Many studies have shown that peer and collaborative learning is very effective for students. The same should be assumed for adults, especially teachers. The sharing of best practice between them is a win-win situation for all – the teachers take in great learning opportunities and the students benefit from practices that have helped their peers obtain successful outcomes.
Recently, Mirai, a learning innovation group co-hosted a breakfast for science leaders and school principals from American and Indian curriculum schools in the UAE. They discussed the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) with Amplify Science. Christine Nasserghodsi, the co-founder of Mirai, acknowledges that diversity of thought and experience is essential to innovation so that schools can better their performance and obtain better student outcomes.
Commenting on the matter, she says, “We host or co-host quarterly events bringing educators together to share insights and solutions to challenges. Amplify Science is the leading science curriculum in the US and was co-developed with UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science. It leverages a mix of resources, including digital simulations and hands-on activities, to have students figure out compelling, real-world scientific phenomena every day. At the breakfast, attendees participated in an NGSS lesson in which they played the role of medical students called upon to determine the nature of a mystery illness. The breakfast event allowed educators to share top tips for implementing NGSS, while learning from industry experts as well.”
“Good practice is good practice. Pedagogy is not curriculum-specific.”Jeremy Williams, Head of School at Manor Hall International School.
Jeremy Williams, Head of School at Manor Hall International School, is a leading international educator and podcast host on the DisruptED TV network. Deeply passionate about entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and connecting students to their purpose and passion, he explains: “In any situation, you need to leverage what is particularly advantageous.
“Being in such a global community here in the UAE, there are people from nearly every continent with unique perspectives and experiences that add such tremendous value to the work I do in my school with my team. Good practice is good practice. Pedagogy is not curriculum-specific. Whether someone is US, IB, UK, or Indian curriculum does not have any bearing on the pedagogy being used within the classroom.”
Evo Hannan, a leading innovator in education with over 18 years’ experience and Spark Tank coordinator at Dwight School Dubai, agrees: “Many ideas that are discussed and shared can be implemented by any teacher, which is one of the great benefits of discussing teaching strategies.
“There are many opportunities that exist and new ways are being introduced weekly. I’m introducing a new video mini-series called ‘think:ed’ using #thinked, which invites teachers to think about and share ideas on some of education’s hottest topics of discussion.”
“Research supports what we all know,” adds Laurence Myers, a K-12 Service Learning coordinator at the American School of Dubai. “And that is that teaching performance increases when there is a continuous conversation revolving around self-reflection, collaboration, and timely and constructive reflection by self and trusted colleagues. When teaching performance goes up, students benefit! Especially in my field (service learning and sustainability education), it’s important to support each other as it is an ‘up and coming’ field in the UAE and needs deeper support of teachers.
“I’ve had conversations with fellow educators on how to infuse authentic learning experiences while developing deep learning for students. At the moment the opportunities within the field of service learning are limited. Often schools have just one person focusing on it and often the experience and opportunities to collaborate are practically non-existent. To address this we’ve begun a small professional collaborative group – currently referred to as International School Service Learning Educator Network.”
“Teaching performance increases when there is a continuous conversation revolving around self-reflection, collaboration, and timely and constructive reflection by self and trusted colleagues.”Laurence Myers, K-12 Service Learning coordinator at the American School of Dubai.
Finally, Jaya Bhavnani, executive director at Dwight Global Online School, comments: “Students from our global campuses have the opportunity to take course(s) from our online school. Combining real-time video conferencing seminars and Oxford-style tutorials with Dwight Global teachers, the online programme creates a close-knit and diverse community, and ignites the spark of genius in every student.”