunate to work in a sector that has such a positive impact on society using technologies that are so fun and compelling to work with. Most importantly of all, Proactively, we have been working hard to connect

Martin and Texthelp believe that everyone is entitled to

Big Data and Personalised Learning in a way that’s

the best possible learning and language support on their

meaningful, practical, and widely available for teachers.

own personal journey – from literacy to life. Martin is

WriQ, our latest innovation, is our mission to develop a

currently serving in an advisory capacity on the Universal

tangible metric for writing and a management system that

Design for Learning council in the US.

allows educators to track progress, encouraging students to express their ideas and thoughts in written form. As WriQ gains more and more users, we’re able to create an enormous data set to robustly establish the WriQ score as a standardised norm for assessing writing. Ultimately,

At Texthelp, we believe that literacy is every student’s

it allows teachers to understand, improve and progress

passport to success. That’s why we’ve created a range

the written communication skills of their learners, while

of user-friendly support technologies to help learners

also taking away the manual time-consuming work

understand content and read and write fluently. Our

involved with scoring things like vocabulary, grammar,

leading assistive software is used by English Language

text maturity, and correct word sequences.

Learners (ELL) and special needs students, worldwide.

But actually getting students to a point where they are

Read&Write Family is a suite of literacy-focused software

confident to undertake and improve on their work in

which gives confidence to all students. It makes web

class is what Read&Write is fundamentally designed to

and computer files more accessible – from reading on-

do. It gives learners the tools to focus on and develop

screen text to helping students research, write and check

vocabulary, grammar, and comprehension. This, in

everyday written work.

turn, can help us to further establish key improvements

Windows, Mac, iPad and Android and in Google.

and areas to develop, immediately specific to teaching and learning - and it continues a trend of personalising

learning through data on a global scale.


The software is available on



uided by the dictum ‘the whole child is the whole point’, the creation of a robust enrichment programme was identified as a key strategic priority for The British School New Delhi. Given the nature of the

deeply connected school community, the endeavour was to make the school a community hub for the sixty or more nationalities, positively and proactively engaging all stakeholders. Research indicates that within the classroom and outside, the ‘one-size-fitsall’ approach is no longer applicable and there is need for a wider recognition of comprehensive student records, identifying varied skill sets. The value of an inclusive programme lies in its sustainability to provide opportunity and promote equity. Research also demonstrates that enrichment programs have the educational potential of providing opportunities for children and youth, to support their learning and development. There also exists an ongoing debate about the range of academic, social, and other types of knowledge and skills that young people will need to succeed in a global world.


with stakeholders concluded that a vertically aligned and integrated enrichment programme would definitely add value to student learning and further strengthen the engagement of our rich and culturally diverse community. A review of the existing provision provided substantive evidence of excellent practice and positive learning experience across a variety of disciplines and age groups. The initiative would help in integrating and streamlining enrichment opportunities. The foundation of the programme rests on the following

Most international schools offer enrichment as an “add


on” - a set of clubs or activities which are disjointed from



the mainstream curriculum. We wanted to go down a








interdisciplinary learning. This supports the school’s

different route. We wanted to deeply embed enrichment

vision and values and its commitment to nurture the

into all aspects of school life through the creation of a sustainable enrichment programme.

holistic development of every child.

Our programme provides students’ a range of learning

The programme itself has three layers. The first layer

embeds the programme into the curriculum as an

experiences and skills enhancement which enables

extended day for Primary students from Years 4-6, and

students to thrive, believe and succeed. Built within the

as Lesson 8 for Years 7-9 on Monday and Wednesday.

scheme were opportunities for authentic leadership, of

The pillars created across Primary to the Secondary

challenging one’s limits, of outreach, collaboration and

School provide vertical alignment and the linkages

independent learning etc. The programme is dynamic

to the pathway programme while enhancing teacher

and responsive and is built heavily on ongoing review and

engagement. Most significantly, this provides structure

evaluation from stakeholders and a focus Enrichment

to community outreach initiatives and enables external

group comprising of parents, students and leadership

partnerships with NGO’s, alumni, and thought leaders.

team members.

For layer two, we implemented it as a pathways

It is structured with distinctive layers, is vertically aligned with opportunities for upscaling of skills and recreation. The programme is aligned with the Round Square discovery framework, the IB ATL skills and the IB learner profile. It leads to the development of interdisciplinary skills, caters to a range of abilities and add value to student learning in a safe and happy environment. The expansion of our school and the new state of the art campus provided an opportunity to try and utilise a larger community base and the new learning spaces to support

programme after school. We introduced The British

the holistic development of every student in our care.

School Clubs, student led initiatives and activities for

We were looking to create a programme which would

community outreach. This segment remains extremely

be integrated with our teaching and learning provision,

popular because of the opportunities it offers students

be responsive to student needs, encourage parental

for innovation and creativity. The summer school and the

and community engagement, strengthen our outreach

annual school trips were also included under enrichment

initiatives, provide recreational and pathway options

to provide learning experiences as opportunities of

and build strong partnerships and linkages. Discussions


learning. The environment created was to support

Furthermore, Image 1 also displays a sharp increase in the

wellbeing and a holistic approach to education.

number of activities chosen and the number of students who have opted to enrol for enrichment programme.

