Members of the ASIJ Leadership Team and faculty recently attended the EARCOS (East Asia Regional Council of Schools) Leadership Conference in Kuala Lumpur. Marc L’Heureux (elementary school principal) and Genta Branstetter (elementary school associate principal) presented a session on “Using Thinking Routines To Lead Professional Discourse,” while Carrie Bennett (high school associate principal), Brady Cline (high school learning innovation coach) and Paul O’Neill (director of teaching and learning) presented on the new IMPACT program.
In the EARCOS session led by Marc and Genta, which was attended by over 50 international school leaders, participants learned how to model visible thinking through the use of “Thinking Routines,” part of Harvard University’s Project Zero Graduate School of Education. “Thinking Routines” are the patterns by which we operate and go about the job of learning and working together. A routine can be thought of as any procedure, process or pattern of action that is used repeatedly to manage and facilitate the accomplishment of specific goals or tasks.
Participants left the session with practical strategies to influence a culture of thinking among their faculty and staff, including specific examples of “Thinking Routines” that have been used in the ASIJ elementary school.
Both Marc and Genta promote a culture of thinking at ASIJ. Their goal is for the elementary school to be a place where thinking is valued, models of thinking are present and thinking is documented in a variety of ways. In order to create this culture of thinking, they aim to model it through the work they do with teachers and parents, using these “Thinking Routines.” By modeling “Thinking Routines” in their work, Marc and Genta hope that teachers in the ES will begin to emulate this in the work they do with their students. If you have attended one of their many parent sessions or staff meetings you may have participated in some of these “Thinking Routines.”
Carrie Bennett, Brady Cline and Paul O’Neill presented a workshop on the new IMPACT program, launched earlier this year for grades 10, 11 and 12. Reflecting ASIJ’s strategic plan, Carrie, Brady and Paul challenged themselves to create more choice and opportunities for students to follow their passions.
The IMPACT program was designed to match a student with an adult who will serve as a “Spark Coach”—helping students develop a learning network, refine their goals or research question and meet various deadlines. The experience will culminate in an activity, enterprise or presentation that is shared with the broader community, or applied in an authentic way.
Carrie, Brady and Paul gave the IMPACT workshop attendees an overview of the process we went through in developing the program and challenged them to examine their own school context and discuss ideas and strategies to consider how they might build a program that enables students to follow a passion.
If you would like to learn more about EARCOS, check out The East Asia Regional Council of Schools website.