Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Culture of Learning

Today on the final day of our New Teacher Institute, I had the pleasure of listening to several of the "newbies" present about what they have discovered about ASB's culture of learning.  Since we want to attract the best teachers to ASB, it's really important for us to consider how well we communicate this culture and how it is understood by those teachers who have spent a couple of days with us.

One of our new teachers used a Visible Thinking routine to tell us about what she had seen and what she was thinking.  She noticed the Mission Statement posted around the school and that it applied to everyone, not just the students.  She noticed lots of images of hands around the place and felt this was indicative of our culture of collaboration.  She spoke about global citizenship, innovation, creativity, critical thinking and the way that we encourage questioning.  She also noticed a lot of play, and that for us process is important, not just the final product.  This is what she thinks:  ASB is a great place for students and teachers.

Another teacher made an iMovie about how the school looks, sounds and feels.  She talked about how we value being a risk-taker and also being reflective.  She talked about how the place looks dynamic and always changing, how it sounds LOUD (because of all the collaboration) and how it feels supportive, safe, challenging and inspiring.  She said it feels like a community.

One of our new teachers used the book "Oh the Places you'll Go" by Dr Seuss as the inspiration for her Keynote.  She talked about observing and discovering flexible and differentiated learning in our open spaces, she also talked about engagement, relationships, ideas and resources.  Her take away was "think and wonder, wonder and think."

Another new teacher chose the music "Bombay Dreams" as the soundtrack to her iPhoto slideshow. She also talked about how ASB is dynamic and successful, how it is beautiful and never boring, that it is friendly and that everyone contributes.  She talked about both high expectations and high encouragement.  She said "children love school, and teachers love students and teaching."

Another teacher talked about the number of international schools and how this number is growing. However she asked the question "But are you growing?".  She spoke about how ASB is committed to helping you become the best you can be.  She said she sounded like a used car salesman, but then said at ASB the philosophy is that we will drive our car together.  You will get PD to take you from where you are to where you want to be and it will all be based on best educational practices and on research.

One teacher spoke about the word open.  What she'd noticed was open spaces, open minds, open hearts and open-ended inquiries.  She said ASB opened the door to authentic, lifelong learning.

I could go on - but these were the impression of 6 of our new teachers.  What a joy it is to have them on-board, adding to our culture and being part of our learning community.  Sometimes it's hard to see things as outsiders see them - but today was a great opportunity to view all the great things we do again, through new eyes.

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