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
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!
Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview with Luke Meinen, Manager of Level 5 Bahrain. This is an initiative of International School Services, a nonprofit that leads schools, facilitates recruitment and provides best-in-breed learning solutions.
Tell us about LEVEL 5.
First and foremost, LEVEL 5 is a nonprofit that hosts creative learning experiences for students, educators and the wider community on a myriad of topics that aim to spark innovation and creativity in education.
The first LEVEL 5 opened in Shenzhen, China four years ago and has proved to be a successful platform to help educators shift practice, design real-world, experiential learning, and ignite passion within students in the creative spaces. With the success of LEVEL 5 China, we saw the opportunity to expand this endeavor into the MENA region opening LEVEL 5 Bahrain at Riffa Views International School.
Our professional learning workshops focus on three categories; making, contemporary pedagogy, and innovative leadership. This wide range of events will help us provide a new type of professional learning for region. These workshops are available for educators, community members and students as we recognize the power of young and old working and learning together.
During the 2019-2020 school year, we will host 12 full weekend workshops, night events, and single day weekend learning experiences. These events will be facilitated by both local and international educators and artists from around the world.
Tell us about the new space with the Riffa Views International School.
The creation of LEVEL 5 has been a process that has taken a full year to complete as we knew we wanted this space to reflect the school community it resided in. We were gracious enough to have been given a beautiful space with huge amounts of natural light as a blank canvas.
In order to leverage the ideas of the entire RVIS community, we invited staff, students and parents into the space to help us co-create this new space. We loosely followed a Design Sprint model to rapidly ideate, prototype and test ideas from all who participated. You can read about this process in detail here Co-creating Authentic Change. This helped us gather the best ideas from the entire community to begin the process of designing this new agile space.
For LEVEL 5 to be successful, it requires a completely agile space that can be reconfigured to meet the needs of any type of workshop or learning experience. Utilizing prior successes of the LEVEL 5 China, research from the Stanford d School and a plethora of other resources we designed the space around this concept. Writable surfaces for ideation everywhere, agile furniture, smooth transitional flooring and caster wheels on EVERYTHING have helped us create this flexible space.
Actual construction of the space took three months to complete (time lapse of construction), and it was launched in late May of the 2018-2019 academic year. Along with this beautiful new physical space, we will also be out fitting it with a host of creative tools like 3D printers, laser engravers, microcontrollers, traditional fabrication tools, and much more. These will be for students, parents, educators and community members to use design, create and test new and innovative ideas.
During the day, LEVEL 5 will be open to the RVIS community and students to use. We are not using it as a traditional space to host scheduled classes, but more as an open space that can be booked by the teachers. The hope is to have these ideals and innovative practices flow into classrooms rather than being isolated in the space. Our aim is to help inspire the students in our school by providing them with the same type of learning experiences that happen during our professional learning workshops both inside LEVEL 5 and out.
What strategies do you use to activate the Bahrain educational community?
Over the past year, another focus for LEVEL 5 Bahrain has been to activate the educational community across the island by building collaborative relationships between schools. In Bahrain, the relationships that have been built up between schools are often competitive in nature through sports, competitions, and other events. There were pockets of collaboration, but we wanted this to grow as we know that when educators share knowledge and practice, everyone wins, especially the students.
With this in mind, we began to systematically create opportunities for sharing, collaborating and learning that were open to all educators on the island regardless of what school they taught at. We created a What’s App group to share ideas and learning opportunities, promoted an existing Facebook group, started a shared hashtag (#bahrainedu) to deprivatize the great things that were happening in classrooms around the island, and started events called #TeachmeetBahrain to provide opportunities to physically meet up and share.
In just a year, some great things have happened, and I believe that this will continue to grow as more people engage in these opportunities to collaborate. For a detailed look into this, you can find the steps we took here; Activating Your Educational Community.
Luke Meinen is the manager of LEVEL 5, Bahrain where he coordinates events and workshops and facilitates learning experiences. Over the past year, he has worked to co-create this new space with the Riffa Views International School community. He is also working to activate the education community in Bahrain through the organization of TeachMeets, collaborative groups and social gatherings for educators and leaders.
Prior to joining LEVEL 5, he worked as an elementary educator for nine years in East Asia, Africa and the Middle East designing authentic learning experiences for his classes and colleagues. He enjoys fabrication, playing basketball, surfing and spending time with his family in his free time.
For more information visit https://schoolleadersme.com.
Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Leisa Grace Wilson of Teach Middle East Magazine. This is the premier magazine for educators and the entire education sector in the Middle East and beyond. They offer information on a wide range of topics ranging from finance, culture, travel, leadership, school news, and more.
Tell us about the Teach Middle East Magazine.
Teach Middle East Magazine is the premier magazine for educators and the entire education sector in the Middle East and beyond. Our vision is to equip educators with the materials and tools they need, to function optimally in and out of the classroom. We provide a space for educators to connect, find inspiration, resources and forums that are aimed at enhancing their teaching techniques, methodologies and personal development. We connect education suppliers and service providers to the people who make the buying decisions in schools.
What topics are you hoping to cover in the future?
