Most of us are now becoming used to the routine of distance learning, with our schools facing weeks of closure and students forced to stay at home. Hopefully, we have begun to see that whilst it is no substitute for regular face-to-face learning there are many examples of great distance learning being done by so many international schools across the Asia-Pacific region.
One of the areas that is also in the spotlight is teachers own learning journey; professional development like many other aspects of life is now more challenging than ever. With this in mind we at the Asia Pacific International Schools Conference (AISC) would like to share with you the following fantastic keynote presentation given at AISC last year by Dr. Alexander Gardner-McTaggart, one of the world’s leading thinkers on Leadership in International schools. The feedback we received for this session was overwhelmingly positive and I am confident you will find it a rewarding and enlightening session, happy watching and stay strong everyone!
-Leadership in International Schools: Empowered or Managerial; Just or Justifiable? -Global Citizenship Education (GCE) as Leadership Discourse.
This presentation explores educational leadership for international schools as being in a crisis of identity, unsure whether it is empowered or managerial – just or justifiable. It is a call to action to bigger thinking. It presents Global Citizenship Education (GCE) as a ‘Leitbild’ for leadership discourse in the international and globalising sphere. It shows how pragmatic thinking patterns pervade and impoverish educational (leadership) discourse and. practice. It presents another way for international schools’ leadership based upon intellectual independence and empowerment.
Teachers and teacher leaders in international schools usually enjoy higher levels of autonomy than their counterparts in state education. Yet, increased freedom, requires increased capacity, critical ability and confidence. Most if not all teachers and leaders have spent their formative years in national and state contexts which are defined by the philosophy of reduction, standardisation and limitation. This philosophy is naturally accompanied by the functional thinking of pragmatism. For the last 30 years, state educational systems around the world have followed liberalising US and UK policy initiatives. This means they are embroiled in an ideological drive to standardize education and focus upon STEM subjects with its perceived job capital. Knowledge generation of administration and leadership in this context is firmly US (and UK) centric in nature and characterized by business forms of adjectival leadership. As the nation-state divests itself of public ways of thinking, state policy is continually pushing privatising initiatives in public spaces that redefine concepts of democracy and citizenship.
In the midst of this, international schools now educate over five million students worldwide with over 500,000 staff. This is comparable to the educational system of a medium to large-sized country. Whilst such schools are defined by privilege, their staff emerges from a context that very often, is not.Contrary to the mounting intellectual and fiscal impoverishment of state education, international schools are experiencing a boom. In the face of a stark arbitrary and functional educational reality in national contexts, international schools offer ways of thinking and being that move from the interpersonal into the emancipatory, engaging with the arts, humanities and even physical education, seeking for distinction through broad-mindedness and intellectualism. This boom is in fact a Renaissance in dark time. It places emphasis upon a rounded education; where success is equated to balance, and where collaboration and collegiality are key.How then do international teachers and educators emancipate themselves from the imprint of stark realities form their national educational systems? How can they continue their own development and learning to fall in line with the emancipatory thinking of GCE and escape the imprint of standards, numbers and directives? Most crucially of all, how can leadership systematically foster GCE in word and deed? How can leadership defend staff and students from functional thinking, whilst advocating for the critical competency required for the mounting challenges of the 21st Century?
Contact us to get the latest information on AISC 2020 and stay strong everyone!
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Ms Ivy Lau