Professional Learning during Distance Learning



Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash


KDSL Global asked colleagues from around the Middle East region, how can educators continue to learn and grow as professionals during distance learning? Below are some of those responses.


“Although distance learning is in full swing, I don’t think educators have to stop their own development due to face to face limitations. I have pointed educators in the direction of online coursework/certifications (such as Dyslexia Association), virtual conferences that offer interactive components (EdWeek), and taking advantage of mentoring/ coaching sessions to help develop new skills.”

Selina Collins
Doha College


“Educators are facing a real challenge at this time. Some are swimming in uncharted waters, while others are virtually drowning. I believe that one of the best ways to keep on top of their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) at this moment is to connect with a peer or a group of peers and form small support groups. In these groups, teachers should draw on each other’s strengths, learn from their colleagues’ expertise and lean on each other for moral and professional support. This is not the time to be going at it alone. We need each other for strength and support.”

Leisa Grace Wilson
Teach Middle East Magazine
United Arab Emirates


“Professional learning should never be confined to learning done in the vacuum of one’s area of specialization. That said, during this unprecedented global pandemic, educators must think beyond the norm of attending a webinar here or there and focus more on building relationships and interest groups. In so doing, different aspects of life can be addressed; example, online professional learning groups in which one can schedule ongoing learning of subjects of interest, collaborate to take action for a cause or interest or even host small group discussions about shared books, blogs or other resources. We can learn great things from each other if we have structured time and conversations. These opportunities I believe, are more authentic avenues for professional development, differentiated professional development and learning as opposed to random webinars you might not even be interested in.


On another note, educators who haven’t yet stepped out of professional learning within their comfort zone – area of expertise- should challenge themselves and do so. Functioning and leading effectively in this era of virtual life demands skills beyond areas of expertise. Leading studies of self-paced short courses, or video/blog/book study groups regarding 21st Century learning skills and soft skills should be prioritized – both for the benefit of students and educators alike. These skills, such as adaptability, taking initiatives, analytical thinking, are needed now more than ever to open up the opportunities for the use of our expert skillsets.”


Sania Green-Reynolds
Director Lit Education LLC
United Arab Emirates


Take advantage of free online courses, such as the one listed below.

Learn new online learning tools, such as:

  • Quizlet
  • Kahoot
  • Ed Puzzle
  • Screencastify
  • There are thousands!

Join social media groups or follow hashtags to learn from peers.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

Art Teacher PD Resources


Heather Meinen
Riffa Views International School



KDSL Global chats with Julio Rivera of Liberate Meditation



KDSL Global collaborates with education businesses around the world. One service we offer is promoting education companies. Our intern Isabella Ellwein had a chance to chat with Julio Rivera of Liberate Meditation. Learn more about this app and his work below.


Why did you create this app? Can you pinpoint a major event or experience you had, as a person of color, that prompted your creation of this app? 


I can remember the first time that I had stepped in a room of a meditation space, full of black and brown beautiful faces. As an Afro-Latino, this made me feel like I was back home with family and on a deeper level, this does something to relax the nervous system. I had this deep experience in this community dedicated to people of color, which helped me feel more relaxed and safe and allowed me to be vulnerable about my challenges. I had struggled with burnout and high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression at that time. This space allowed me to be more vulnerable about everything I was facing. At the end of it, I felt empowered that I could change the relationship with my challenges, that I could overcome suffering and I felt hopeful.


Being in a space that was a dedicated community to people of color was so transformational for me. I did my own research after this experience and I didn’t see many resources for people of color that was geared towards meditation practices. This shocked me. I had a background in software engineering and I had spent 8+ years building mobile apps for a lot of big retail brands. So, I felt like this was my calling, to use my software engineering background and combine it with my love for meditation. My app Liberate was born, which provides meditation resources for people of color.



How has meditation personally helped you overcome adversity faced as a person of color?

As a person of color, we have this inner critic, which is this voice that can be really abusive. It can get in the way of us accomplishing the things we want, telling us that we are not good enough. People of color have been forced to change and assimilate to White America and white culture. We have been told to fit into the system and fall in line. I think over generations, we’ve internalized this as people of color. So, my meditation practice has helped me to see the impacts of colonialism and to be observant of it. It has also helped me be more compassionate towards myself. It has allowed me to move forward in the world with love, with power, with courage, with confidence. It has helped me cultivate a lot of self-love and shown me that I am enough. I know that when I do invest in myself and personal development, it is coming from the desire to expand my love and light, rather than feeling like I need to fix something inherently wrong with me.



