Welcome back educators and leaders!

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A student’s desire to learn and effectiveness in learning are enhanced when the learning is personalized, meaning that the student is given greater choice in selecting topics, greater control over the learning environment and learning strategies, greater access to learning resources, and frequent feedback about learning progress. (Sam Redding, S. (2014) Personal Competencies in Personalized Learning. [PDF file]. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University (Center on Innovations in Learning).

 

August 2018

Dear MENA American curriculum educators,

We are excited to welcome each of you back to your respective school. Our focus for this year will be…..personalized learning. We are constantly looking at how we can best support schools, teachers, and students. Here is a sample of what you can expect from us during 2018-2019:

MENA Teacher Summit: An initiative of the ASCD Connected Community in the GCC, the Teacher Summit seeks to improve teaching and learning and connect education professionals throughout the MENA region to the resources provided by ASCD. This regional event is a platform for teachers to engage and learn with renowned educators and scholars. Topics at the summit will address best practices in leadership, data, curriculum, and English Language Arts, Math and Science. Visit menateachersummit.com to learn more about this event based in Dubai.

Micro-credentials: Micro-credentials are a digital form of certification indicating that an educator has demonstrated their application of a specific competency. Educators must apply their learning in their practice and collect a portfolio of evidence, thereby demonstrating their competence. Micro-credentials are competency-based, research-backed, on-demand, personalized, and shareable (Bloomboard for Schools).

MENA Arts White Paper: How are the Core Arts Standards being implemented in the MENA region? This paper will explore questions and provide educators with resources.

MENALearns Portal: MENALearns will be an online learning platform for American curriculum educators. MLP will offer tools and resources connected to curriculum, instruction, assessment, professional learning, and more. This portal will launch in September 2018.

 

To a great year!

 

Kevin Simpson

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KDSL Global interviews Collective Learning

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How can collaborative learning systems best benefit schools? KDSL Global recently had the opportunity to interview Dr. Sarah A. Boswell to learn more about the approach at her company called Collective Learning. Dr. Boswell is a scholar-leader who continues to lead change in schools.  Her international experience and research interests serve as the catalyst for her success in helping teachers globally become leaders of their learning & well-being. Her international experiences with teachers range from exploring teacher support programs in Ghana, West Africa, designing curriculum for teachers in Liberia, West Africa to training teachers in United Arab Emirates and Jakarta, Indonesia.

What are the most common problems CLS sees improving for schools?

Collaborative Learning Systems (CLS) seek to improve for schools their ability to maximize teachers’ talents … helping teachers tap into their personal power. We believe effectively and authentically navigating teachers’ personal power allows their talents and expertise to thrive is the first ingredient in handling common concerns relating to teacher retention, teacher satisfaction, teacher quality, and teacher efficacy.

Through our process of establishing collaborative learning systems in schools, we build in the necessary components within the school’s culture that creates a productive, safe, mutually respective environment for sharing and learning. These components include trust and rapport, healthy communication and listening skills, and reflection and application. Teachers are at the core of designing, facilitating these systems. Hence allowing them to gain a sense of ownership as well as an opportunity to utilize their expertise, ingenuity, and knowledge. They guide the process for effective learning, problem solving and innovation. It becomes an inner support for teacher consisting of teachers.

An article I recently read regarding teacher burnout coined a term that I have not heard before, demoralization. It shares that burnout and demoralization can both lead to teachers’ dissatisfaction but distinguishes them way by saying that burnout – requires individual teachers to determine the resolve via mindset, stress management remedies, etc. But the author, Doris Santoro, states that demoralization relates more so to the conflict that teachers have between their desire to do good work and what is expected by school policy. Therefore, placing some of the resolve on the system versus only on the individual teacher regarding burnout.

I do recommend one to read the article in its entirety (The link is below). An example of a moral conflict she shares that I feel many can relate to is: “Failing to meet students’ learning needs due to a scripted curriculum or mandated textbook.” Conversations relating to this are commonly seen or heard in the teachers’ lounges, grade level meetings, etc. but hardly ever brought up to school leadership as an area of concern to try to resolve. Yet, Ms. Santaro indicates through her over 10 years of research in the area of teacher dissatisfaction, she’s noticing these and other similar conflicts are a key cause of teacher dissatisfaction. She gives one good example of a teacher named “Diana” who had brought up moral conflict to leadership who in turn dismissed her point of view and considered it unprofessional.

So the point that I am making here by bringing up this article (besides I think every teacher and leader should read it) is I’m grateful to the author for bringing attention to an elephant in the room that needs to be addressed. By being a teacher and working with teachers via my teacher conversations (coaching sessions) and/or my teacher collaborative (teacher group discussion) these conflicts –where teachers have to decide between what is in the best interest of children and the expectation of school policy and practice — are not new.

