Tag Archives: international schools

2018

Photo JM
Nyon, Vaud, Switzerland.

As the first days of 2018 arrive, any reflections on last year seem to contain an uncomfortable rawness because of the events continuously populating our devices – the immediacy, brutality and complexity of a world fueled by- FakeNews?”, each one of us trying to construct a context in the “Filter Bubble” choreographed by algorithms from which we build a sense of the world we live in.

As International School educators, we straddle between the walled garden of “school” and the outside “world”. The reality is that we are surrounded by constant change and ambiguity. But there is a gap between the accelerated rate of change and our capacity to adapt to it. For some, the gap is wide. For others, the gap stays the same, and for a few, the gap is narrowing. How we interpret and engage with the gap and our own capacity to keep up influences many of our feelings and emotions. These in turn fuel the perceptions, opinions and behaviors with which we express ourselves.

International Schools have to juggle the fine line between ensuring students and parents are pleased and ensuring that they feel safe, challenged and cared for. In the unique world of International Schools, a percentage of parents come from a comfortable socio- economic environment. Often times, their education is a contributing factor to their current positions. This education provided the opportunities for their successes and their economic prosperity. Living with this becomes a strong marker in what International School parents believe their children should get from an education and an International School. This pedagogic reference point in many cases 25+ years old. The world was a very very different place then. However we try as schools to innovate, change and adapt, we do this with a level of caution and reservation. At the end of the day, the invisible mandate between parents and international schools, is “provide my child with stability, continuity, what I remember from my school days and more certainty then I have in my life today“.

As educators, we fall into a similar narrative. We have a desire for of stability, continuity, and more certainty than in the outside world we interact with. We do innovate and change in our schools, but the presence of the invisible mandate between our parents and schools influences the level by which we break the status quo.

Photo JM
St. Cergue Switzerland

Today the level of stability, continuity, and certainty that we were once used to has eroded. Uncertainty, ambiguity and volatility are an unavoidable part of the day. The complexity of this change permeates into everyone’s lives, and often not by choice.

2018, is an opportunity to embrace the world’s uncertainty, ambiguity and volatility, not as something eroding our past and challenging our present, but as an opportunity to re-frame the possibilities in front of us as a unique and rich learning journey. We have a responsibility to take this on in our roles as mentors, facilitators and educators. We bring a wisdom, resilience and care that has served us well and can continue to serve us today. Many of our students will one day be International School parents or educators who look back at their education as a point of reference for their own success. The measures will be different. We live in a world where uncertainty, ambiguity and volatility are part of our lives. We should not depend on reference points from our past to give us stability, continuity and certainty. The gap for many will still get bigger and more uncomfortable. But hopefully, in 2018, we can work to bridge that gap as well.

John Mikton @beyonddigital.org

I’m Not In Love…Your Job Search Survival Guide

This is a difficult and glorious time of year. And I’m not talking about going home and dealing with the family you haven’t seen since summer or gift shopping in Dhaka. I’m talking about those of you looking for work in the next phase of your international adventure.

It’s hard. It’s really hard. Especially as the number of the schools in the world grows exponentially and the education landscape is more complex than ever and schools are grabbing people up like Halloween candy.

Take a breath. A deep breath.

First of all, enjoy the holiday. I know many of you are making a quick holiday exit to one of the January fairs, but take some time away from that email and focus on the most important reasons you are living the life you lead besides job searching. The hunt goes on well into March and even April. (And that doesn’t include hiring in North America or other parts of the world).

So, here’s my survival guide for you staff and teachers and even administrators looking for that next post. I’ve had lots of experience on both sides of the proverbial table and have learned truly what it feels like.

So, here goes…

1) Be clear about who you are and what makes you special as a teacher. In other words, stand for something. This seems a bit odd for #1, but I read a LOT of CVs that seem to say the same thing over and over. Accentuate something that you’re really good at and passionate about and drive it home.

2) Stop job jumping. I know there’s not a lot you can do about that now, but I (and many Heads) skip right past the 2,2,3,2,2, years at posts. Believe me, I know what it’s like to be at a place that you feel is a big mismatch, but you only get one, two max on that one. Otherwise, you really need to come up with a better plan to stick around at a school or have a very clear reason why you are moving on. It’s okay if it didn’t work out but you need to differentiate yourself from the teacher tourists. And if you are a teacher tourist, you are at the end of the line!

