Dear AISL Community,
The new school year began with a virtual whole school assembly and was very well attended. I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined that I would start a new Directorship on a Youtube platform, speaking to an in-person audience of four, in the Tiyende Pamodzi Theatre. But it is the times in which we are living and we must continue to be flexible and agile, with ever changing circumstances.
The Education ‘Shift’
And so, my journey with AISL begins. From a big picture perspective, our international school global community is making attempts to really shift a broadly late 19th-century pedagogy of teaching to a more learner-centered approach. This will ultimately lead to better preparation for success in today’s workspaces.
It is already clear to me that AISL has a dedicated and highly skilled faculty who are committed to their learners and are themselves life-long learners. They are actively ensuring that the required conceptual shift, from the idea that the teacher is the ‘Sage on the Stage’ and the deliverer of all content knowledge, to the approach that we are facilitators, through the lens of the IB Framework. Yes, students realise that they are responsible for their learning (as it is theirs) but they learn and thrive in an environment where our teachers act more as ‘Guides on the Side’.
One of the shifts has been to find out how people learn best. From brain research over the last twenty years, we now know that deep and powerful learning for all of us occurs under the following conditions:
1. What we learn is personally meaningful.
2. What we learn is challenging, and we accept the challenge.
3. What we learn is appropriate for our developmental level.
4. We can learn in our own way, have choices and feel in control.
5. We use what we already know as we construct new knowledge.
6. We have opportunities for social interaction.
7. We get helpful feedback.
8. We acquire and use strategies.
9. We experience a positive emotional climate.
(Taken from Ron Brandt’s work on Conditions for Powerful Learning).
As we embark upon our school year and prepare for our re-accreditation, these conditions for learning are at the forefront of our conversations as we provide the scaffolding for deep and powerful learning.
To put all of this in perspective, please watch Shift Happens. If you have never seen a version of this, it will astound you. It is this world we must prepare our learners for.
I hope our learners are enjoying their first week back, albeit on Path 2 and 3 of Distance Learning. I did manage to meet some of our younger learners virtually on Google Meet but I am really looking forward to meeting the current student body of 424 shortly, even though we will be masked up and socially distanced. I can't wait to see all the amazing things I've heard about AISL students in action!
For now, enjoy the remainder of the week into the weekend. Stay safe, stay grateful.
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