Monday, March 28, 2016

Getting (international) schools from good to great

A couple of weeks ago, at the end of ASB Un-Plugged, I wrote a post about the "wolves" that could be unleashed in international schools, based on the Keynote by our Superintendent, Craig Johnson. I'm posting Craig's entire Keynote below, and am also summarizing his key points here.

Craig spoke about how he had contacted 100 heads of international schools in order to confront the brutal facts about international education.  He asked 3 questions:
  1. How satisfied are you with the state of international education?  Around 60% of these heads of schools indicated they are dissatisfied.
  2. Looking out to 2020 what would you consider the most important and relevant challenges and opportunities facing our schools?  It turns out the #1 challenge is independence of schools -v- interdependence of schools - there are a large number of 3rd party tails wagging the dog - so a balance has to be struck so as to be a relevant as possible for our own community while not becoming irrelevant to the international ecosystem in which we exist.  Craig pointed out that no international school can transform on its own - we need coalitions and collaborations.
  3. What are we doing that we should not be doing?  There is a long list here, for example:
  • salaries based on years of service and degrees
  • 185 school days
  • classes allocated the same amount of time
  • saying no to apprenticeships and internships
  • % grades, class rankings, GPAs
  • parent teacher conferences only happening twice a year
  • teaching so much archaic content
  • limiting time on skills and dispositions
  • teaching -v- learning
  • different subjects in isolation
The important thing to realize is that while we believe we should stop doing these things, we cannot stop doing these things alone .....

If you have watched the video about how wolves change mountains, you will know the question is what "wolves" can we release into our schools.  Here are 4 "wolves" that the heads of school agreed on at Un-Plugged:

  • listening to student voice and choice
  • making wellness a core value
  • sharing talent
  • time (any time, any place, for anyone)

The talent task-force meets for the first time tomorrow - I've signed up for it.  As this is going to be a design thinking process, we'll start with empathy and ideation.  I'll be sharing our ideas and asking for feedback from my international PLN as the process unfolds.

Craig's 40 minute Keynote is below.  It's well worth watching.

Photo Credit: steve_lynx via Compfight cc

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