3) Personalize your experience by telling a STORY. Don’t just talk in generalities about your skills. And be honest in that story, about your mistakes, your setbacks, your ability to overcome, your generosity of spirit, the who you are and how you handled it. Recruiters love that.

4) Do NOT interview or apply to a place that you cannot envision yourself at for FOUR YEARS minimum. That’s right. Four years. It’s not fair to you, it’s not fair to the kids that deserve the BEST teachers in the world. If in your heart you cannot imagine yourself at the school for a minimum of four years, then find a way to get out of the process. It’s better for everyone.

5) ALWAYS include your Head of School or Principal as a reference. I know it’s hard sometimes, but we recruiters get really suspicious when your only line managers are department heads and coordinators. That sends off a red flag and we call the Head anyway. Yes, we know that there are some mean directors and principals out there, but the reality is that you need to get on good enough terms to put them down on your list.

6) At LEAST read the mission statement of the school and tailor your candidacy towards what you believe the school stands for. I know that a lot of the statements are the same, but you need to familiarize yourself as best possible with how the school presents itself and how you put yourself towards it as a match.

7) Don’t fall in love. Whatever you do, don’t fall in love with a school. If you REALLY want a job, act as though you don’t, or at least that you have other options. Keep calm, present yourself in a light that is balanced and enthusiastic, but not desperate. In other words, SKIP the recruiter/candidate mixer. I’ve seen too many people embarrass themselves at these awkward events and you need to keep yourself together.

That’s all. Best of luck. Stay focused. Remember that if you are good, you’ll definitely get a job. And ALWAYS remember that everything you do is about making the world a better place for future generations, not so you can go mountain biking or skiing.

Best of luck, and here’s one of my favorites to keep you balanced in the search…

Everyone’s Going To College.

The Stanford University Class of 2019 was selected from 42,487 candidates, the largest applicant pool in Stanford’s history. The 2,144 admitted students come from 50 states and 77 countries.

That’s about a 5% acceptance rate. FIVE PERCENT. The world is getting smaller, not bigger, and they’re not building any more Ivys. (I know Stanford’s not an Ivy, bear with me). College acceptance, like the NBA and professional soccer, is a global competition.

Here’s the good news: EVERYONE IS GOING TO COLLEGE.

It’s that time of year, the one filled with joy, dread, exultation, and despair. There’s so much, too much placed on that thin (or thick) envelope. The stakes are way too high, and yet everyone seems to turn out fine.

The colleges have seen everything we can throw at them. The kids who’ve written books, saved remote villages from the tsetse fly, and played violin at the Met. Been there, done that. Times a thousand. Make it 43,000 for kicks.

So, what are you going to do about it international schools? Continue to promise that you’re going to squeeze students into the 5%? Produce students who get 50’s on the IB and 10’s on the A.P. because, well, we can?

What will those young people look like? Do we want to know? Is that the path?

Everyone is going to college.

The college acceptance rate for international schools is on par with the best public and private schools on the planet. If we start with that premise, then we give ourselves permission to do what is necessary and right by our clients, yes, our clients.

We give ourselves permission to up our game by building with them a pathway to that inevitable experience not on “the classics” or the standard curriculum that we assure everyone as the way to get into the 5%, but on the unique, balanced, and creative experience of every person who comes to us for an education. After all, everyone’s going to college.

We give ourselves permission to redefine the “job” of the teacher, to challenge students to apply learning to their communities rather than a test, and to have the boldness to create people for whom college is an OPTION, not a life or death proposition.

Yes, this is difficult to talk about. It’s not a new conversation, just the one that comes to my head every Spring, when we think of the possibilities, reassure the discouraged, and smile at the reality that everyone, yes everyone, is going to college.

The Last American Holiday

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When Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a national holiday in 1863, he did so at the height of the American Civil War by inviting fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving. It was a relatively simple proclamation designed to heal the wounds of a nation at war with itself.

Like many of my international colleagues, there are a million versions of how this event has been commemorated, from roasting ostrich to alligator (in a pinch) and everything in between, to hilarious translations of its meaning, the football watching, and the illogic connection to the shopping season. But in spite of the many impromptu interpretations (Thanksgiving fish, really?) the one thing that has always endured is that no commercialism, no travel, or culture can take away the simple act of sharing gratitude.

We got lucky this year.

Without turkeys, television, or turnip, my family and I went on a bike ride in a place really far from the coast of where our relatives live, and we found a way to capture the tradition of giving thanks that grounded us, as it does everyone who is ‘sojourning in foreign lands’ according to Mr. Lincoln.

