Assemblies are great barometers of a school. This morning, unusually, I was treated to both secondary and primary school assemblies in the same morning. I was simply blown away, and in truth quite moved, by what I watched and listened to:
I have visited the Times Educational Supplement at www.tes.com/news (which I highly commend to you, by the way) twice this week and have been struck by the contrast.
This week at staff briefing I talked about my optimism, my infamous tendency to be a “glass-half-full” kind of person and, as is my wont, I brought a couple of Winston Churchill quotes to bear on the matter:
“I am an optimist; it does not seem too much use being anything else.”
The words, “Mr Watson, come here; I want to see you.” were famously spoken on this day in 1876 (a great year indeed for football lovers but I digress!) but not, as many of us might have guessed, by the erstwhile Sherlock Holmes to his doughty sidekick in the pages of one of his detective stories,
I was honoured to be asked earlier this week to give the Immortal Memory address at this Saturday’s Caledonian Society Burns Supper and so, when I can find time, I am spending it researching and writing my speech.
You know me by now; as Mr. Garbett likes to put it, I am “the glass half-full type”!
It seems like a serendipitous moment to talk about celebration- after all, Diwali is not long gone, Christmas is just around the corner and, if that were not enough, “Kool and the Gang” gave us a timely reminder of the importance of rejoicing in the good stuff not long since with their timeless a
Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American families!
Earlier in the week Mr. Garbett read to me a comment that a Year 9 student new to our school had written in response to her reports.
The colleagues who produce these newsletters for us are sadly accustomed to my tendency to hand in my contribution at the 11th hour! But, of course, today, as I write this, at (quite literally!) 11:00, that hour has special significance, being that of the 11th day of the 11th month.
Is it so that we know what % they got?
Is it so we know what grade (A, B, C etc.) to allocate them?
Is it so we know what position they come in a class/year rank order?
Is it so we know how clever they are?
Last Tuesday, I decided to bring together all students from Year 3 to DP2 together for an Assembly. It was lovely to have a mix of primary and secondary students together in the Auditorium and perhaps something we should look to do more often.
It’s about the time of year when many headteachers begin looking at their budget lines anxiously to see how much they have left in their various pots and whether or not it is going to be sufficient to get them through to t
This week perhaps I can share with you a little anecdote. It relates to an incident that occurred as we were preparing for this week’s Corporate Open Evening.
As you will know, we are proud to be accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS). We were last inspected by CIS in 2014 and they were happy, as a result, to approve our re-accreditation.
This week, as a staff, we talked about the importance of encouraging our learners to be reflective. This is another of the pillars of the IB learner profile which we try to ensure informs our approach as a school to learning and teaching.
This week as a staff we discussed the concept of Inquiry Based Learning, another of the pillars of the IB approach to education. Again, there are great tracts of educational research supporting the benefits of this approach:
We were talking as a staff on Tuesday about the importance of developing resilient learners in line with the IB learner profile.
In a survey of 150 university faculty and admissions staff from the UK, the IB Diploma Programme was rated higher than other qualifications based on the breadth of the curriculum; development of critical thinking, time-management and communication skills; and motivation of the students.
In 2003 at a school in UK where I was Head of English, we had an In-Service Training session led by a wizened and softly-spoken old professor from King’s College, London. The Professor was called Paul Black and the session, entitled “Assessment for Learning”, changed my professional life.