Modern-day boarding

By Stonehill International School, Bangalore

 

Boarding school can teach children the essential skills they need to succeed in life.

Education has been modernised through technology, innovative infrastructure and progressive pedagogy. In this context, boarding schools too have changed dramatically over the last few years. Gone are the traditional dormitory days or regimental routines. Today, boarding schools are friendly and warm, with modern facilities for both studying and living. The learning never stops in a boarding school environment. Lessons go beyond the walls of the classroom to include social skills and life skills like independence, self-confidence, acceptance of differences and more. Top boarding schools like Stonehill International School in Bangalore, aim for the holistic development of the student rather than just purely focusing on academics.

 

Stonehill is a modern-day and boarding school, with a contemporary and adaptive programme, where students are supported, engaged, challenged, and respected as individuals. The boarding staff at Stonehill are house parents and dedicated teachers who provide a high standard of field and academic support.

 

The following are five skills that boarding life inculcates in your child:

 

1. Ability to build friendships

 

Stonehill Boarding is a diverse environment where children from different backgrounds meet and interact. They form great friendships with their peers, get guidance and academic support from each other. It is an opportunity for children of different ages and cultures to connect, creating a bond for life. When a community of your peers surround you, coping with the ebb and flow of life is easier. Glen Johnson, Head of Boarding at Stonehill International School, with more than 30 years of experience of having worked in various boarding schools across India, says, “I have seen the positive effect boarding life at Stonehill has on students. They experience less stress and frustration in this environment. I have also seen improvement in student grades, an increase in motivation and a decline in behavioural issues.”

 

 

 

2. Boarders learn to be independent and responsible

Children become more independent within a broader community environment, building up confidence in their ability to manage their schoolwork, stay healthy and thrive in the ‘real world’. In a contemporary boarding environment like Stonehill Boarding, students learn to be responsible for themselves. They learn time management skills and become self-reliant and independent.

 

 

3. Cultivating a lifelong desire to learn through academics and outdoor opportunities

Weekends are a time to unwind and students can choose from the myriad extracurricular activities. Glen Johnson, Head of Stonehill Boarding, says, “At Stonehill Boarding, keeping in mind the IB philosophy, we initiate and plan regular outdoor activities. These activities encourage children to ask questions and find answers through research so they cultivate a lifelong desire to learn.”

Additionally, the School has a multi-purpose sports hall, basketball courts, a swimming pool, volleyball, tennis and badminton courts, a football and cricket field and horse riding facilities.

A crucial part of the educational journey is creating an environment to facilitate it. At    Stonehill Boarding, the availability of school amenities for use at all times allows students to prepare for their future.

 

 

4. Boarders develop strong work ethics

The boarding at Stonehill International School has a well-deserved reputation for excellence that encourages disciplined work and study habits. This is attributed to the outstanding professionalism and care of the house parents. They are committed to motivating the students to fulfil their academic and personal potential.

Through supervised study sessions, accessible offices, and open-door policies, students gain close access to readily available support from the non-resident tutors. With teachers as role-models, it is easier for students to become invested in their work.

Stonehill Boarders often find great friendships in their house parents who provide continuous support to them. Not only do they guide them on managing their studies, but also with social dynamics. They forge a healthy foundational support system, creating a home away from home!

 

 

5. Boarding school promotes acceptance and values diversity

 

 

Stonehill International Boarding attracts students from all over the world. They host a diverse range of international and domestic students who share meals, rooms, and classes – fostering a close bond that transcends geographical and cultural differences. As students share personal stories, cultural insights, and new experiences with each other, they learn to see beyond categories of difference – a fundamental lesson they take with them for years to come.

Stonehill International School is an International Baccalaureate (IB) Authorised World School, accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). The School is a member of the Australian Boarding Schools Association (ABSA) an organization that promotes the interests of boarding schools worldwide, facilitating the professional development of staff and advancing excellent practice among schools.

The boarding houses at Stonehill are comfortable and homelike, with modern facilities and contemporary design. Boarding can never replace home, but Stonehill Boarding offers the next best thing – a home away from home.

Artificial Intelligence in Education: The Big Picture

HEDKY-AI

 

The big picture – Ai evolution in context

AI didn’t come into existence out of the blue. It will also not disappear all of a sudden. It is the natural evolution of progress – it is the next stage in the industrial revolution.

 

The first Industrial Revolution happened between 1750-1870 (120 years). The most notable invention during the period was the steam engine. Main characteristics : mechanization, birth of industry, agriculture to be replaced as main economic activity.

 

The second Industrial Revolution took place between 1870-1950 (80 years). The most notable invention was the automobile. Main characteristics : basic technological advancements – electricity (gas/oil), steel, chemicals, telegraph / telephone.