And so we gave thanks,

To the Buddhist monk who paddled up to us in his canoe at sunrise, accepting our offerings as he said a prayer for peace.

To the man peeling a mountain of coconuts for pennies a day, to feed his family.

To the couple outside a temple who asked us where we were from and laughed with us as we took pictures of one another, each foreigners in a foreign place.

To our guide, who blessed us with his own stories of tradition, family and giving thanks.

To the driver who shared his watermelon.

To the schoolchildren (pictured above) who showed my own children what it means to want a better life, even without computers, swimming pools or climbing walls.

To the man who shared bread with us so that we could feed fish for good luck.

My culture’s taking a beating right now across the board, but this annual Thursday I’m hanging my hat on. So on that day in a far away place, the Thanksgiving fish was fresh, the hands we held were loved, and the gratitude of simple acts reminded us why we are in this international business of trying to make the world a little better.

God bless.

Celebrating Our Schools

   Recently my alma mater, my high school overseas, celebrated a milestone. 50 years as a school. The party was a good one by all accounts. There were people from everywhere; from long, long ago, together with current and more recent members of the community. It was a reunion and a celebration. While I wasn’t able to attend (I was visiting my new posting) a few things have popped out at me. Items I want to remember as a member of a current school hoping to make history:

Schools have changed, teaching and learning have changed, but it is still the enthusiasm and commitment of the people in the building that matters.

“We want to be a school that grows, a school that transforms and changes. We want our school to excel and prepare.”

We tend to talk about schools like they are alive. The personification of the place is natural but misses the point. It isn’t the school doing the heavy lifting; it is the people inside the buildings.

Business (of which education is a part) is beginning to value the effect the people have on the place. It isn’t new information. However when schools can pick from a plethora of initiatives aimed at an outcome, it is important to remember that there are people doing the work, in the moment. Those people, how they feel, what they think, why they do what they do matter long after the end of one unit, or year.

If a school were alive, it would be a grandparent to some children. Teachers’ kids. Our double connection to a school is important to us as human beings and can and should be celebrated.

My husband also attended ISKL, graduating with me in 1990. However, his parents worked for an oil company. Outside of school, his connections were often with families from his dad’s work. They have had reunions and celebrations of their own. For him, the school was a place where he went to have fun, be with friends and learn.

For me, the daughter of teachers, the school wasn’t a place, it was a second home. My sister and I, like other teacher kids, lived there. We were the first to arrive each morning and the last to leave many evenings. Over the summer, we worked at the school, helping our parents prepare their rooms or ready materials. As a group,  teachers’ kids are highly connected to the staff of the school. Not only were our teachers our teachers, they were also our friends, and in many ways, our family.

It didn’t surprise me to see that a great number of the people who made the trip back to the school for the reunion were teachers’ kids. Recognizing the longevity of that group is important to a schools’ history.

Looking back and celebrating where you have come from, and helping every member of the existing team feel connected to that history, makes transient people feel connected.

So why wait 50 years! Most schools have celebrations like this for big milestones, but with our turnover- every year should be put into a larger context.

People (again- mostly teacher kids) posted pictures from when they were there- in the 1960s, 70s, 80s and beyond. The pictures reminded me how much it took for our parents (the teachers) to live away and abroad. Knowing how it was, gives us a sense of responsibilty to keep it moving forward.

Having an international school reach the 50-year mark is a celebration for all of us committed to teaching and learning overseas. It celebrates the work we do, the children and families we serve and the cross-cultural connections we have provided.

Here is to the next 50 years!

Stand Up

This morning I woke up with a song stuck in my head. You might know this classic from Kenny Rogers’s The Gambler: “You have to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em; know when to walk away, and know when to run…” The song is one I’ve thought about at times in my career when I’ve felt that the only smart play was to leave.

I think part of my planned exit strategy has to do with my life-long career in our international schools as a student and as an educator. Always living somewhere for a time and never forever meant leaving was part of the deal. Add to that the fact that most of the time I’ve leapt out and moved to a new place sight unseen, the luxury of leaving is something that allowed me to mentally go in the first place. While I wouldn’t walk at the first sign of trouble, what I am saying is that leaving a school, a country, a situation is often the only option available to those of us in schools overseas.

With that admitted mindset, you can imagine my shock when I learned last week, that my dear friend, who is a top-notch administrator at an international school in Asia, was fired for standing up rather than walking away.

