- Begin by drafting a plan that all of your staff can have input on. Brainstorm all of the things you think are necessary, practical and feasible based on your goals, resources and current global situation. This includes non-instructional staff. Everyone may have a perspective that may not be readily evident unless you have a variety of views. What do you want to accomplish? Google Docs are great for planning, time-saving and convenient in or out of the workplace.
- Ensure clear expectations (uniform criteria)
- Compact curriculum
- Cover essentials only
- Minimize assignments
- Refrain from formal grading
- Make some of it fun!
- Give Feedback/Support
We are using Google Meet. For those folks required by your local education authority (LEA) to implement online learning, choose one of the many platforms to hold meetings online for discussion on some of your school’s online initiatives. Most are now free to access. For some of our international schools, this may be difficult, as most VOIPs are blocked. However, some countries, like Oman have suspended restrictions due to the crisis at hand.
Yesterday I found out my former Head of School in Dubai (GEMS World Academy) passed away. In one of our emails he asked me to do an interview. This blog post is dedicated to him.
- How would describe your leadership style? How has it evolved over the years and why?
I see myself as a coaching leader. Many times I enjoy supporting teammates in fulfilling their goals and providing feedback to aid in growth. The one on one interaction and finding out where people are and how to best be of assistance is where I get energy.
- Who are your leadership idols and why?
My business advisor Alister Aranha as he always ask great questions and pushes my thinking.
John Ritter, one of my first international school heads, because of his wealth of knowledge and experience around school leadership.
Cynthia Buck was the first principal who hired me in Virginia. She set forth a clear vision and was always supportive with our team goals and my personal goals.
- What is your greatest leadership success?
Setting up a company in a country outside of the USA. This was done in 2013 in Dubai. There was a lot to learn but so worth the journey.
- What’s the toughest leadership challenge you’ve faced?
Being comfortable speaking up and out about issues related to diversity, inclusion, and equity in the international education space.
- Looking forward in your current role, what excites and motivates you as a leader?
Interacting with future talent in the present. This is built into our KDSL Global Fellowship Program. In one year these educators learn more about entrepreneurship and launch a new product or service.
- What lessons in leadership are you still hoping to learn?
Focusing on a few things would be something I need to revisit. In the past I would choose 3 big things to focus on daily.
- Do you see your role also a leadership mentor and trainer? Is succession planning at all levels in the organisation important you? How do you achieve this?
I see myself as a leadership learner. This is due to being willing to learn from others based on their experiences. Legacy thinking started with the fellowship program we set up in 2017. It was the idea of how do you give back to the new and next generation of those who work in education? We empowered consultants to start their own ventures and engage in a range of projects. This was my experience which allowed me to learn lots about what I enjoyed and what I did not.
A big change is coming in 2020 at KDSL Global around planning ahead. More to come in the near future.
- What’s your advice to experienced school leaders looking for the next big step?
Learn what you can where you are. Write down and work on your next big thing but do not allow it to consume you. This may make you miss out on lessons and learning in your current context.
- What’s your advice to inexperienced leaders in school looking for the first big step?
It would still be learn what you can where you are. Seek a mentor who can serve as a guide. Seek and sign up for opportunities to serve as a leader wherever you are currently working.
- And finally, how do you relax?
Just pausing and taking a break from work
I’m crushed to hear the news of your departure. You are the reason I came to Dubai. Your vision and leadership were impeccable. I feel you tricked me as well when I found out upon arrival that I’d be teaching the daughter of the Head of School.
Thank you for checking in with me & encouraging me to pursue my goals and dreams. You signed every form I brought your way when I wanted to learn, grow, and develop. I’ll miss our updates.
In today’s international education leadership space I find few like you. You hired a Black man to teach at what was then the most expensive IB school in Dubai during 2008. I didn’t put my photo on my CV. On our phone interview I learned about you & your expectations.
You shared leadership opportunities & served as a reference for me countless times, connected me with education leaders around the world, and added me on your team.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve, learn, and for being a true leader.
KDSL Global recently had an opportunity to interview Nicole Fedio, one of our math consultants based in Saudi Arabia. She recently collaborated with our company in Egypt and was a presenter at the Middle East Maths Teachers Conference in Dubai.
Tell us about Mathematique.
Mathematique is a boutique mathematics consulting business. When I think of it, an image immediately pops into my head. It’s a Venn Diagram that first appeared in the Toronto Star in 2016 (see graphic below). Mathematique sits firmly in the center of the four overlapping circles: ‘What I love’, ‘What the world needs’, ‘What I can be paid for’, and ‘What I’m good at.’ After two decades of math teaching and math coaching experience, launching Mathematique allows me to share my deep and passionate love for exploring the teaching and learning of mathematics with others, centered by those four prompts.
