Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Doing the rounds

As you may be aware, we have had the evaluation/accreditation visits from both the IB and Council for international Schools (CIS) in at school recently. It seems so far so good, with positive verbal feedback.

It is not all about good news only though, while affirming the good work going on, the teams were also in the school to help us with our on going development and so will make a number of recommendations for us to consider. It is actually very helpful to have objective eyes view our school and make constructive, professional suggestions for improvement.

Undertaking two in depth reviews ( both organisations required separate self studies) has been a really valuable experience to date, albeit lots of work! All fulltime staff, both teaching and support worked in teams to write a section of the self study, rating our performance against evidence, based on the standards of the organizations.

It was great to have staff involved and gave everyone the opportunity to understand aspects of school life that they may not know about or be involved in. It gave us a sense of tremendous unity, as we were all actively working towards a common goal.

While it can be a bit scary to have nine professionals going through the school like a dose of salt, I very much enjoyed the fact that there was a definite feeling from the teams of collegial support.

We will share the reports with you when received. At this stage, I am not expecting them until the end of June. I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Does fun have place in learning?

I've been reading recently some other blogs about the place of 'fun' in learning and it has led me to reflect on my thoughts and attitude to this idea.

For me, it is pretty simple- I think we learn something best when we are engaged, feel that we have a shot of being successful and enjoy it. In other words, as well as academic competence, there is a huge emotional component to learning.

If we think about how we learn, what we remember learning or how we were motivated to continue learning, fun has a huge place in it. An example from my own family that I can think of is when we went on a family holiday and during this time, went to a restaurant where they were having a salsa demonstration, that we could all join in on. My daughter loved it, had a great time, felt it was something she could be good at, so much so, that she continued on learning salsa and became a championship dancer. ( Meanwhile, at the same restaurant, my other daughter and I, who were partners, just argued about who was going to lead and never danced another salsa step again!)

I read an article called 'Serendipitous Interaction Key to Firms' Workplace Design' by Stephen Henn, talking about the cultures of innovation and creativity at Google and Facebook. The leaders of these organisations intentionally create opportunities for their employees to have fun, as they believe that it will lead to the creation of better products and services.

While our students aren't products or services, I feel that their attitude towards learning and coming to school will be enhanced if it is a positive place to be, they are engaged, they feel that they want to learn and yes...they have fun!