While I’m proud of my friend and know her actions will make an impact on the school and situation, I am left wondering how we can make standing up, doing the right thing, and holding people accountable less traumatic. How do our schools protect, encourage and support those who speak out when in most cases we don’t have legal rights on our side? What happens when you are faced with professional malpractice, but you can’t talk about it, stand up to it, or fix it, without being fired?

To be honest, I have no experience with unions, lawyers or the like. Based on what I’ve heard from my colleagues in the United States, who are bogged down in different ways, these systems aren’t our answer either. However, when we are working in independent international schools and there are ethical issues at stake, where can a professional go for real help? How can our schools ensure that the people doing the work are able to do what is right, while protecting them when they come forward?

I consider our work with children to be one of the most important jobs out there. I think we all do. We know that the learning, socialization, and development which happens on our watch directly leads to “the future” for each student. We build people in our schools through our relationships and how we care for them and through our curriculum and what we teach them. How we behave as professionals and as communities is a model for what we believe and what we want our children to emulate.

When students come to me to talk about something happening on the playground, which isn’t “right” I’m proud of them for getting support rather than taking it into their own hands. I’ve spent time building a culture where students know they are supported and can come into the office for my assistance. I am the necessary oversight. I am tasked with ensuring students are safe to speak up and safe to learn.

Doing what is right is to me the basic tenant of being an administrator. To know that my dear friend probably knew that standing up would result in her firing is difficult to digest. What will happen in a month if the school she tried to be a model for is still in disarray? I’m left wondering, who will stand up then? In fact, who is standing up for my friend now?

I’ve said before on this blog that I’m a lifer. I’ve grown up in our schools and I hope to end my career here. What allows me to remain is my connectedness to this community. I believe we are serving students and families in ways that ultimately lead to global connections and a better world as so many of our children return to home countries and bring all that we’ve taught them. I’m proud to be an international educator.

That said I’m also ready for our institutions to improve. From better and more connected systems for vetting our professionals (remember this post?) to structures that protect or even encourage whistle-blowers in our schools, we have some work to do.

It’s time to get started.

It’s time we all stand-up.

Teacher Recruitment

A common and defining characteristic associated with international schools is that of transience. The ephemeral nature of many our community members’ tenures in international schools necessitates the ongoing management of change processes. The positive features of this constant change are the rich opportunities for personal growth, renewal, enrichment, and development of new relationships. However, this very same impermanence inevitably leads to our esteemed colleagues and beloved friends taking leave of our community as they seek to embrace new adventures and experiences. The reasons that some teachers take leave of our schools each year varies, from the need to return to their home country or the desire to work and live in a different part of the world, for example. While the inevitable departure of some colleagues will again be a reality at international schools around the world, we can take solace in the fact that personal and professional relationships will assuredly endure far beyond the end of this school year. Although there will be occasions to formally recognize those who will be leaving our schools, the focus of this note is on the present and the importance of appreciating and making the most of the time we have today and in the near future with our very special colleagues and friends. Teacher Recruitment Process:  The hiring of teachers is arguable the most important element of the work of a Head of School. To that end, one of the main focus areas during the month of October to February is the recruitment of teachers, which will include attendance at international recruitment fairs. In addition, it is not unusual for schools to receive over a thousand applications, in some cases, several thousand. I am often asked what we look for when hiring teachers at the American School of Brasilia. First and foremost, we are seeking to hire the best available teachers, regardless of nationality, who possess outstanding qualifications in their academic area, deep levels of relevant experience, leadership capacity, resilience, flexibility, and, of course, a passion for working with students and the learning process. An additional characteristic that is among the highest on our priority list is that of a positive disposition. The nature of effective teaching necessitates the ideal of teachers as eternal optimists, especially in terms of their belief that all students can reach their respective potentials. Furthermore, we owe it to our students to ensure a school setting that is comprised of people who are positive and optimistic, who see problems as opportunities, and who see the proverbial glass as always being half full. At the same, we cannot be Pollyannaish with respect to teaching and learning as teachers are challenged with directly addressing the inherent challenges associated with student growth and program development, in a professional, effective, and empathetic manner. Each year, our school continues to further articulate and refine EAB’s Teacher Profile, which is a document that outlines a set of guiding principles that are used to guide all hiring processes. In addition, EAB’s Leadership Team also examines the hiring, development, and retainment practices of highly successful organizations to determine what can be translated to a school setting. By way of example, we have closely studied Netflix’s human resource policy, called Freedom and Responsibility, which provides for engaging and reflective reading. Wishing everyone all the best with your respective search and hiring processes. _________________________________________________

Profile: I am currently working as the Head of School at the American School of Brasilia and publish a weekly blog at www.barrydequanne.com.

