Online Teaching in Brazil

KDSL Global recently had the opportunity to connect with Fatma Trabelsi for a quick check in about her experience teaching online. She is a grade 4 teacher at Graded – The American School of Sao Paulo in Brazil. Fatma was recently celebrated for being innovative an committed to student learning in the new age of distance.

 

How is your distance learning experience?

I should say things are getting better and easier. I am working my way through all the technology features of the tools that I have never expected to use before! Yet this whole transition is extremely draining as it requires a lot of pre-planning and consistency.  If I can use an analogy this whole distance learning is like an airplane prior to take-off. The sound, the spinning, the speed, the fuel, the orientation are all set before the take off. That’s why I find it inspiring and exhausting at the same time.

 

 

What technology are you using?

At Graded, we are entering our third week of distance learning. The dust is gently getting settled.  The first week resulted in long hours of work in front of screen, serious exhaustion, several meetings with grade level teachers and designing the best possible plan to serve both parents and students of our grade level. Yes, we lacked sleep and we were tense. Surveys were sent at the end of the week to check if things went well. We were surely happy with the survey results.

In the lower school, we are all using Google Classroom, Brainpop for reading assignments/ Science. Screencastify for morning messages and mini-lessons, and Edulastic for standardized assessment. For regular check-in we use Flip Grid. Obviously, all the Google resources / extensions are used to support our presentations and enhance our mini-lessons. Our library has a bunch of online resources that became quite helpful in these days.

 

 

One message you want to share with your scholars.  

For all other scholars, it is important to remain calm, clear-headed and positive. We remain the familiar and the inspiring figures in our students’ lives. They need us now most as uncertainty and doubt veils their days. As educators we also need to empower each other and support those who need more help. This is a serious time where we need to show solidarity and compassion in both in action and words.

 

 

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Fatma Trabelsi is an experienced international educator with eighteen years of teaching and leading experience in different international schools across North Africa, the Middle East, Europe, South East Asia and South America. Over the years, she has gained deep understanding of the IB programme as well as the American curriculum. My recent work experience was the American curriculum with a major focus on the workshop model in literacy and math. She has been involved in IB re- authorization visits and CIS/WASC re-accreditation meetings at organizational level.

Throughout her teaching journey, she has often found herself actively engaged with the school growth and development. Fatma has a MA in Education, BA in English Language and literature, TEFL certification, and several years of teaching experience in international schools. Beside her qualifications, she received training as CIS visiting school member and  has recently completed a TTC workshop on leadership tools in international schools offered by Bambi Betts along with Middle Leadership course delivered by Nord Anglia.

Thank you, Stuart Dennis

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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.

 

Hello Kevin,
Maybe you’ll consider to do an interview  as part of my little series of interview articles for LinkedIn. Honestly, this is nothing more than a intellectual stimulation for me whilst I’m going through chemo again. However, a great way to connect with amazing people like you.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. And finally, how do you relax? 

Meditating

Running

Reading

Just pausing and taking a break from work
Stuart, ‬
‪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.‬

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

10 to know in education in the UAE in 2017

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In celebration of ten years serving the global education community we are highlighting ten to know in education in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) in 2017. The UAE was selected since the founder has been based here the majority of the last ten years. Each person will be shared throughout this year. Our ninth person to know is Dr. Sudha Sunder.

Sudha started her teaching career in 1999 and has taught students from grade 2 through grade 12. She currently serves as an Affiliate Consultant for the Council of International Schools and Associate Consultant for KDSL Global.

A post-graduate diploma holder in computer science, and a Master’s degree holder in Business Administration and Accountancy, she became a part of the IB community in 2006 and taught the IB Course Information Technology in a Global Society (ITGS), and soon became an examiner in the subject. Although Sudha was quickly drawn to the interdisciplinary nature of this subject and the IB philosophy of teaching for deep conceptual understanding versus the regurgitation of factual knowledge, she also experienced and resonated with the challenges teachers faced in putting curriculum design principles (that they appreciated in theory) into practice.

