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Showing posts from July, 2015

The last day

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I'm going home today. Yesterday was technically day 6. Everyone in the group did presentations sharing the ideas we would like to implement when we go back to our schools. The common theme in the presentations was that we would like to build on what exists already in our schools.

My plan is to incorporate the ideas from the seminar into our professional development programme. I don't think it's wise to try implement anything at this point without a conversation with the teachers I work with about their ideas about a global vision for the school. Given the history and status of my school I think there's a lot that's been done before whether its had a global vision or not. I'm mostly interested to hear their ideas about what kind of global vision does our school need.

At the end of a trip there's always a bitter-sweet sense of excitement and bleakness. I'm bleak because it's the end of a trip that's been filled with ideas and meeting new people. I…

Day 5: education envy

Education envy: also known as "A comparative look at international education systems around the world". This discussion began with a reflection: what’s positive and negative about our education system? As someone who is constantly reflecting on the education system in South Africa I was stumped. There are often very few positive features in our education system and sometimes there seems to be very little hope. So instead of focusing on the South African education system I had to narrow my experience to my school experience.

The other teachers shared their evaluation and I was reminded of the solidarity with teachers from the United States of America who are as equally conflicted about their education system as I am about mine. Some of the issues that were raised were related to the question of equity and the role education plays in creating opportunities for children who need them. An example from one of the teachers from Baltimore was her school's scholarship focus in p…

Day 4: Tools for global learning

The big question for this session: how can we enhance our students’ learning experiences through the use of the latest communications technology?
We started off with a brief discussion about the tools other teachers have been using such as Skype classroom, Montage, Safari Montage, Canvas and google hangouts. There was a sense in the group that there’s a need to choose the tools carefully rather than using them because the school policy dictates that teachers need to use these tools. 
Andrew Field from the Cambridge International Examinations came to share more tools available for global learning. He also emphasised the need to have guiding principles when using technology in the classroom in order to ensure meaningful learning happens. Some of his suggestions are listed below: Todaysmeet https://todaysmeet.com/ This tool allows for a digital classroom where a virtual conversation can take place using any tool. Students simply log in and contribute to a conversation (with guidelines from …

Day 4: Unpacking school culture

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Today was a short day. This session began with a series of questions leading to a discussion about school identity:


List five adjectives to explain:What your school thinks it isWhat it actually isWhat it should beTo what different audiences is your school presenting itself?What media does the school use to communicate with audiences?
This led to a discussion where each teacher shared similarities and differences in each of the schools represented.
I think these questions could be used within my school context through our professional development groups. It would be interesting to see if teachers would have different or similar responses to these questions.
The discussion on assessment was very brief with a focus on the purpose of assessment. The table below was used to generate discussion:
Assessment for… Type of assessment Reason for assessment Timing of assessment (I listed assessments we’ve done thus far in each column) Some thoughts: The purpose of assessments needs to be in the forefro…

Cambridge Day 3: What is international education?

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Today the day began with a brief session exploring the skills students need in order to be competent in the future. This is not a new conversation in education circles albeit a controversial one. The most significant part of the session was looking closely at the skills in relation to the work put together by the Partnership for 21st century learning: http://www.p21.orgThere was consensus amongst the teachers that these skills are applicable and necessary for the teaching we are currently engaged with.
The discussion was followed by a session with Lee Davis, who is the Assistant Director for Professional Development for Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) within Cambridge University. His focus was on two areas: international education and international curriculum.
The session began with an activity: if the world were 100 people based on the findings from this website: http://www.100people.org/statistics_detailed_statistics.php .  The activity showed the plurality and diversity o…

Cambridge day 2: What is an international school?

Today was the official start of the seminar. The day began with the first session with Jonathan Cox, the study group leader for Issues in International Education. Based on the information in the program's brochure I had a sense of what to expect but it's often difficult to truly anticipate in a program like this as it's not a typical conference. My study group has 8 people and the entire programme has 24 in total.

The morning session was largely focused on teasing out the idea of an international school. My group comprises of teachers from Pakistan and the United States of America (Los Angeles, Atlanta, Denver, Baltimore and New York). There is a variation of privileged schools and one teacher from a “turn-around” school with students who are Mexican immigrants and refugees from conflict areas. The group leader has experience teaching in an international school in Singapore. The mixture of the group created an interesting discussion throughout the morning as most teachers …