Featured image: cc licensed (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 ) flickr photo by Dieter Drescher: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cosmosfan/14628522324

Building a Culture of Resiliency

Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind. –Bruce Lee

Today is International Day at my school. It is a massive undertaking, involving over 1200 people. There are parents, students, and visitors enjoying a wide variety of food, entertainment, and information. The whole world is at our school today, and it is awesome.

Awesome and chaotic.

As happens when you run a day like this:

  • “Normal” is disrupted.
  • The schedule doesn’t run as planned.
  • Technology doesn’t work, or people aren’t where they are supposed to be.
  • Food runs out.
  • The weather isn’t cooperating.

That said, I feel sorry for the people among us today who are allowing the controlled chaos to overshadow the awesome.

Why? Because our International Day event is just like every other day, only on a larger scale: Things go well, and things go wrong. It’s life.

To be able to enjoy it, you have to be flexible. And resilient.

A few years ago, my husband heard Michael Thompson of Raising Cain speak about boy learners. He took away from that presentation a mantra, which has become our personal and professional goal as a family: Flexible resilience.

From other researchers and authors, we have also learned the importance of finding your “flow”, of having a “growth mindset”, getting “grit”, and to develop “perseverance”. There doesn’t seem to be much debate that what ultimately counts is how you handle (and how your mind views) the way the world works.

Leaping out from the individual and into the collective, though, you can quickly see why developing a culture of flexible resiliency is especially important for schools. Schools are often about order, routine, and predictability. We run tight ships, schedule almost everything and have clear starts and stops, beginnings and ends. When things don’t go as planned, it is in many of our teacher-natures to find it upsetting.

For our international schools, flexible resiliency is even more important. Besides the fact that many of us are living in unique (and sometimes challenging) places, we also have a diverse population which can cause confusion and miscommunication- even in the best of times.

It isn’t enough for us to ask our students or our parents to have growth mindsets or to go with the flow. Teachers and administrators have to adopt the same stance. It is flexible resiliency, which allows us to not just survive the changes that occur in our schools (building projects, enrollment/admission changes, teacher and administrative turnover) but to thrive, as a result.

As with most things, school leaders should not only expect flexible resiliency, but they must also build it. To help me do just that, here are some questions I’ve been considering and ideas I hope to implement.

  1. How can we recognize and celebrate flexibility in adults both within and outside of the building?
  2. I need to model a growth mindset when I am unsuccessful.
  3. How can I  provide opportunities for others to celebrate their “oops-es”.
  4. How might we imbed resiliency “training” into our social/emotional program for students.

Sustaining Excellence Over Time…

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People at my last job gave me feedback that I was too enthusiastic about sport, maybe even too “American” in that respect. Looking back, I think it was because it provided the clarity and focus on a goal that I needed in challenging times.

International schools have a real problem. They have high expectations and in many cases such high turnover that it is virtually impossible to reach the lofty goals of the mission statement. I have worked in such environments, and I can guarantee you that the culture ate the strategy for breakfast. And lunch. And dinner. It can feel as though the place is literally re-inventing itself every time new people come in. Throw in the average three year tenure of Heads and you have a place that will struggle to achieve excellence, no matter how strong the curriculum or great the facilities.

The New England Patriots won this incredibly over-hyped game called the Super Bowl this past weekend in such an environment. It was their fourth such victory over the past 14 years which is some kind of a record. They did it in what the critics call “an extraordinary time” of free agency in which players are constantly moving from team to team instead of staying together as they did when previous records were set. It makes it very hard to win one big game under these circumstances, let alone four over fourteen years. So, how can international schools win the big game?

1) Have a clear vision of what you stand for and what is non-negotiable in an authentic sense of the word. This does not mean “create lifelong learners.” What it means, for example, is that we use student work to inform best practice and will create systems to promote that.

2) “Do your job.” This one is from the coach of the Patriots. It sounds child-like in its simplicity, but how many schools have people who don’t know their jobs? Or like to do other people’s jobs? Or don’t even have job descriptions that are updated for relevance? This is critical toward building excellence.

3) Interchangeable parts. One of the astounding things the Patriots do is that they have an expectation that people understand the system in which they work so that they can contribute in a variety of ways. Although “do your job” is #2, understanding the big picture and being able to step in is critical. This does not mean that a math teacher should be able to teach English. What it does mean is that employees have a clear understanding of the systems and overarching expectations of the school so that they are part of a larger ethos and can sustain that foundation over time, not just in their isolated silos. This is hard, but it’s critical.