My service to teachers stems from wanting to help teachers to navigate, within their realm of control, strategies to manage and effectively cope with these systemic situations. Being able to change the situation has never been the resolve nor could it be or would it ever be. BUT what Collective Learning has been successful in doing is giving teachers an opportunity to talk productively and exploring what can be done and create a strategy towards it. That mere momentum can shift the feelings of helplessness and victimization, a source of unhappiness and dissatisfaction, to a feeling of hope and possibility.

Teachers are often aware of the top down organizational models that they are walking into when they decide to teach. Yet they still do for the love of teaching and impacting the lives of children. What my CLS models do is teach ways to create space to pause, and allow teachers individually or collectively to use their ingenuity to create solutions, strategies, alternatives to manage the day to day events in their work lives stemming from their own professional learning needs and beyond. Going back to the article, the author speaks about the need for leaders to first identify the true cause of teacher dissatisfaction and continues to offer leaders suggestions of ways to respond to the moral concerns of teachers.

Read the article to get all of them. However, the themes of her suggestions include the concepts of communication and listening (key concepts of CLS process). One specific suggestion states to invite teachers to write a proposal to resolve and address conflicts within their work. That is an awesome idea & my Teacher Collaborative is the perfect solution to facilitate a discussion among teachers to create a concise proposal.

But here is where I think the author and many, many other people tend to create the gap when asking teachers to do things like common planning time, professional learning communities, co-teaching, and write a proposal with your colleagues. I think you get my point.

BUT … if the school culture has not gone through some sort of trust and rapport building to create safe space, have not provided learning around productive and polite conversation protocols for tough topics, have not practiced effective ways to listen and respond, then why do you think teachers will all of sudden be able to effectively comfortably openly honestly delve into these collaborative open system mechanisms for resolution, innovation and progression? Then when it doesn’t work leading to the potential of having the cycle of demoralization continuing.

With all the great intentions of so many researchers, school policy makers, school leaders and administrations –wanting to create collaborative concepts among teachers in schools … to apply distributive leaderships in schools … to have teachers openly share their concerns with schools …. they are sometimes remised in not tapping into the pulse of teachers and developing effective safe group dynamics needed in an educational system that has historically focused on and been driven by isolation, individualism, authoritative models of governing and functioning.

It’s a process to genuinely create these safe collaborate environments but starting is the key. I understand that schools generally are working from a product result oriented intention but it’s my sincere belief that schools will need to shift to embracing “process” and celebrating the change as it occurs incrementally over time.

So what does CLS seek to improve in schools? We seek to close the gap. Doing so by offering solutions that help school cultures be open and safe environments where teachers’ talent and personal power can be safely and respectfully expressed and utilized to co-create with leadership resolves around whatever is needed. This could be their professional learning, stream lining the curriculum, best ways to handle lunch duty, value conflicts that impact their work, etc. With the key goal of keeping in mind the interest of all involved in order to best serve and meet the needs of students.

How does using CLS improve things for teachers and students?

CLS improves things for teachers by giving them tools to help them improve things for themselves. We believe teachers come into the schoolhouse with much valuable knowledge. Teachers’ talents can be best maximized when given a means to identify problems, a process to resolve it, a procedure to evaluate and revise it, if needed. That’s what CLS does. We give them the means, processes, and procedures to facilitate self-guided improvements.

So what’s the source of CLS success. It is organically and authentically driven by teachers’ needs. If they have issues dealing with a student in the classroom, they can have a teacher collaborative around it that fosters a structured way to creatively brainstorm solutions. If the school decided to implement the 4C’s of a Learning Culture then they can engage peer collaboration where they see peers in action and have a constructive learning conversation around the teacher specific learning need.

But again, these solutions aren’t just collaborative models that are dumped onto teachers. We build the foundation for healthy safe collaboration to occur. Now things improve for the students by being the beneficiaries of teachers who are open and comfortable to sharing their skills and talents; to maintaining and even innovating new approaches to teaching and learning.

And other sweet benefit or improvement for students includes teachers who are happier, who have an increased level of teacher efficacy, teachers excited about coming to their work environment and showing up in the best possible way they can.

I am not trying to create this Polly Anna world of teaching … there will be situations, experiences, and encounters that will not be able to be resolved or resolved to the satisfaction of people involved. BUT having a system in place where the mere support of a listening ear and validation could make a world of difference in the life of teachers.

 

Does CLS require a large host of teachers to actively collaborate? Or could a smaller school use it?

