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Nov 16 2018


Greg Choi

We Are Lifelong Learners

The BCIS mission is to challenge and empower students to be compassionate and inspired people, who act for the good of all and for the sustainable development of the world.

At BCIS, we strive to create the safest and most comfortable learning environment not only for our students, but also for our entire faculty. As we highly value our students as learners, we also value our teachers and staff members as lifelong learners. That is why we support everyone to be well-informed of international trends and research in education to grow as a professional by proactively seeking to improve their expertise in their respective areas. In order to facilitate this, we regularly hold "Professional Development" (PD) days. We recently held two productive and interesting PD days where the entire faculty learned from each other and outside consultants to expand our professional goals, as well as plan for a successful future.

As the third part of our current series titled, "Did You Know?" Ms. Sally Richmond, Elementary School Principal, shares in-depth knowledge regarding our staff's professional development. Please read further to learn more.

Did you know the ways we empower our teachers through professional development?

The BCIS Philosophy is a very important part of our lives at BCIS and both students and teachers strive to live and learn through it. 文 Wén is the first part of this philosophy and it has been unpacked further to allow to gain a greater understanding of its meaning.

文 Wén

  • curiosity, seeking understanding and enjoyment of lifelong learning
  • academic achievement, physical well-being, and personal success
  • knowledge developed from diverse perspectives
  • awareness and understanding of local and global issues

As you will have noticed, the first line states: curiosity, seeking understanding and enjoyment of lifelong learning. We believe that every person in the BCIS community should strive to be a lifelong learner.

We are very lucky that the school board places strong emphasis on teachers remaining lifelong learners, working to improve their knowledge of current practice and always looking for ways to gain a better understanding of their own teaching and the ways in which students learn in the classroom.

When we think of professional development as teachers, there is sometimes the assumption that we need to leave the BCIS campus to find experts in different fields. Whilst this is an important part of what we do, there is a much bigger pool of human resources within our own four walls. At BCIS, we provide professional development for our teachers through:

Professional Learning Communities: Groups read a professional book together, meet regularly, and have discussions about what they have learned, how it may impact student learning, and what is needed in order to facilitate this learning. This takes place over several weeks.

Professional Ponderings: A small group of teachers meet together to discuss an article, a video, or a podcast which leads to conversations about how student learning could be adapted or changed for the better. These are often short meetings (two hours or less) and provide information which can often be applied immediately to a teacher's repartee.

Observations: Teachers are encouraged to go and watch each other; to go and watch someone teach a different class in a different grade level or even a different division. We have recently had October Observations in which teachers, teaching assistants, administration, and other faculty members were encouraged to go out and visit a different class at least twice during the four-week period.

Teachers Teaching Teachers: Our school is full of experts in different areas that are on-site and can offer short training sessions on anything, from the app "Seesaw" and linguistics to using the MakerSpace.

Article Sharing: Each division has either a daily or weekly bulletin which all faculty members read. Links to useful articles in online journals, educational magazines, or blogs are often shared this way. There have also been a number of teachers from BCIS that have had articles shared in a variety of online places.

In-house Professional Development: An outside consultant is brought into school for a period of time to work with a larger group of teachers, provide model classes for teachers to watch, and work with teams to plan and implement new ideas.

External Professional Development: There are some requirements placed on an IB school for teachers and administrators to have regular professional development from IBO certified trainers. In addition to this, there are a number of different companies that provide expert training, which teachers are invited to attend as well.

Professional development often, but not always, challenges teachers' previous thinking, inspiring them to consider a different way of completing something in their classroom or helping to them to gain a deeper knowledge of the students they teach. It helps them to stay up to date with current trends and methods of working. It helps them to understand the many different ways in which students learn. It allows them to remain lifelong learners and, above all else, it helps them to help your child reach their full potential.