 

The 3rd Industrial Revolution happened between 1950-2000 (50 years). The most notable invention during the period was the computers. Main characteristics : more technological advancements – industrial robots, electronics, telecommunications, nuclear energy.

 

The 4th Industrial Revolution takes place as we speak. It started in 2000. Nobody knows how long it will last, but the cycles of each stage are shorter and shorter. 120-80-50 years… Most likely this stage will last less than 50 years. The most notable invention during the current period is the internet. Main characteristics : emphasis on digitization – powerful computers, virtual reality.

 

The 5th Industrial Revolution will follow naturally. The most notable invention will be Artificial Intelligence. AI/ML will become widespread and a part of everyday life on so many levels, we can’t even imagine today. The only question is when will this new era start, if it hasn’t started already…

 

 

AI is a new phase in progress – probably the next industrial revolution

 

Industrial robots meant progress by increasing productivity in factories – blue collar workers, performing easy, repetitive tasks were replaced by machines / robots. AI technology means progress by replacing more complex jobs which require human capabilities such as : understanding, reasoning, planning, communication, perception. But this does not mean humans are in danger! This means humans can now focus on more creative tasks which can’t be performed by computers/robots/AI.

 

AI needs data to work. Data can be acquired by feeding it into the AI system (file import), by integrating the AI with other software or by the AI system itself when it interacts with the world (e.g. visual perception or speech recognition). Once the AI has data, it can perform various intelligent actions mentioned above (planning, perception, etc). AI systems assess the available information and then take the most sensible action to achieve a stated goal (e.g. planning a trip from San Francisco to New York).

 

Progress means that inevitably the jobs which require only the 5 capabilities mentioned above will be lost to automation. Are schools still preparing students for soon-to-be-obsolete jobs ? As mentioned in the first article, later down the road in our series of articles on AI in education we will focus on how students can prevent preparing themselves for jobs which are very likely to be lost to automation by the time they will retire from the workforce. This will reduce the need for professional reconversion later in life and will avoid various emotional situations associated with unemployment.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This article is provided by HEDKY-AI – Linking courses to careers. More than 90% of students using HEDKY-AI choose the right career – according to their talents. HEDKY-AI monitors student skill development from age 3 to graduation and beyond. Using HEDKY-AI’s “Skill passport”, teachers, schools and parents can see very early in a student’s life towards which type of career they are heading to, according to their choices and results in curricular courses and extracurricular activities. If they head towards a job which is likely to be lost by automation, parents would most likely want to know this as early as possible in order to change their career goal.

 

To learn more about HEDKY-AI, please visit hedky.fr or get in touch with us by email at hedky(at)hedky.fr.

 

Incorporating Student Voice in the Classroom

Chrissy Talbot
General Education Teacher

Providing students with a voice is an important tool in creating an engaging classroom environment. As an elementary teacher, I’ve noticed that when my students feel that their own voice is valued they are often more willing to take academic risks. Below I’ve listed three practical ways you can provide even your youngest students with an opportunity to have a voice in their own education.

 

1) Morning Meetings & Entrance Tickets:

One way to provide students with a voice is by giving them a platform to express themselves. This can come in multiple forms. You can set up a morning meeting where students have the opportunity to discuss things they are feeling or events happening outside of school. A safe space for students to engage in honest conversation should never be underestimated. Or, if you want something less time-consuming, you can create Google Forms or entrance tickets that ask students to suggest topics for class discussion or their thoughts and opinions on the curriculum. Of course, you can modify these ideas to meet your specific grade level. Starting your day off with an opportunity for students to have a voice sets a tone that their opinions and thoughts matter in your classroom. They are valued.

 

2) Choice in Projects: 

Student voice can also come in the form of choice. This might mean giving students the opportunity to express what they have learned through different mediums. Would they rather make a diorama of an ocean habitat or create a video complete with sound effects and narration? Sometimes it can be hard as the teacher to release some control to our students but by doing so, we are showing our students that we trust them and that we accept them as individuals who may not always learn the same way. You cannot have student voice without student choice.

 

3) Student Surveys:

Lastly, you can promote student voice simply by asking for it. Give students an opportunity to drive your instruction and tell you how they learn best. Student surveys at the beginning of the year are helpful to get an understanding of how our students learn. We can then decide if we need more group projects or technology or visuals in the way we deliver instruction. But the surveys shouldn’t stop in the fall. We need to continue to ask our students for feedback. Would students like to see more videos or do more hands-on experiments? Assessments give us a lot of information about how much a student has learned but they don’t give us insight on the student’s learning experience. I believe learning experiences should count for something because, after all, aren’t we trying to foster a love of learning in our students? I think the best way to do this is to give the students a voice continuously in the way we deliver our instruction and the way we assess our students.