The third layer included the evening programme for alumni and the community. As a place to destress and

The most significant impact of this initiative has been to

enjoy sports and cultural activities this layer was designed

provide a range of leadership and community outreach

to steward the school as a community hub.

opportunities for secondary school students in particular and the ownership by our staff who now happily share

We introduced processes to evaluate quality in learning

their passions with the rest of the community. It has truly

and introduced certification of activities to encourage

become a successful community initiative and one which

student achievement. With its alignment with the learner

we are very proud of.

profile, Round Square discovery framework, and the ATL

About the author

skills, the programme is integral to The British School system and replicable for other institutions.

An international educator for over 25 years, Ms Vanita Uppal OBE is the Director of The British School New Delhi and recipient of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in recognition of her services to British education in an international context. She is a member of Visiting Accreditation Teams for CIS (Council of International Schools) to accredit international schools globally, Analysis of student enrolment data over each term

a British Council ambassador, member of HMC

and parent feedback forms after each term allows us

(Headmasters & Headmistresses Conference, UK) an

to measure progression and interest. The numbers

IBEN educator and IB workshop leader and has served

demonstrate that numbers have grown over 54% over the

as Honorary Secretary to Friends of Round Square, South

first academic (Aug 2017-Aug 2018).

East Asia and the Gulf Region.



Peter Monteath Regional Director (Europe) Cambridge International


hen people think of international qualifications, they often assume they are offered by international schools, teaching (mostly British) children in expatriate outposts. While once the case, we now see our curricula increasingly used in schools that serve the local population. Parents and school leaders

worldwide recognise the benefits of an international education; expanding horizons for learning, opening students to intra-cultural opportunities, supporting global mobility and encouraging multilingualism. Cambridge International works with over 10,000 schools in 160 countries, offering curricula and examinations to schools all over the world. But it’s not just our reach that makes us international. A global outlook runs through all that we do, right down to the exams themselves.




Our schools represent a huge range of circumstances and

As the world becomes increasingly global, schools tell us

have a wide variety of needs. At Cambridge International,

that their students are excited and motivated to sit the

we offer more than 200 individual subjects and schools are

same examination as their peers in many other countries.

able to choose the subjects that suit their requirements.

The standard of Cambridge exams is the same no matter

We offer languages that UK boards cannot justify due to

where in the world they are taken, which means they

low entry numbers, such as Afrikaans, Bahasa Indonesian,

are trusted and valued by universities and employers

Dutch, Greek, Korean, Malay, Thai and Turkish.


Cambridge IGCSE is also available in subjects such as Enterprise, World Literature and Global Perspectives –

While students are measured against the same standards,

subjects that respond to interests and priorities of our

the question papers they sit are not identical. We vary

schools worldwide. We also reflect a global outlook where

them according to world time zones. If we didn’t do this,

a UK board might be more Anglo centric. For example,

we’d have to make all students take the exam at the same

our English Literature syllabuses reflect texts written in

time – with some students in exam halls in the middle of

English from all over the world – including Ireland, US

the night!

and other English-speaking countries. In some subjects, we have as many as seven exam papers


per year to allow for time zone variants – which gives

Schools within national systems can find themselves

schools seven sets of past papers per series as a resource!

reacting to sudden educational changes that come with

For us, it’s an operational necessity and shows our

changes of government or new education policies – as

commitment to exam security. We have to be confident

reflected in education press all over the world! Cambridge

that, for example, a student who sits the paper in New

qualifications are revised on a six-year cycle. Changes tend

Zealand can’t tweet answers to a friend in the UK.

to be evolutionary, not revolutionary, reflecting feedback from our schools, as well as the changing nature of the

These elements have made Cambridge International

subject as informed by subject specialists and universities.

accessible to a wide range of schools, including growing

Truly international curricula are independent of any one

numbers of state schools, either as part of a bilingual

national system, and therefore are removed from any

stream or alongside the national programme. The

politicised change.

accessibility, practicality and stability of Cambridge International gives schools worldwide the confidence


to try elements of international curricula to diversify their programmes and give their students access to

For many candidates, English isn’t their first language.

qualifications used all over the world.

Students taking our exams can expect questions to be written in plain English, avoiding use of the passive, and mindful of context. For example, it’s vital that the question must test the understanding of an area of chemistry, and not the understanding of the preamble to the question. Our question-setters will consider the reading load of a question and the accessibility of the words used. In addition, international language is used – for example, ‘a bag of crisps’ would become ‘a snack’ – and attention is

Peter Monteath, Regional Director (Europe) at

given to international and cultural sensitivities.

Cambridge Assessment International Education For more information, visit





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