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Our Staff are Learners Too!

06 February 2015

Last weekend I was fortunate to attend a Nord Anglia Education Conference in Dubai where I joined colleagues from across our family of 31 schools to discuss the theme of Professional Learning.

  • Staff training at the British International School Shanghai, Puxi
  • Staff training at the British International School Shanghai, Puxi
  • Staff training at the British International School Shanghai, Puxi

Our primary teachers ran and took part in specialist subject workshops recently.

We know from research that the most effective way that schools can improve outcomes for students is through focusing on the professional development of their staff. Consequently, we are committed to being a community in which all staff, at all levels and in all roles, strive constantly to better the needs of students and deliver high performance outcomes.

At BISS Puxi, we believe that continual professional learning is an individual and collective responsibility at all levels and we both attract and retain high quality teachers because of our commitment to high quality professional development.  Throughout each school year we offer stimulating and relevant professional learning opportunities that use the expertise existing in the school and also, where appropriate, involve externally sourced expertise to add challenge and extend thinking and practice.

Our professional development programme recognises and builds on the expertise and knowledge within the school, creates opportunities for reflection, enquiry and collaboration and maximises the potential that being a worldwide family of schools offers. We do send teachers on select quality courses and bring high quality speakers in to work with groups of staff, but much of the impactful professional learning that takes place happens here in school and involves our own staff collaborating and having professional dialogue on practical aspects of learning and teaching.

They meet in workshops, group meetings, Learning Communities or Action Research groups, both during and after the school day to share practice, discuss issues, conduct teacher-led research and explore innovative and creative approaches to learning and teaching. We also have an excellent resource in Nord Anglia University which offers teachers the chance to take part in online courses, seminars & webinars, access professional reading materials and journals and engage in forums and on-line communities with colleagues across our schools.

We do have an excellent staff team, with great skills, passion and enthusiasm for what they do but, as our core purpose is to ensure the best outcomes for all children in our care, we cannot stand still, and instead believe we have a professional obligation to keep reflecting and learning ourselves. We need to be role models and advocates for life-long learning, even when that means making difficult changes to thinking or behaviour, and taking the time to read, study or reflect after a long day at school. So when you think of your child’s teachers and learning assistants, remember that they are learners too and just like the students, they are working hard to be the best they can be!

Parent Challenge:  Are you role modelling being a life- long learner? How can our parent body continue to grow as a supportive learning community for parents? What can the school do to support this? Let me know your thoughts and ideas!

- Niki Meehan, Head of Primary