Inspired by her own experiences, Sudha decided to certify with Dr. Lynn Erickson in concept-based curriculum and instruction, at the Lynn Erickson Institute in Whitefish, Montana, USA, in 2011. Ever since, she has become a much sought after facilitator in many IB schools for coaching teachers in concept-based curriculum and instruction. Currently, her work spans over seven countries.

An introduction to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) happened while she was serving as the head of the curriculum committee at the Universal American School in Dubai, UAE. As a curriculum design enthusiast, she was very drawn towards the three-dimensional structure of the NGSS and the NGSS’s potential to foster interdisciplinary teaching at the conceptual level (through the crosscutting concepts) and to put into classroom practice the factual and conceptual elements in science learning. She took on every opportunity that would allow engagement in understanding, unpacking and debating on the potential challenges involved in adopting and implementing the NGSS.

In 2013, she presented a paper at the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Common Core Conference convened in Dubai. This was followed by a number of hands-on interactive workshops at conferences and schools that particularly focused on enabling teachers unpack and understand the crosscutting concept component of the NGSS. During this time, she also published an article titled “Fostering Scientific Inquiry through the NGSS” in the Teach UAE Magazine.

It was around this time that Sudha became a Curriculum Reviewer in the IB, Maryland, USA, for a pilot project called “Building a Quality curriculum”. Through this project Sudha reviewed and offered feedback for PYP curriculum documents (both Units of Inquiry and Programmes of Inquiry) for schools in the United States, Europe and India.

The more Sudha mentored, trained, and worked with teachers in curriculum and instruction, the stronger she was convinced that while teachers understand and appreciate the value and notion of teaching for conceptual understanding, putting this into practice in the classroom is indeed challenging. Sudha strongly believes that understanding curriculum design principles involved in three-dimensional concept-based curriculum and instruction is key to addressing this challenge. At present, Sudha continues to present workshops and papers to empower teachers in American IB schools across countries such as Kuwait, Oman, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, UAE, Qatar and India.

As a part-time doctoral research student at the University of Bath in the UK (since 2008), Sudha also decided to explore teacher perceptions in school-based curriculum development initiatives as her doctoral dissertation, which she eventually defended in 2015, with none other than Professor Jeff Thompson and Professor David Phillips from Oxford. Sudha believes that she cleared her viva with no further recommendations or modifications is testimonial to the many teacher voices she has gathered over her work spanning over 7 years in IB/international schools. Sudha’s doctoral dissertation Abstract is now published on SAGE. Sudha writes and publishes articles on the role of ongoing professional development for international educators. A recent one can be accessed here: http://www.cois.org/page.cfm?p=3078

 

Sudha believes that her own journey of learning and transitioning as a teacher in the IB programme and her passion for fostering scientific inquiry amongst students through real-world connection and sustained inquiry has been instrumental in digging deeper into the NGSS. This, along with her strong understanding of curriculum design principles involved in unpacking and implementing three-dimensional curricular frameworks provided her with the knowledge, understanding, skills and experience to explore the breadth and the depth of the NGSS, particularly so in helping IB educators see how the two complement each other in a powerful “synergistic” (Erickson, 2012) fashion. Commissioned by the IB, Sudha has co-authored the IB-NGSS Dual Implementation Report now available for IB schools in the US, available here: http://blogs.ibo.org/blog/2016/12/09/aligning-the-next-generation-science-standards- ngss-with-ib-curricula/

Sudha’s wider research interest includes the role of ongoing professional development for 21st century teachers. Sudha presented her research findings in 2015 at the American Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies (AAACS) at the George Washington University, D.C. She has now been invited to serve as a member of the AAACs Task force.

More about Sudha’s work in curriculum and Instruction can be accessed here:

https://www.tlinternational.org/

 

Dubai-Based Consultants Train Teachers around the Globe to Understand Why ‘English Only’ is a Bad Policy

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Two Dubai-based educational consultants, Francesca McGeary and Alison Schofield are making big waves around the world by educating teachers about working with bilingual and multilingual learners (BMLs).

Having lived and worked in the UAE over the past 12 years, the two have written a book and teacher-training programme based on 3 years of research. Their focus is to help teachers work with students who do not speak English as a first language, but who attend English-medium schools. The two have launched their work at the IB Conference of the Americas in Toronto last summer. Since then, they have trained international teachers in Germany, Ecuador, Egypt and Montenegro.