What are some of the requirements you are looking for when selecting a teacher to talk and/or guide a meditation?

A big thing for me is personal experience with meditation. A lot of the teachers on the app probably have a decade or more of personal experience with meditation. I also think that it is important to have teachers who are people of color, as these teachers have had a personal experience with adversity and perhaps, internalized their struggles. It’s important for the teachers to have a past path of learning. I like them to have a lineage and connection with past teachers that they go to for guidance and help through their own personal practice. I have curated the team of teachers through a very thoughtful and mindful process. I’m just so grateful that I get the opportunity to work with these really wise folks that have so much to offer to the world. I am excited about giving these teachers a platform to spread and impact people’s lives in so many positive ways.


To learn more about Liberate Meditation visit



IMG_2286 2 (1)

Julio Rivera is the founder of Liberate, a company started to support the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color community in healing and thriving. He started Liberate after experiencing a transformation in self-compassion after becoming apart of a meditation community dedicated for People of Color. After seeing a lack of digital resources to support BIPOC in their meditation practice, he worked with community to create our own.


TIE | Black Lives Matter





“You have to get over the fear of facing the worst in yourself. You should instead fear unexamined racism. Fear the thought that right now, you could be contributing to the oppression of others and you don’t know it. But do not fear those who bring that oppression to light. Do not fear the opportunity to do better.” 
― Ijeoma Oluo, 
So You Want to Talk About Race



Now is the time for us to move beyond contrived statements and to assert action to solidify our collective identity. Now is the time for us to seek the opportunity to learn and not be silent. We therefore call on every stakeholder in international education to committing to action and making our community more socially just. What does the international education community need to do now?


We commit to:


-acknowledge that Black Lives Matter and the racialized experiences, though not a monolith, of people of African descent, regardless of country of origin are shared and felt.


-speak up now about racism and all forms of discrimination in international education as well as how these experiences are perpetuated in international spaces.


-tackle the eradication of racism at all levels including but not limited to (boards, recruitment, accreditation, graduate programs, schools, parents) become aware of our racial and cultural blind-spots by reading about, listening to, collaborating with and implementing sustainable anti-racist practices by championing the voices and contributions of racially and ethnically diverse educators. Focus on anti-racism work.


-have school and organization plans focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion that is co-created with our community.  Commit to partnering with community members that are closest to the problem as they are usually closest to the solution.


-challenge Whiteness, and even White Supremacy, in all its subtle and overt forms. For white educators, we acknowledge benefiting from privilege and structures of oppression against people of color, and we stand now to become part of the solution despite and in spite of current racialized incidents. We commit to become a part of the solution even when political and racial unrest are not at the forefront of the news cycle.


-actively ally with, amplify, and mentor educators of color who come from all parts of the globe. Aspire to be co-conspirators.


-educate our students and parents about the value of racial and ethnic diversity through our conversations, curriculum, and school-community workshops.


-support those international education organizations committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Finally, we ask what do you want to see? What topics do you want to discuss? Who do you want to hear from? What do you want to learn more about? We invite you to participate in our Free Virtual Conference focused on representation, social justice, and equity studies in international education during 14-15 November 2020? To keep the conversation going please add your thoughts, ideas, and questions here:

 Join us at and email us at

Dr. Ashley Hazelwood, AIELOC Fellow

Kevin Simpson, AIELOC Founder

Take the AIELOC Equity Pledge

Meet AIELOC Fellow: Dr. Ashley Marie Hazelwood

Hazelwood Headshot


Dr. Ashley Marie Hazelwood is a dynamic thought-leader and project strategist, skilled in the areas of K-12 and higher education; diversity, equity and inclusion; and capacity-building. Dr. Hazelwood is a generalist, highly proficient in the promotion, accountability, awareness and implementation of equitable and inclusive strategies to facilitate actionable change in order to build community resilience. Dr. Hazelwood has served as an equity-centered researcher, having worked with organizations like Educational Testing Service (ETS), the Council for State School Chief Officers (CCSSO), the United Community Corporation and the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions. Dr. Hazelwood is a trained college professor and facilitator, passionate about creating anti-racist environments in a variety of educational ecosystems. As a new member of the Association of International Educators and Leaders of Color (AIELOC), Dr. Hazelwood is devoted to amplifying the work of international educators and leaders of color.

