Who are you?

Last morning of the regional conference in The Hague

So many impressions and thoughts from colleagues and speakers at the conference. Many short conversations during a break time or a group discussion during a session has given ‘food for thought’ I have taken lots of notes and will read these and feedback the thoughts and information to relevant staff at school. I met a secondary school principal who produced the DP timetable based not on groups, but on the students subject choices. This seemed ridiculous at first, but could help expand the subject combinations in our DP without having to hire more teachers or say no to students. I am eager to investigate this more. Another vice principal told of her experiences moving to a new campus and the issues involved in doing this. One of the plenary speakers broke many of the myths about the brain and brain learning. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks! The brain does regenerate and reconfigure itself continually. Fascinating.
The factual presentations about the IB courses are very valuable. To be aware of the changes ‘in the pipeline’ really help plan and continue to manage change. The changes are a mix of developments and more radical paradigm shifts. The IB are investing a lot of time and manpower to develop and improve the programmes with regard to pedagogy and clarity in meaning. It is amazing to think that the IB programmes are offered in so many countries in this AEM (Africa, Europe, Middle East) region and the directives from the IB need to be manageable for all. Sweden is very forward with its IT infrastructure and we are very ready for e-assessment to really take off; not all countries or schools in the region have this capacity.
I’m glad I have a week of autumn break to rest and digest the information I have taken in from the conference.

Howard Gardner plenary session

20131025-143822.jpg

Pretty awesome listening to Professor Howard Gardner talk about intelligences. Such humility and warmth in this great mind. Inspirational day with many reminders of common sense and good educational practice.

One of the highlights of everyday has been the IB students performing music or dance before each plenary session and their introductions of themselves and the plenary speakers. IB students are pretty special, especially if they have spent many years in one of the IB programmes.

The IB continuum

A very educational pre-conference workshop day today. The focus was looking at policy documents with your school. The IB mandate that schools have policies regarding assessment, language, academic honesty and special educational needs/inclusion (for the Diploma Programme also an admissions policy)
We received a template that we, as school leaders, could use to guide the school through developing and/or reviewing policies. This was very helpful. As valuable was the discussions with colleagues in different school forms and countries regarding the tensions that arise due to the content of these policies. Do we involve all stakeholders in policy discussion? Students? Parents? Board of Governors? Or should we leave it up to the academic experts?

The conference has over 1100 participants from over 35 countries. The theme is ‘innovate, educate, create’

Became reacquainted with colleagues from other schools. Heard what their focus is at present and the issues current in their schools. Was also super-pleased to hear news from ManageBac that they will roll out in January 2014, a new whole school information system called ‘ISIS’ International school information system incorporating the current ManageBac features we use at SIS with a timetable programme and student database. Brilliant.

The opening plenary session is soon meanwhile the sun is shining in The Hague.

IB Regional Conference in The Hague.

20131023-180045.jpg

Arrived in ‘den Haag’ ready for the IB Regional conference. Read the programme on the flight and found many sessions I want to attend. The plenary speakers are of real quality – Andy Hargreaves, Howard Gardner and Alan November.
Pre-conference workshop tomorrow. For me, the topic is the IB continuum. I will write more during the conference with my impressions.

Goedendag from the Netherlands.

Would you be scared to participate in Drama lesson??

I am so impressed with the students attending our school. Today I visited 2 different drama classes. First Grade 8’s then later in the day, Grade 10’s. The Grade 8 students have written a ‘Greek-style’ tragic drama. One group of five students performed theirs today. Very impressive. The acting was good; the drama was in the style and the learning was obvious. It was wonderful to see the other students really being a good audience; supportive and attentive. They were also observing and looking for different performance skills. These were; energy, focus, stage presence and confidence. They were observing expressive skills of gesture, voice, facial expression and movement. The performance was serious and well prepared.

Grade 10’s bubbled with youthful enthusiasm before settling down through the use of some ‘warm up’ concentration games. The famous speeches the students are working on are to be presented in character. The activity today was to be interviewed by the class staying in character to answer the questions. The students showed that some research work has gone into their preparations. I look forward to the final performances of the speeches.