Of course there is also the opposite problem where schools with not enough turnover get stuck and cannot seem to move forward. But for me, the high turnover issue is compelling because it causes schools to default to the issues directly in front of them (scheduling, I.B. training, constant hiring), rather than the critical work of improving teaching and learning. Maybe this is a bit of a broad brush, but it’s common enough. There’s no magic cure for all of these challenges but it raises the issue of leadership capacity in creating systems that are effective and can be sustained over time rather than taking the easy way out and leaving after three years. For example, how are teams organized around learning? What schedules are put in place for staff reflection and collaboration to learn excellence? Where are the feedback loops? How is appraisal designed and implemented? And most importantly, what structures are put into place to remove the distractions that get in the way of people doing their jobs. (Is anyone ever going to fix the attendance software?)

These are complex issues and it’s still very hard to maintain excellence over time in a high turnover environment. But bringing in the best people and putting them in a position to succeed, having people understand their jobs, and creating an environment in which people can contribute in a multitude of ways can sometimes win championships.

Not sure if it’s from the 80s, but we’ll play this one out with the theme song. the Patriots use when they take the field. (And has some nice symbolism for high turnover environments).

Digital Fluency Project

During a recent school governance conference, the attendees, who include school directors and board members, reflected on how schools of the future will be different from what we know today. Our facilitator, Lee Crockett, invoked the often used but, at times, little understood concept of a “21st Century School” to challenge our current thinking (If you are interested in learning more about these concepts, Lee Crockett overviews his book, “Literacy is not Enough,” in an informative video interview).

While I was interested in the substance of the discussion, I was also intrigued by our collective reactions and discomfort as we struggled to predict the future of education. Given the rate of technological change, few people, if any, are likely able to accurately predict how technology will ultimately influence the traditional nature of schools. What we do know is that schools and learning will look very different from what we experienced as children.

So, how do we move forward? Fortunately, educational and technological theorists are thinking deeply about the future of education and the result is the emergence of several frameworks. The Global Digital Citizen Foundation and its 21st Century Fluency Project represent one such framework that articulates an educational focus on ensuring that learning continues to be meaningful. While there are indeed other helpful models, the 21st Century Fluency Project presents a framework that will challenge all of us to reflect on the role technology plays in the learning process, both at home and at school. In summary, the model complements traditional learning with a concentration on attaining five related digital fluencies: creativity, collaboration, solution, media, and information.

The future of booksEAB is strategically addressing these changes in several different manners, ranging from the implementation of a 1-to-1 program, to a shift from one traditional library to three iCommons (Information Commons), to weekly technology training workshops for teachers, to a change in instructional practices and collaboration expectations. On a personal note, I am teaching a high school Leadership class this year, which includes experimenting with a blended learning model, meaning that learning is taking place both in person and through an online setting. We are using an infrastructure called Haiku, which is a digital K-12 online platform. An exciting element of the course is that this platform enables us to learn, in collaboration, with students from two other international schools, one in the U.S.A, and one in Mumbai. Through the power of the Internet and technology, our class has been expanded and enriched through the inclusion of students from other parts of the world. This has taken the learning experience of our students to a higher level of interest, diversity, and engagement.

A question: If you were asked to highlight the most important skills students will need for future success, what skills would you list? How does your list compare with the following list of the most important skills generated by professional educators and researchers?

  • Problem Solving
  • Creativity
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Ethics, Action, Accountability

Now, let’s examine these skills in the context of Bloom’s taxonomy:

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The list of skills generated by professional educators and researchers correspond directly with the higher level thinking skills of Analyzing, Evaluating, and Creating associated with Bloom’s taxonomy, rather than the lower level skills of Remembering, Understanding, and Applying. It is these higher-level thinking skills that guide the ongoing development of EAB’s educational program.

As EAB continues its work towards the continued implementation of effective and relevant teaching and learning practices, we will also continue to be guided by the approaches presented above in conjunction with Lee Crockett’s guiding concepts of relevance, creativity, and real-world application.

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Profile: I am currently working as the Head of School at the American School of Brasilia and publish a weekly blog at www.barrydequanne.com.

Featured image: cc licensed (CC BY-ND 2.0) flickr photo by Johan Larsson: https://www.flickr.com/photos/johanl/6966883093