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Try doing a Google search with the keywords: collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. The result? A list of over 29.5 million scholarly articles, frameworks, blogs, thought leaders and more, all highlighting the criticality of ‘21st century’ skills. No mere educational trend du jour, this focus on global competence signals a fundamental shift in how we do school, from ‘content is king’, to a broader understanding that key skills and dispositions are critical markers of success in the 21st century. At the American International School of Lagos, we leverage Project-Based Learning to plan, teach and assess the Global Competencies that we believe matter most. Our goal? To create a curricular and instructional design that achieves the Simultaneous Outcomes of deep content knowledge, coupled with non-cognitive skills and dispositions.
At AISL, our process is school-wide, collaborative and iterative. We started by asking, “What are the dispositions and skills of an ideal graduate?” Our thinking included all learners from Preschool through Grade 12, and we strove to keep our competencies transdisciplinary with the goal of transferability across subject areas.
Our list was gradually refined to five broad categories:
Our ultimate measure of global competence is a students’ capacity to be a self-directed learner. But how do we move students and teachers along a new curricular and pedagogical path at the same time? By reframing ‘how we do school’ as simultaneous outcomes.
We began by implementing Project-Based Learning and the T3 Framework of technology integration as schoolwide frameworks. This creates coherence and a common approach when developing curriculum and instruction. A commitment to four years of professional development in partnership with external consultants helps teachers rest assured these initiatives are here to stay. And, we give time and space to what is important. Hence, a report card redesign scheduled for 2019 K-8, and 2020 for grades 9-12 will include our global competencies and student self-assessment of their Habits of Mind or IB Learner Profile respectively: both are currently part of student-led conferences.
Despite a clear call to action, schools can still face pressure from parents with a perspective of ‘what is good education’ grounded in the past. Communication is key to getting parents on board. Newsletter articles, assemblies and invites to classroom learning events are weekly occurrences at AISL. Additionally, two spring events bring the whole community together: an evening Global Competencies Symposium featuring a moderated panel of thought leaders and students, followed the next day by a schoolwide PBL and Technology Showcase. These celebrations of learning put the global competencies, and students, at center stage.
When schools couple skills and dispositions with content, are committed to building capacity in teachers and supporting parents through change, they create the conditions for student success now, and in preparation for their future work and personal lives.
About the Author:
Kim Rayl is the Director of Teaching and Learning at the American International School of Lagos, Nigeria. A former middle school English and social studies teacher, Kim also has experience teaching PYP and has worked as a behavioural therapist using ABA therapy for children on the autism spectrum. Kim has a Masters of Teaching, a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, and a K-12 Administrator's License. She has taught in public schools in the United States and at international schools around the world including Egypt, Mongolia, Bolivia, Indonesia and most recently, Nigeria. Kim is passionate about transforming teaching and learning through the co-creation of systems and supports that inspire collegiality, coherence and collective efficacy.
The IB will host the second African Education Festival in Nairobi, Kenya on 21 – 22 February 2019 with the theme “Leading and learning in the 21st century” and with a special focus on the topic ‘’Developing Skills for a Connected World’’.
The theme of “Leading and learning in the 21st century” is designed for policy makers, principals and administrators, heads of schools, as well as leaders of educational institutions in the region.
The event’s overarching goals are:
The African Education Festival is an opportunity for thought leaders in education to discuss current education trends, explore innovation in education practice and capture key developments in both education leadership and learning.
To find out more visit the website here.
Jambo and a Happy New Year from AISA in Nairobi,
As we commence 2019 I am mindful that this is the start of AISA’s 50th Anniversary year. I thought I might begin the year briefly recalling for you the very early years of AISA and describing how our organization came to be.
