The International School of Uganda is committed to enhancing the professional competence and personal wellbeing of our staff. This benefits each member of staff, by enabling them to make personal progress and gain desirable qualifications. It also benefits the School by providing an increasingly competent and motivated team. Staff Training and Development is seen in the context of our shared desire to maximise the learning and development of our students, learning to be the best we can be on their behalf.
Planned In-School Professional Development 2018-2021:
Michelle Harris - Coaching and Better Conversations - September 2018
Taryn Bond Clegg - Agency - November 2018
Anne Van Dam - Early Years and Reggio - January 2019
Fiona Zinn - Image of the Child and Documentation - November 2019
Kristen Pelletier - Inclusion - January 2020
Taryn Bond Clegg and Michael Bond Clegg - Agency - March 2020
Ron Ritchhart - Cultures of Thinking - Sept 2020
Kath Murdoch - Agency and Inquiry - March 2021
Personal Learning Journeys
The Personal Learning Journey (PLJ) is an opportunity for teacher-directed inquiry. It is a form of professional growth that allows teachers to “embrace curiosity and to feel the joy of lifelong learning” (Hopkins-Wilcox, 2019) It is also an opportunity to build empathy with our younger learners about the challenges, pitfalls and successes found in learning. The development of the Personal Learning Journey as a shift away from traditional models of Professional Development is summarised in the table below:
From Hopkins-Wilcox in Richardson, (2019).
The journey is a year-long inquiry and if needed can become a multi-year inquiry into an issue, idea or research topic that the teacher is curious about. The learning journey is developed in three parts: formulating and planning the inquiry, continuous reflection and sharing and celebration.
Stage 1. Formulating and Planning the Inquiry
At the beginning of the school year teachers are encouraged to reflect on their successes, strengths and opportunities for growth, as well as looking at the school’s guiding documents, strategic direction and current educational research. The teacher uses the PLJ planning form to document their inquiry question, possible strategies for developing their inquiry and potential products or outcomes that might be seen at the end of the journey.
Stage 2. Continuous Reflection
“We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.” John Dewey
The first reflection is at the beginning of the journey during the first semester where the teacher shares their initial planning form with their principal and/or programme coordinator. Through reflective discussion they refine the planning and consider other connections and resources that may be available in the school or wider community.
Opportunity for a second point of reflection is made available in the second semester which, if required, might be nearer the beginning of the semester or later in the semester as the journey draws to a close. The decision about the timing of the second reflection point will be left up to the teacher to determine.
In addition to reflecting with the principal or coordinator, the teacher will also have multiple opportunities to check-in with colleagues regarding their journeys during Wednesday professional learning time.
Stage 3. Sharing and Celebrating
At the end of the journey each member of staff or team will have the opportunity to share their learning at a celebratory exhibition. The exhibition is an opportunity to hear about each other’s journeys, share experiences and develop new connections and ideas for further inquiry or application. The teacher may use the opportunity to share artefacts, visual data or media about their journey or they may just be available to talk to colleagues about their learning experience.
After the exhibition the teacher completes the final self reflection on the PLJ planning form in which they document the key take-aways from the journey and the exhibition. This may lead to further inquiries in the future or specific changes and development to the school’s pedagogy and programmes.
In summary the learning journey is designed to “build a culture where active learning is a continuous endeavor, not an occasional, passive experience” (Hopkins-Wilcox 2019). Its purpose is to create time, structures and resources needed for teachers to follow their passions and curiosities, to build on their strengths and share their expertise and discoveries as part of a learning community.
Training is provided throughout the school year in various forms which include the following:
Internally Led Professional Development
- Professional Development Afternoons/Days: the school has a shortened day on Wednesdays to allow for 1¾ hours of weekly professional development led by the school’s pedagogical leadership in addition to a series of professional workdays throughout the year.
- Induction Activities Training and Orientation: to the school, workplace and country and regular IB induction workshops led by IB programme coordinators.
- Specialist Training: Teacher Assistant Training, learning Support, English Language Support and other adhoc training such as first-aid.
Externally Led Professional Development
- Online Professional Development: includes IB online workshops which staff can apply for release time to attend as well as elected online workshops with WIDE courses from Harvard University.
- On-campus Professional Development: for past and future training see the link above.
- Off-Site Face to Face Professional Development: teachers have opportunities to attend educational conferences including ECIS, IB Regional Conferences and Workshops and the regional conferences of the Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA).
- IB Educator Network Training: the school encourages teachers to pursue opportunities to join the IB’s team of workshop leaders, online facilitators, consultants, examiners, moderators and school visitors. Currently there are over 6 faculty members across the school who fulfill one or more of these roles.