My current school is a Columbia University Teachers College, Reading and Writing Project School. Each academic year we host developers from the college to train the whole faculty. As such I continue to learn and be very inspired by the project. In addition I have attended administrators workshops at the Teachers College in New York and I learn a great deal from interactions with my colleagues on a daily basis at Tokyo International School.
Inquiry Based Learning
using provocations to spark inquiry in drama
I have been very fortunate to have attended several workshops by leading inquiry consultants including Kath Murdoch, Kathy Short and Ann Goldsworthy. This professional development along with ideas gleaned directly from my colleagues, has provided me with a well-developed understanding of inquiry based learning. I pride myself in having practical solutions for implementing such philosophy in schools. I have an understanding of how this may be implemented right across the curriculum. I now lead workshops on inquiry learning on behalf of the International Baccalaureate Organization
Assessment for Learning
assessment for learning can be very simple to implement yet very effective
One of my particular strengths and interests is formative assessment. I have led assessment workshops for example at the IB Regional Workshops at Renaissance College, Hong Kong. I was part of the 'Assessment in the PYP Collaborative' working on behalf of the IB to collaborate on the development of the assessment sections of the new Assessment in the PYP section of the IB Online Curriculum Centre. I have a strong understanding of how to incorporate formative assessment into daily teaching. I have proven success implementing these strategies in the schools I have worked. For example, I have practical experience of how to bring portfolio assessments to life in the classroom as well as guiding teachers to develop and evaluate their own authentic summative assessment tasks.
Tokyo International School is an Apple Distinguished School. I have well developed computing skills. I am conversant with Apple and PC systems and learning daily. I am competent with Microsoft Office, including Word, PowerPoint, Publisher and to a lesser extent Excel. I have similar competence in Apple software, such as Pages, iPhoto and iMovie. I can use a range of graphics applications, such as Photoshop and drawing applications. I have recently been heavily involved with the design and development of our schools web based curriculum management system. This is my first attempt at website design. I am very keen to keep developing my technology skills. Please see the TIS Digital Learning video I directed.
Learning to learn
Self management and self assessment are skills our learners will need in the future
I have substantial practical experience and a host of tried and tested ideas of how incorporate life-long learning skills and attitudes into day-to-day learning. Such attributes include: self management, thinking skills, collaboration, problem-solving, communication, research, independence, confidence, and empathy. My current competency has been reached by questioning, listening, sharing, adapting and trialling the good practice of my colleagues: as well as my own ideas. I intend to keep on learning and evolving as best practice changes in response to current research.
Collaborative Learning and Thinking Routines
I have developed a significant 'toolbox' of collaborative learning strategies over the years many of which I have implemented with success in the schools I have worked. I also am familiar with many thinking routines: strategies which encourage students to think in different ways and make thinking 'visible'. I attended five days of Visible Thinking professional development in 2012 an I have immersed myself in the cultures of thinking literature. I am very familiar with how to implement such strategies in schools, to develop the skills of inquiry and a culture of thinking.
One of my current learning areas, is the concept of documentation. I have developed a much deeper understanding of best practice early years teaching including that of the Reggio Emilia, significant training which I received. I regularly visit the early years section of our school: teaching, observing my colleagues, questioning and generally learning from our resident 'experts'. I attended a very insightful workshop on the Reggio Emilia approach led by Dr Lela Gandini, another by Junko Cancemi and I recently attended a workshop on the concept of documentation by Fiona Zinn. Part of my dissertation was around the suitability of the PYP planning framework to the early years context. I currently work as a 'critical friend' for the International Primary Curriculum for the development of the new IPC early years curriculum. I am learning a great deal from the team with which I collaborate.
This video documents another current interest: service learning. It highlights an experience for Grade 5 students at The United Nations International School, Hanoi and their friends at Vĩnh Tiến School. Students from both schools taught one another games and played together. One of their tasks was to discover each other's interest which they did through a mixture of interpretation, drawings and gestures. Students from both schools created several collaborative art pieces depicting what they learned about each other. The resulting art works which represent their friendship now hang in both schools as a memory. One of the aims of the service learning programme at UNIS is driven by the UN theme 'rapprochement of cultures'; everyone involved contributes, shares, gains and learns from the experience. UNIS, Hanoi and Vinh Tien School are building a sustainable relationship which we hope will last long into the future.