The idea of putting together an Association of International Schools in Africa was initiated by the Office of Overseas Schools of the US State Department, under the leadership of Paul Lubke, the Regional Education Officer for Africa from 1969-1979. The thinking at the time was that the best way to enable the development of and provide support to international schools in Africa was through in-service training of personnel. I find it interesting that 50 years on we are still primarily concerned with supporting the professional development of the leadership, educators and co-professionals in our member schools. Back then, the schools targeted for this early support where those that were functioning primarily to serve the families of United States Embassy personnel and were referred to as American-Assisted Schools. While these schools were financially sponsored by the US State Department (and most remain so to this day), AISA’s membership has now grown to include many different types of schools supporting families from all over the world.
In 1969, there were only 14 American-Assisted schools in Sub-Saharan Africa. The nascent organization was referred to as the ‘Sub-Saharan Regional Association’. Thankfully that name changed over the years (as “SSRA” is not nearly as catchy as “AISA” to pronounce). After discussions with school administrators in the region it was decided to focus the first organizational efforts on an annual conference at a venue in Africa, with the first taking place in Accra, Ghana in 1969.
How we have grown! We now have over eighty member schools and over 40 Associate Members - all with the goal of supporting quality international education for families living in cities across the continent. From that single conference event in Ghana half a century ago, we now offer over forty learning events and institutes in venues from Khartoum to Cape Town and Accra to Zanzibar each year. These attract over 1,000 educators whose aim is to improve student learning in AISA schools. We now support programmes in Governance, School Effectiveness, Service Learning, Child Protection and Wellbeing. For our students we offer awards for excellence and leadership in service.
As we reflect on our achievements to date, I invite you to share your experiences with the global AISA community on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/aisa.or.ke/
This weekend sees another anniversary with the staging of the 10th edition of the AISA Global Issues Service Summit (AISA-GISS) at the International School of Tanganyika (IST) in Dar es Salaam. This important student focused event will bring together students from around the globe to share ideas on how they can meaningfully and authentically contribute to improving the lives of those in their local communities in sustainable ways.
Let me take this opportunity to wish all of you the very best for 2019!
Dr Peter Bateman
After some careful consideration of the escalating costs (over $60 for a sandwich and a soda!!), the venue logistics and with other opportunities for us to get together on the horizon, AISA has decided not to hold the Annual AISA Luncheon at AAIE in February this year. We’ll take a year off and re-evaluate whether we can reconvene in 2020.
That said, I warmly invite you to mark into your diary the 50th Anniversary AISA Gala Dinner which will take place in Cape Town (South Africa) during the annual AISA Conference to be held from 21st - 23rd November 2019 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Our 50th anniversary theme: "Learning from the Past, Shaping the Future”. We’ll have more information on the AISA Website in March.
If you’re no longer living in Africa, and have a hankering to get back to the continent, why not consider joining us in stunning Cape Town? For those with an ongoing professional interest, come and learn with our world class experts, network with colleagues, explore the excellent learning taking place in AISA schools, and enjoy that renowned AISA vibe during the conference. And whilst in Cape Town, why not visit the V&A Waterfront, explore the wineries, see the whales at Hermanus, climb Table Mountain, drive to the Cape of Good Hope, and of course attend the AISA 50th Anniversary AISA Gala Dinner on Friday 22nd November 2019? Come on – you know you want to!
In the meantime, I look forward to seeing those of you attending AAIE in San Francisco – but not for lunch!
AISA has become aware of a scam scholarship offer that appears to be originating in Malawi. Please be warned that AISA has no involvement with this scheme whatsoever and strongly urges all our members and guests to ignore any such scheme. AISA’s legitimate scholarships are listed on our website.
What does your organisation do or offer?
Founded in 2006, ManageBac is the leading online planning, assessment and reporting platform for international schools, supporting over 2,500 schools in 120 countries. By providing schools with one unified system on a consistent, modern and mobile-ready interface, ManageBac offers a seamless & integrated experience for coordinators, teachers, students and parents. OpenApply is a modern online admissions office supporting the applicant journey from enquiry to enrolment. Over 250 schools in over 70 countries rely on OpenApply to help manage their admissions process. Together with our integration partners, we offer schools a world-class software suite for meeting all their information management needs.