“Our research has shown us that bilingual and multilingual learners are the fastest-growing student population in the world today,” says McGeary. “Whether we look at the US, Canada, or the UK, the figures show dramatic increases in the number of learners who speak another language at home. This creates a huge problem because the large majority of teachers, regardless of what country they are in, do not receive any additional training to understand and work with BMLs effectively. They do not have a knowledge base about the language-learning process these students undergo when learning English. This can lead to all kinds of problems, including students being misunderstood and misdiagnosed with learning disorders or speech and language delays.

“In schools today, the dominant terminology used to describe bilingual and multilingual learners represents a glass half-empty because words like English language learner (ELL) and students learning English as an additional language (EAL) do not remind teachers that students are bilingual or multilingual and that there are many strengths that come along with that.” McGeary, who speaks several languages herself, receives a great deal of positive attention about her multilingualism, but says that young students acquiring English are often viewed from a deficit perspective in schools. “In general, teachers are caring and have good intentions but they simply have not received the right training.

Schofield goes on to explain that many schools emphasise ‘English only’ because they are not aware that a student with a strong mother-tongue language can actually have an easier time learning English. “Many schools tell parents to start speaking English at home if the child goes to school in English. This is the wrong advice. Schools need to promote bilingualism in their policies and practices in order to support students in becoming strong in both or all of their languages. That is what we help schools with.”

McGeary states that there is a big demand for their services around the world but she also thinks that teachers working in the UAE and Gulf region would greatly benefit from training as well. “In expatriate countries, English is so widespread that it can easily take over the mother-tongue languages of the region, like Arabic, for example. This can dilute the culture, since language and culture are deeply connected. These countries need even more highly-trained teachers and strong educational policies to ensure students’ own languages are protected.

The authors also offer an accreditation award for schools that apply strong training, policies and practises. Recognising a school as a School of Excellence for Bilingual and Multilingual Learners is a step in the right direction for showcasing schools that value and promote bilingualism and multiculturalism.

The authors run their online training institute at: www.educatorsofbmls.com  

 

CONTACT:

Alison Schofield Co-Founder IngeniousEd. (+971) 50 398 3518 alison@ingenioused.com

Kevin Simpson Founder KDSL Global|USA Affiliate (312) 478 1695 kevin@kdslglobal.com

 

Introducing KDSL Global Intern – Matthew Diprose

On the cusp of graduating from the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, Matthew Diprose is using this part of his school life to gain practical experience before university. A creative and dedicated intellectual student, Matthew grew up learning that effort and time bred results, but practical experience is as important to learning as any textbook. He is taking the opportunity presented to him to broaden his understanding of the world before heading to university. Matthew has always enjoyed volunteering whether this is marshalling for the Dubai rugby sevens, assisting with conferences such as the MENA Teacher Summit, helping make presentations for in school clubs or working on student films, Matthew does what he can for those around him.Matthew is enthusiastic about learning and as such, is focused on gaining greater experience and knowledge for when he faces university and beyond. He wants to use this time to improve his management and efficiency skills for future endeavours.

Aligning the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) with IB curricula

Are you an IB teacher in the US and grappling with how to align the requirements of both the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) with your IB programme? We asked Dr Sudha Sunder from KDSL Global, to tell us about NGSS and the new resource for IB teachers that she produced in collaboration with several science educators and Achieve (the organization that drafted the NGSS) to help educators with implementation.

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Essentially, the goals of the IB programmes and the NGSS are complementary. However, the NGSS, guided by the conceptual framework of the National Research council (NRC), have set new priorities for science education in IB World Schools in the United States, that are engaged in the dual implementation of the IB Diploma Programme (DP) and the NGSS. Educators in these schools are being called upon to ensure that their students are prepared to demonstrate proficiency in the NGSS performance indicators, while achieving the goals of the DP.

 

To view the complete post please visit http://blogs.ibo.org/blog/2016/12/09/aligning-the-next-generation-science-standards-ngss-with-ib-curricula/.