Welcome to a new monthly segment dedicated to EDUCATION. Here, we will review, discuss and comment on educational trends and school issues. The international education journey is unique in that many of us, no matter our faith, religion or culture can share something of ‘life’ in school and more often than not find common similarities, hilarious anecdotes and horrific tales.
These musings will focus not so much on the politics of education, but rather aim to inform, support and debate school life in the ‘here and now’. As a teacher, change is part of the ‘gig’ and for students change plays a key role in their 18-year journey; teachers change, peers change as friends come and go and often, academic expectation alters. As many of you have experienced, changing schools is one thing but changing school and moving to a foreign country becomes a huge unknown for everyone in the family. This month we focus on 5 key things to consider when choosing a school in a foreign land. This list is a teacher’s perspective.
1. How does the school foster and support teacher and student relationships? During your investigation of the school, look for practices that reflect how the school develops and sustains a positive and nurturing environment: warm and enthusiastic teachers and staff, an interest in your child’s life outside school, free and informal access to your child’s teacher.
2. How does the school use technology? This is a huge point of interest and concern for many families and schools. Have a clear understanding of the level and type of technology used in the school. Make sure that your own personal beliefs regarding the use of technology in the learning environment match that of the school.
3. There is no excuse for no recess! This is a no brainer. Recess, break time and outdoor non-scheduled time is essential. Children need this energy release and it helps them to focus in the classroom.
4. Teachers matter too Check the turnover rate for teachers. Teachers and students are the implementers of the policies and practices of the school. The school’s ethos looks great on paper, but it is the teachers and their relationship with their students and the school that enable an ethos to be tangible and alive.
5. It is not all in a name Be confident in your choices and know that if the school you choose is right for your family then stand by that choice.