 

These are just a few strategies you can employ in your classroom to help lift up your students’ voices and make them feel heard.  Sometimes it’s easy to overlook or forget about the importance of this work but it’s so important for building long-term relationships with our students. We owe it to our students to show them that their thoughts are valued.

 

To learn more about Social-Emotional Learning and access additional resources to support a SEL environment, click here.

 

This article was originally published by Savvas: https://blog.savvas.com/incorporating-student-voice-in-the-classroom

 

What do you think about the points raised in this article? We’d love to hear your feedback.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chrissy Talbot

“My name is Chrissy and I am a creative, hard-working, and passionate teacher. I’ve been teaching second grade for the past four years on Long Island, New York. I’m currently the general education teacher in an inclusive classroom environment, and I LOVE it! I received my BA in Elementary Education from Stonehill College in Massachusetts and later earned my Masters in TESOL from Touro College in New York. When I’m not lesson planning or making anchor charts for my kiddos, I am reading books on my couch, planning my latest travel adventure, or spending time with my friends and family.”

Pygmalion and Quantum Theory: When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change

Eleni Armaou, Student Oriented Services (SOS) and Additional Learning Needs (ALN) Coordinator
Metropolitan School of Frankfurt

 Image Source

 

It is an axiom in Human Psychology, a known fact, albeit not easily perceptible, an unwritten law, which you study the minute you step your feet into a university amphitheatre of a Psychology faculty: your perception informs the way you look at things, defines their meaning and subsequently shapes your actions or reactions.

 

As an educator I found self-observation enlightening and I started observing myself: my mood, my underlying assumptions, my fears and hopes and how they can fundamentally change my teaching practice during the instructional moment. If I am happy, I see happiness everywhere, if I am hopeful, I recognise it in the eyes of students, if I strive for change and innovation, they will follow suit. It is as if everyone feeds off each other’s mood, and yet this tiny grain of truth is usually overlooked, especially in moments of crisis. How does this manifestation of  rule become universal?

 

On a larger scale, this of the universe, it has long been ( much longer than we think) theorised that the atoms do not possibly have an infinite and given state but rather are in a constant status of Superposition, therefore creating infinite versions of themselves and subsequently of reality. Multiple versions of reality means, essentially, that there is a multiverse.

And of course, the observer’s application of observation, an act, changes the observed object. This theory echoes the theory of Shroedinger’s cat ( the cat is both alive and dead in the box) as well as similar theories in Psychology, Humanities and of course Arts.

 

Moving away from subatomic and macroscopic systems, and researching in the field of Educational Studies, we first encounter aspects of the above mentioned theory in the famous book by R. Rosenthal Pygmalion in the Classroom (1968). In his introduction, Rosenthal makes a special reference to Bernard Shaw’s (1913) play by providing a fragment of the protagonist’s Eliza Doolittle monologue:

 

You see, really and truly, apart from the things anyone can pick up ( the dressing and the proper way of speaking, and so on), the difference between a lady and a girl is not how she behaves but how she is treated. I  shall always be a flower girl to Professor Higgins, because he always treats me as a flower girl, and always will; but I know that I can be a lady to you, because you always treat me as a lady, and always will.

 

In a series of experiments which Rosenthal mentions in his book, the mechanism of self-fulfilling prophecy is apparent and in play with all factors in human relationships, but particularly, in the dual relationship of learner-educators and that, if our expectation is that a learner of a given intelligence ( term is outdated, this comes from a 1968 book) will not respond creatively to a task which confronts him, and especially if we make this expectation known to the learner, the probability is that he will respond creatively is very much reduced.

 

This is a huge life ( and teaching ) lesson for teachers: what you think is what you will create.

 

Sources:

  1. Rosenthal, R., Jacobson, L. Pygmalion in the classroom. Urban Rev 3, 16–20 (1968).
  2. https://www.newscientist.com/definition/quantum-physics/

 

What do you think about the points raised in this article? We’d love to have your thoughts below.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Eleni Armaou studied Psychology, Pedagogy and Philosophy ( major in Educational  Psychology) and holds a MA in Special Educational Needs from the University of Leeds, in the UK. She has worked in IB Schools in Istanbul, Stuttgart, and Frankfurt and is now the SOS and ALN Coordinator at the Metropolitan School of Frankfurt.

Eleni is passionate about AI, Robotics, Space Travel, Quantum Physics as well as Human Psychology, Inclusive Education, Leadership and Management Studies, Negotiation Skills, and Conflict Resolution.

She is a Member of ECIS SEN/Learning Support SIG.

Website: https://eleniarmaou.wixsite.com/inclusiveducation

 

Embracing democratic dissent in a data-driven age

Stephen Chatelier, Mark Harrison and Elke Van dermijnsbrugge

 

Introduction

We teach in a pre-service teacher programme that prepares students for a teaching career in international schools. In one of the courses, we discuss models of teacher appraisal and teacher effectiveness, their purposes, and how different schools approach them. We ask whether or not student performance data should be part of these processes. During the discussion, it is inevitable that one of the students will argue that data must be used because, ultimately, the most important concern of a school is the learning of students.