Nope definitely not! School size does not matter. What’s awesome about our CLS solutions is that it’s geared toward meeting individual, team, and organization needs. This stems from our theories derived from the concepts of organizational development and dimensions of a learning organization.

Our Teacher Conversations are geared toward teachers who want to engage in a one-on-one conversation about their practice, dilemma, and/or ambitions with a professional coach outside of the school. Teacher Collaborative provides opportunity for supportive teams to convene for learning and/or problem solving purposes. The 4C’s of a Learning Culture is a school-wide process for providing ongoing learning for teachers.

The size only constitutes the amount of knowledge that is resting under one roof. However the ability to share, learn, grow, and innovate from that knowledge has no barring on the size of the school. The only thing required for CLS are teachers and school leaders who are open to the positive and productive impact that teachers’ talents (their personal power) have on creating, innovating, and problem solving solutions within schools.

 

To learn more about Collective Learning Systems visit https://www.clteachertalent.com/ and to read the ASCD article referenced go to https://tinyurl.com/ya46qasn.

 

 

Our KDSL Global Fellow at FLIBS

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The International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme is a VERY rigorous programme for scholars at select primary and secondary schools. This programme’s international component is unique, but in a way that can be beneficial for today’s learners. This program has intentionally modeled the standard college experience. After the completion of this program, scholars earn advanced college credits and have the potential for scholarships. After receiving an invitation to be sent to training with the Florida Association of IB World Schools (FLIBS), there was no way I could decline. In this blog post I will share with you my recent experience.

The first day of training was the most beneficial for me. This day was used for opening the floor for questions from my group. Our instructor would address each of our main concerns about the curriculum of IB. I have to make one small disclaimer as to why this worked for my group. The biology group was a small one, consisting of seven educators. This was the best part for me! It allowed the instructor to be more personal with our questions, comments, and concerns, which made it a more engaging and valuable. I’m sure that most people who love their content felt eager to expand their professional development making day one the most exciting. Day two was spent breaking down the three core elements that every scholar has to show mastery on in order to obtain the diploma. The three core elements are Theory of knowledge (TOK), extended essay (EE), and creativity, activity, and service, which is often referred to as CAS. The three core elements are similar to what you would see in college. For example, when I was a biology major during university the only “papers” I had to write were in my general education classes. My life was creating a schedule for myself to finish labs and the reports that went with them. Congruently, this is what an IB scholar would experience in their science content course. If you are immersed in the world of IB, then time management and organization is imperative. As per my instructor, not often does IB request certain material from you, but if you are audited, it is best to keep documentation on what is happening in your class. Day three was a half day to recap on anything that may have been unclear and to tie everything we had learned together in a way we can feel confident to implement IB practices in our classroom this fall.

Overall, I had a great experience at training! My instructor did a phenomenal job of pacing, integrating hands-on tasks, and clarity of explaining which really made me want to be invited into his classroom. In the future I hope to return to FLIBS for level 2-3 training.

 

Tiffany Johnson
9th Grade Biology Teacher
KDSL Global Fellow
Website: www.kdslglobal.com
Twitter: @KDSL07 and @sayscienceTEM

Meet our KDSL Global Summer Interns

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Vamsi Krishna grew up in Dubai and currently is a new student in The Gems Modern Academy. Previously he attended The Indian High School. This is his first internship experience but Vamsi have done loads of volunteering work at various camps and events. He has been on the school’s cricket team and House team at his previous school. Vamsi has a science background with a focus on subjects like Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, English Language, English Literature and Business Studies. He is eager to learn lots and gain experience in this internship.

 

Jenessa Dsilva has earned her Indian Certificate of Secondary Education in April 2018 from GEMS Modern Academy, Dubai. She developed interest in business related education and is currently pursuing ISC grade 11 Business Studies, Economics and she has major interest in studying Psychology as well. She has always been articulate in writing and has discovered Fine Arts as one of her passions. All through her schooling each year she participates in several charity related activities and is enthusiastic about giving back to the society. During her free time she loves to read nonfiction books and sketch out some art pieces. During one of the summer school activities she has helped develop an innovation lab along with her peers at school. In the future she seeks to attain a career in the field of Psychology along with Art.

 

 

ASCD selects the first Emerging Leader based in the Middle East

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DUBAI, UAE, July 8 2018 – ASCD is excited to announce the selection of educators for its 2018 class of emerging leaders. The Emerging Leaders program recognizes and prepares young, promising educators to influence education programs, policy, and practice on both the local and national levels.

