I recently attended the annual conference for our regional organization, CEESA (Central and Eastern European Schools Association). For me, these events are not just about hearing engaging keynote speakers, but they are also opportunities to network with colleagues in our region, which stretches from Vienna to Almaty. In one particular workshop, the presenter alluded to a challenge that we all face: what do we preserve of traditional educational practices and what changes do we engage as we move into the future?
Through the IB curriculum we encourage students to be creative and innovative, see patterns and form, make connections, and learn how to think. We strive to create an educational environment that acknowledges the individual nature of the learning process and develop a curricular program that promotes freedom of expression within a supportive environment. However, as we upgrade our pedagogical approaches to student learning and make changes that promote new initiatives, we must also be cognizant of those things that we will not change; enduring ideals and philosophies that transcend time and place.
Without question, AISB has the potential to be a world-class school. It has the capacity to be ranked with the best, to be known to really make a difference, and to be recognized as an institution that addresses and implements innovative educational programs. However, the challenges of tomorrow will not always be met by looking to traditional pedagogical techniques – the future will always be fashioned by unexpected talents in familiar settings.
So, as I venture into unknown territory myself with this blog, I will share changes that we are making, but also describe those aspects of student learning that we will not change, and indeed, be reinforcing as vital skills to any generation. The future always surprises us. We must promote innovation: new things, in new ways; we should educate individuals who dream the future and create these revelations; and, in doing that, use an educational framework that relies on a traditional mastery of core skills.
Having been part of the AISB community for almost one school year, I have been privileged to speak with many of you about ways in which we can lead this institution to the greatness that it deserves.