What are you best at doing?
We help schools get rid of paper, increase efficiency, and improve communication across the whole school community.
How are you uniquely placed to support AISA member schools?
With 10 years of experience working with over 100 of the top international school in Africa, we understand the unique needs and challenges of AISA member schools.
Most memorable Africa experience?
Exploring a game reserve outside Johannesburg after the 2017 AISA Leadership Conference
What do you always travel with/top travel tips?
I never travel without my external battery pack, microfiber towel, and Vitamin C tablets.
Is there a special offer you could provide ASIA schools this month?
10% off the subscription cost for the first year of using ManageBac for new sign ups who reference this eCircular in the next month.
As the rains settle in to Nairobi, I am reminded that another calendar year is all too quickly drawing to a close and the Holiday Season will soon be upon us. As they say – time flies when you’re having fun!
Since my last communication to you AISA has been busy with the 2018 AISA Educators Conference which took place in Dakar in October. I’d like to thank the International School of Dakar for their help in making this event such a success. It was great to be back in West Africa with over 140 Educators and Associate exhibitors in attendance. I am mindful that our schools there have limited opportunities to access high quality, impactful and targeted Professional Learning on a regular basis. It was such a pleasure to note the openness and willingness to learn new things that this group of educators displays. Their call for AISA to try to make more professional learning accessible to our schools in this part of the Continent is certainly something we are looking at seriously. Please look for the review of this event from Graham Watts (AISA’s Director of Professional Learning) elsewhere in this circular. Please also contact Graham if your school would like to host one of our very popular Professional Learning Institutes (PLIs) next school year.
With the AEC complete, our attention is now turning to the inaugural AISA Invitational Conference (AIC) that will take place from the 30th - 31st March 2019 at the American International School in Lagos, Nigeria. While this event is primarily targeting non-member schools that are interested in experience the quality of learning AISA offers, and who are in the process of becoming an accredited international school, I do invite all educators and leaders from AISA member schools to take advantage of the close proximity of this learning event and register. Complete information about the programme and the logistics for the AIC is available on our AIC Website here.
We are also preparing for our new format, combined AISA Conference to take place in Cape Town from 21st - 23rd November 2019 at the CITCC, Cape Town. AISA’s Professional Learning Design Team (PLDT) will be gathering later in November to finalize the line-up of facilitators that I know will be our best yet. One particular item I want to make you aware of is the multi-stream governance deep dives we are preparing. These will target several aspects of good governance in international schools for a variety of stakeholders - be they new or experienced school leaders, senior admin staff and, significantly, school board members. Of course, this is also our 50th Anniversary Edition and we have a lot of great surprises in store for all who attend that event - so save the date. We will publish further details of the 2019 AISA Conference on our website early in the New Year.
Another date to save is the 2019 AISA Luncheon that will take place in San Francisco alongside the AAIE conference on Wednesday February 6th from 12:00 – 1:30pm. I will soon be sending out invitations to this event with full details - so watch out for those.
For now, as this is our last Circular for the year, it just remains for me to wish you, your loved ones and your entire school community a safe and relaxing holiday. Get some rest!
Managing allegations of abuse against another child, adult or member of staff is a highly stressful, complex task.
It is vital that any concerns or allegation are dealt with properly and in a way that protects and upholds the dignity of all who are involved. These situations are often complex and can quickly escalate, particularly in the context of an international school community environment.
For this reason, the International Taskforce on Child Protection (ITFCP) has developed guidelines for international schools on how to manage such allegations effectively.
To read about why and how the protocol was developed, see this introductory article.
Download the Protocol - Managing Allegations
ISM is offering all AISA member school a FREE 3 month of Gold Membership. Included in the Gold Membership are the following benefits:
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