Educators selected for the Emerging Leaders program have been in the education profession for 5–15 years; demonstrate a passion for learning, teaching, and leading; come from a diverse range of positions, locations, cultural backgrounds, and perspectives; hold promise as leaders; and are committed to ASCD’s beliefs and to pursuing leadership opportunities. Following the nomination process, this year’s leaders were chosen by an advisory panel composed of ASCD staff, education thought leaders, and emerging leader alumni.

The first Emerging Leader has been selected who is based in the United Arab Emirates. Ashley Green’s passion for global education has led to her teaching in classrooms and collaborating with teachers from all over the world. Her desire to become a global educator began when she taught students in England, and had the chance to make connections between the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program and Common Core standards. Since then, she’s honed those skills in Dubai; in both Elementary and Middle school settings as a full time classroom practitioner.

Ashley is a lifelong learner and believes that while she is an educator; she will always be striving to improve her own practice. She’s currently employed at Universal American School in Dubai. Ashley holds a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction and has developed and written curriculums for English, Language Arts and Mathematics for grades 3-8. She obtained a Gifted Endorsement in 2015 and also served as an ambassador for Gifted and Talented Education in Georgia, USA. She will be a featured speaker at the MENA Teacher Summit held during 5-6 October in Dubai. Visit www.menateachersummit.com for more information.

To learn more about ASCD’s other programs, products, services, and memberships, visit www.ascd.org. To learn about the GCC ASCD Connected Community visit www.gccascd.com.

 

ABOUT ASCD

ASCD is dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading so that every child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. ASCD’s innovative solutions promote the success of each child.  

ABOUT GCC ASCD Connected Community

The GCC ASCD Connected Community is to unite educators throughout the region, inspiring all of us to learn globally and teach locally.

 

PRESS CONTACT

Kevin Simpson, KDSL Global, kevin@kdslglobal.com

KDSL Global Education Branding Project

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Are you interested in becoming an education consultant? Starting up a new education company? Scaling up your education business?

Then join KDSL Global during  22-28 July 2018 for the Education Branding Project. This week long online journey will provide you with daily tasks leading to a toolkit.

For more information email kdslglobalinfo@gmail.com.

 

Testimonials from previous participants:

“Thank you, Kevin, for being an invaluable resource! As you know, I am new to the world of education consulting and you are the ONLY resource I have found to answer my questions related to building the business. You not only provided timely responses to all of my questions, but also you have made me feel comfortable about asking those sensitive kinds of questions, like pricing, that I cannot answer on my own. You are a wealth of information, and I appreciate your willingness to share your expertise individually and through the upcoming workshop.”

“My work with Kevin Simpson through his ED Branding program has been an incredible resource for me as I establish my consulting business. Not only did I learn a lot during the initial sessions, Kevin’s continued support and referrals have been invaluable to me.”

“Kevin Simpson has a talent for conveying in simple steps something daunting like starting a consulting business. During the week-long gig Kevin guides you with practical information and motivation to keep you going to achieve your goals. It’s a great way to connect with others and start to build your ED network.”

 

 

Teachers Supporting Teachers

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At Teachers Supporting Teachers they believe that the students of Chicago deserve an excellent education, and that begins with our teachers.

 

Our KDSL Global Fellow Tiffany Johnson recently attended the TST Spring Elite Teacher Leader Networking Session in Chicago.  One aspect of the fellowship includes attending and creating leadership opportunities in your local context. Below is her reflection.

I’m writing this because the past event put together by Teachers Supporting Teachers (TST) was an opportunity that no Chicago educator should not have missed. I left feeling inspired from spending a day networking with some of the top educators in the city. But, I want to assure you that the founders of Teachers Supporting Teachers will be hosting more events that I recommend you attend. The location of the event was in the Willis (Sears to the old school Chicagoans) Tower where about 60 people in the field of education congregated. There were three breakout sessions that everyone had the opportunity to attend. All of these sessions were interactive and most importantly all focused on leadership. At the end of the event, TST mentioned that they are available for 1:1 mentoring with schools, which is something that many people, including myself, showed interest in. In the future, I recommend you attend any event TST puts together, because you will meet a variety of resource rich people.

 

To learn more about Teachers Supporting Teachers visit http://tstnfp.org/

 

 

Global Schools Network

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KDSL Global Founder Kevin Simpson is a new member of the Advisory Committee for the Global Schools Network Power by P21.  The network is a community of schools committed to inclusive and equitable quality education for all with a focus on global awareness, global competence, cultural competence, and linguistic development.

 

The Goals of the network are to:

Increase global connections between teachers, students, and school leaders.

Increase global competence, global awareness, and linguistic competence among teachers, students, and educational leaders.

Expand recognition of successful organization and program models.

 

To learn more please visit https://p21global.org/.