What I bring to mathematics consulting is my dedication to the craft of coaching. It was after working with hundreds of teachers as a coach that I decided I wanted to venture out on my own as an independent consultant. Providing quality professional development to educators is more than just delivering content. It’s about building relationships. It’s about asking participants the right questions so they form their own understanding of the material. It’s coaching adults to answer their own questions. If we want our students to become problem solvers and good questioners, then we must first model this as educators. The mission of Mathematique is to empower educators with the mathematical expertise needed to inspire the problem solvers of the future. And my vision is to live in a world where I never hear, ‘but I can’t do math’ ever again.
What do you say to people who say they aren’t a math person?
When people claim they can’t do math or say, ‘but I’m not a math person’ my first response is to ask why. Too many people carry trauma from the way they were taught math in school. Too often I hear, ‘I used to like math until…’ I think one of the main issues is how narrowly we have defined what it means to ‘do math.’ As a coach, I worked at a school where I would regularly share intriguing math problem solving activities with teachers. The PE teacher loved solving them. Her solutions were unique and showed a complex level of understanding of the problems. Without fail, after finding a solution she would say, ‘but I’m not a maths person. I didn’t take maths past grade 10.’’ In her mind, maths was complicated formulas, algorithms, and something that she still could not access. It was not problem solving, finding patterns, or making meaning out of data. One goal I have is to expand the definition of what it means to be a ‘math person.’
Three things you would share with a new math educator.
When working with new math educators, I first remind them to be kind to themselves and to give themselves some grace. Teaching is such a wonderful profession because it’s never the same day twice. And that is both a blessing and a curse. We are continually growing, learning, and evolving as educators. When I think back to some of the things I did in my first few years of teaching, I cringe and want to write blanket apology letters to all of my former students. Instead, I can reflect on what I would now do differently given the same circumstances and help others not to repeat my mistakes. Secondly, I would advise new math educators to dive into the art of questioning. Questioning is key. Asking the right questions of both their students and themselves is a pathway to growth. When a student asks a math question to which the teacher does not know the answer, consider that a great learning opportunity. It’s OK not to know and to research the question together with the student. Or, it’s perfectly fine to take the time to come back to the student later with an answer. And thirdly, find your positive math community. Surround yourself with people who are excited about the teaching and learning of mathematics and trying new things. Your community might include colleagues at your school, or it might be a virtual community online. Find the people like me who will help nurture your inner mathematician and encourage you to keep asking the necessary questions of both yourself and of your students.
Nicole Fedio is an independent mathematics consultant at Mathematique Consulting. With two decades of experience as an educator, Nicole taught high school mathematics in Ghana, Venezuela, Guatemala, Boston, Seattle, India and China. For four years, she was the K-12 district math coach for a group of six international schools in Saudi Arabia. She earned a B.S. in Mathematics from Penn State University and a M.Ed. in Teaching and Curriculum from Harvard University. She is a National Board certified teacher.
She holds a deep and passionate love for exploring the teaching and learning of mathematics. She finds joy in helping others find their inner passion for the subject. Her vision is to live in a world where she never hears, “but I can’t do math” ever again by supporting teachers to rewrite their students’ mathematical stories. Follow her on Twitter @NicoleFedio
The fourth Middle East Maths Teachers Conference was held on February 22, 2020, at Le Meridien Dubai Hotel and Conference Centre and brought together, School Leaders, Maths Advisors, Education Consultants and Mathematics Educators, from all over the Middle East and beyond, for a jam-packed day of learning and networking, with the main aim of advancing the teaching and learning of Mathematics in classrooms. The first Middle East Maths Teachers Conference was held on March 11, 2017, under the theme Active Maths…Engaged Learning. Since then, the Middle East Maths Teachers Conference has become the must-attend event for teachers of Mathematics from the Middle East and even further afield.
KDSL Global Math Consultant Dr. Cory Bennett served as the keynote speaker. He is a passionate educator who strives for equity in learning for all students. As a global consultant and an Associate Professor of Education specializing in curriculum and instruction, he has worked with educators throughout the United States and across the Middle East, Europe, Australia, and Asia.
KDSL Global Senior Associate Ashley S. Green led two days of professional learning in Kuwait focused on student-centered learning a part of our new collaboration with GTL Training. They are an international tailored training provider for public and private institutions around the world.
Welcome GTL Training to the KDSL Global family!
Photos by Sally Michael
The KDSL Global Team hosted a Meet Up for UAE Social Studies Teachers on 20 January at The Workshop in Dubai. Thank you to our partners at Novel Philosophy Academy, The Global Sleepover, MENA Learns, and Sandstruck in the UAE.
The week of February 22-29, 2020 will mark the first annual Dubai Education week. This will be a jam-packed week of activities for educators and education enthusiasts from Dubai as well as visitors to the city from all over the globe.
The United Arab Emirates and Dubai is a hub for innovation in education. During this week there will be several opportunities for visitors to witness first hand all that Dubai and the country’s education industry has to offer.
For more information visit https://dubaieducationweek.com/.