What if all international schools and leaders…?



What if all international schools and leaders…?



consistently celebrated diversity, fostered equity, and supported inclusion?


removed historical legacies and systemic barriers in the international education space that have been created​?


consistently committed to listening to and learning from diverse voices, experiences, and perspectives?


created and participated in courageous conversations and spaces that encouraged dialogue and the exchange of ideas?


spoke up now about racism and all forms of discrimination in international education and around the world?


became aware of racial and cultural blind-spots by reading about, listening to, and collaborating with racially and ethnically diverse educators?


focused on anti-racism work?


challenged whiteness and white supremacy?


were co-conspirators?


actively amplified and mentored educators of all colors who come from all parts of the globe?


said and believed #BlackLivesMatter?


Join us #IntlEducatorEquity

KDSL Global chats with Ezirim Kennedy of Yagazie Foundation


KDSL Global collaborates with education businesses around the world. One service we offer is promoting education companies. This month the team had a chance to chat with Ezirim Kennedy of Yagazie Foundation. Learn more about this new team and their work below.



Tell us about the Yagazie Foundation.

We are a Nigeria based non-profit organization that operates independently of a government. We are also a group of humanitarians made up of some strategic thinkers who can adapt quickly and respond to changing and pressing needs faster than governmental organizations which require executive and electoral approval for action.

Yagazie Foundation is consistent and well organized in delivery of critically important service such as sustainable Health care, Education, Agriculture and Environmental, Empowerment, Advocacy as well as human right protection.

We have exhibited high level of integrity and transparency in budgeting of effectual action. We have also not failed to acknowledge the importance of foreign expertise within the NGO framework.

Our mission is to motivate potential leaders, offer a sustained opportunity to the voiceless, underserved, unreached and less privileged from disadvantaged background through the provision of quality health care, enhanced education and healthy environment with the aim of impacting a productive lifestyle in order to disconnect them from perilous activities.

Our 3 focus in Yagazie Foundation is to use Sports to solve problems in Education, Health and Environments.




What are your three pillars?


Indicates our drive to challenge ourselves as a team to creatively overcome obstacles and treats to a to a better living.



Reflects our intense passion/interest in adding or creating value where little or none exists, thereby positively transforming the lives of beneficiaries.



Reflects our good-doing mission to our employees, directors, volunteers, stake-holders.




What is the future of education in Nigeria? 

The future of education in Nigeria is dark because the rate of drop out is increasing incessantly as the day goes by. The government is doing what they can and it is not enough to tackle the problems of providing an enabling environment for Students to study and develop in Nigeria. Consequently, this will affect the economy and productivity of the country negatively.


To learn more about the Yagazie Foundation visit




Ezirim C. Kennedy JP is a Global Citizen, Justice of Peace, Ambassador for Peace, Humanitarian, Educationist, SDGs Advocate and a Sports Consultant. He is the Founder of Yagazie Foundation, Yagazie Sports and African Coaches League which serves mankind in different ways respectively. A member of the Alumni Association of Ecole Superieur De Gestion Et De Technologie where he studied International Relations and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree, Kennedy has had leadership roles right from elementary school days onward. He has a passion for leadership and that’s why he took some leadership roles with some local organisations in Nigeria and Africa, such as African Coaches League, Yagazie Foundation, African Youth Leadership & Economic Summit (AYLES) etc. He had some professional trainings with GIZ, British Council, FATE Foundation etc. Kennedy always wants to make an impact and sustained societal development to the people in his jurisdiction or any one he comes in contact with. He also has a passion for peace, leadership, humanity, education, sports, good governance and the execution of projects from the grassroots. Kennedy has organised grassroots education, sports, environmental and peace development program across Nigeria and Africa to help give sustainable resilience to the unreached, underserved and less privileged person from disadvantaged background across Nigeria and other African communities.