 

During our time as schoolteachers and in our ongoing conversations with colleagues, we have heard this same argument, in different forms, many times over.

 

How dare you – it’s all about student learning!

These days, we often hear that the student – and student learning – are more important than anything else, and should be the yardstick for all that happens in schools. The problem with this is that it seems impossible to argue against. Who in their right mind is going to say “the students aren’t really the most important” or “hmm, I don’t think student learning is really at the centre of what we do as a school”?

 

The view that student learning is the aim of schooling might seem obvious, but has been challenged, perhaps most notably by the academic Gert Biesta who argues that education is a much broader enterprise. While the claim that student learning is all that matters is itself problematic, it is also used all too often as a “shut down” to alternative voices.

 

If you’ve ever tried questioning the latest initiative focusing on wellbeing, resilience, growth mindset, or “soft skills”, you’ve probably experienced “the shutdown”! If you’re thinking of being that person, good luck!

 

The ‘research shows’ argument

Perhaps you’ve been in a meeting about increasing the quantity of reporting. The school leadership is arguing that parents should get more regular feedback, as well as more detailed end-of-term reports. As concerns about the increased administrative requirements for teachers are voiced, the reply comes: “research shows that formative feedback and home-school partnerships are key to student improvement, and surely that is our primary aim?”

 

The argument here is not only that student learning is the only thing that matters, but that ‘the research’ undeniably supports the particular initiative being proposed. In this sense, ‘the research’ is often quoted in a vague and ‘handwaving’ manner to justify an initiative. After all, who can argue with ‘the research’?

 

So, just like the ‘student learning’ strategy, the ‘research says’ declaration is too often used to quash dissenting voices.

 

Democratic education

The dissenting voice, however, is central to ensuring a democratic education.

 

Put another way, the data-driven, evidence-based discourses in schools risk undermining the various forms of education that prioritise students’ responses to the world around them, inquiry and the construction of knowledge, and engaged citizenship, all elements of a broader vision of education than one which simply focuses on ‘learning.’

 

When teachers become focused on the numbers and the data, they are more likely to engage in practices that primarily focus on that which can be measured. That is, teachers are more likely to do the equivalent of ‘teaching to the test’. As a result, we start to value what we measure instead of measuring what we value (Biesta).

 

Given that many international schools claim to provide exactly the kind of education that guides students in becoming responsible members of a global society, it is important that we consider the implications of focusing on data and numbers.

 

Dissenting voices

In fact, if we really believe that the best education for our students is that which ‘draws out and opens up’ rather than ‘narrows in and closes down’, then we ought to be more, not less, sceptical about educational agendas which flatten and standardise practices.

 

And we ought to be willing to embrace dissenting voices from teachers as well as students.

 

But while we make the argument for allowing dissent, it is important to note that this is not the same as mere complaint. Dissent, it can be argued, is more closely aligned to democratic education, not because it allows the community to simply say whatever they want, but because it involves giving account for one’s position.

 

Dissent emerges from genuine concerns – whether philosophical, practical, political or pedagogical – and can, therefore, play an important role not only in critiquing the way things are, but in contributing to different and innovative ideas for education.

 

Embracing alternative views for education

The start of a new school year is the time in which new initiatives are proposed with energy and enthusiasm. School leaders are often keen to ensure that they push something through, before the grind of the daily and weekly routine sets in. As such, it can be tempting to resist the dissenting voices by invoking ‘the research’ which is, in actual fact, always contestable, or the centrality of student learning.

 

Managed well, a genuine invitation for dissent is to see any proposal of a new initiative as an educative opportunity itself. It is an opportunity for the community to genuinely inquire into, grapple with, critique and imagine alternatives. It is an opportunity to ask: what does the data actually tell us? What does the research not address? And, are there other factors – outside the data or the research – that perhaps ought, nevertheless, to carry more weight in making a decision?

 

A school that breeds a culture of genuine engagement with ideas, and leaders who genuinely listen to dissenting voices, model something of the kind of democratic education that so many international schools claim to promote. In embracing this culture within the staff, the effects will be felt across the school, including in the classrooms.

 

So, next time we are tempted to shut down debate by blithely stating “learning is the most important thing” or “the research says”, perhaps it is worth thinking about what this says about our perspective on the role of education.

 

Stephen Chatelier, Mark Harrison and Elke Van dermijnsbrugge have all been teachers and leaders in international schools. They now work in the Department of International Education at The Education University of Hong Kong, where they teach and conduct research on critical aspects of international schooling.