The upcoming Volume 7 of Teach Middle East Magazine will continue to feature strategy filled articles, interviews and research-backed pieces for the connected educator.
What is your editorial style?
Teach Middle East Magazine focusses on ensuring that the articles it carries add value to educators and help them to perform optimally both inside and outside of the classroom. The magazine is divided into two sections. ‘Class Time’ and ‘After the Bell’ catering to both the professional and personal development of educators.
To learn more about Teach Middle East Magazine visit https://teachmiddleeastmag.com/
For their latest issue visit https://teachmiddleeastmag.com/teach-middle-east-magazine-sep-dec-2019-issue-1-volume-7/
Leisa Grace Wilson is the Editorial Director of Teach Middle East Magazine. She has been working in education for the past twenty-two years as a teacher, Head of Department, Education Advisor and Vice-principal. Leisa Grace has worked in the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates. In 2014 she joined Teach Middle East Magazine, where she shares her passion for education through her writing and editing of the print and online issues of the magazine. She is also a speaker and has presented at education conferences globally.
Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Allison Rodman of The Learning Loop. Allison challenges schools and districts to examine all aspects of their learning organization and focus on the connections among culture, collaboration, and communication as levers for growth.
What is the importance of personalizing the learning process for educators?
We look to teachers to know their students, build strong relationships with them, and personalize learning to meet their interests, readiness, and learning preferences, yet these considerations are often neglected when designing and facilitating professional learning for educators (at all levels). This is not unique to education and is a universal challenge within adult education. However, it is perhaps most concerning in the education space where we do not model the learning principles we expect teachers and leaders to implement themselves.
Additionally, we fail to recognize that adults learn in different ways than students. There is 50 years of andragogical research providing insight in this space, but we continue to ignore critical factors such as job-embedded practice, social construction, and relevance when designing professional learning experiences. We spend millions of dollars as schools, districts, and businesses to build human capital, but the engagements, for the most part, are designed and facilitated poorly.
How do your personalized professional learning services focus on improving culture?
I partner with schools, district, nonprofit organizations, and businesses to move beyond planning professional learning sessions as “events,” but instead, sustained “experiences” for intentional and targeted collaboration and growth. We look to create true learning organizations rather than simply one-time, sit-and-get workshops. Together, we examine a multitude of data points, including student achievement and growth data, observation and evaluation data, and staff needs assessments (as well as other metrics specific to each partner). We explore a continuum of learner agency and look for opportunities to elevate learner voice, co-creation, social construction, and self-discovery. In this way, learning experiences become not only purposeful and personalized, but also begin to shift the paradigm of learning within the organization as a whole in organic and authentic ways.
Tell us about your book “Personalized Professional Learning: A Job-Embedded Pathway for Elevating Teacher Voice.”
The book provides district and school administrators with a roadmap for transforming existing professional development programs into more effective and innovative learning experiences that elevate onsite expertise while still aligning with school and district priorities. It is a step-by-step guide for diagnosing, planning, executing, evaluating, and refining teachers’ professional learning. Supported by research and informed by the experiences of educators across the United States, the book distills best practices for adult learning into clear advice and ready-to-use tools.
For more information please visit http://www.thelearningloop.com.
Allison Rodman is an educational consultant who provides professional learning services to districts, schools, and educational nonprofit organizations.
Allison is deeply committed to connecting educators together and sharing resources to personalize the learning process for all (both students and the educators who support them – at every level of the system).
The goal of her work is to support the whole child and whole educator to view learning as an ongoing experience and not an endpoint. This process includes learner voice, co-creation, social construction, and self-discovery.
On Friday, October 4, and Saturday, October 5, MENA region teachers and teams will convene in Dubai as part ofan initiative of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Connected Community in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) called the Powered by Teach to Lead Summit. During a summit, teams of educators convene to think deeply about a problem of practice – an idea for how to improve learning in their school or country context – and to work as a team to plan solutions. Organized by KDSL Global, a UAE-based education company, the Powered by Teach to Lead Summit seeks to allow participating teams to:
- Share ideas and best practices and learn from examples of existing teacher leadership efforts;
- Identify common challenges and create concrete, actionable teacher leadership plans to address them locally;
- Network and build relationships with other educators and leaders in their region; and
- Identify promising ideas for follow-up support through future engagement events.
Dubai based Teacher Leader Evo Hannan said, “When you live a life beyond your limits, you have experiences beyond your imagination.” Hannan will be the featured speaker on the first day of the summit andis currently the Spark Tank Coordinator at Dwight School Dubai. He continues to develop new ideas and leads a collective of innovative educators called ‘Innovation X’. He is also the founder of ‘Teacher Society’, a global education community that promotes teacher well-being and professional development, and the creator of the #INN4SDGs initiative.
Educators, school leaders, and teams from the MENA region are encouraged to apply early to attend. More information can be found at http://www.gccascd.com/teachtolead.
ABOUT KDSL Global
KDSL Global is a UAE-based leading learning organization focused on empowering educators and education businesses globally.
ABOUT GCC ASCD Connected Community
Our goal as the GCC Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Connected Community is to unite educators throughout the region, inspiring all of us to learn globally and teach locally.
Ashley Green, KDSL Global, email@example.com, +971 525427009