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Teaching & Learning » Ongoing Professional Development

Ongoing Professional Development

At the International Children’s Academy (ICA) we are committed to professional growth. Our dedicated and passionate faculty members model learning - constantly striving to refine their teaching to bring out the best in their students. Thanks to generous vision of our board, the school offers a wide range of professional development opportunities that impact student learning and lead to classroom innovation.

Some examples of professional development which have occurred recently with testimonials from our staff include:

International Regional Conference in Barcelona

As we began the journey of becoming an IB World School this year an opportunity to participate in the IB Regional Conference in Barcelona was seen as important to our expanding knowledge and outreach into the larger International Baccalaureate Family. IB has been an educational influence in Spain since 1977 with 9 IB schools located in Barcelona itself, 97 in the country. 

The following is a brief recap of this amazing professional opportunity and my experience as an International Baccalaureate practitioner.

The conference focused on these key topics: programs, leadership, creativity, integrity and educational research. I was encouraged by the wealth of information in all areas during plenary, independent and featured sessions. I would like to share my thoughts on three of the session I attended which were particular stand outs. 

The first was the Heads to Heads session in which heads of schools from across the continent were able to gather, speak about current topics in the delivery of the program, what is needed for support in schools, and how curriculum needs are being addressed at the highest levels of the organization. An emphasis on continually evolving and sharing a strong vision for the future supports the promise of of a vital and organic educational experience. It was clear no matter where the school, the challenges, as well as the success stories, are similar.

The second session was titled The shaping of World citizens: The IB ‘s Grand Mission. In this session we explored the historical roots of the IB mission and charted how it now reaches over 4,500 schools worldwide. In concluding this session Dr. Mac Donald, who heads all schools in the European and African region, spoke about the relevance of the IB mission today and how it speaks directly to the work of growing leaders for a world in which their skills and their knowledge can make 'world of difference’.

Finally, the third session was entitled Flourishing---positive psychology and the IB learner profile. Jan Dijkstra, International School of Geneva, lead this session. Using Martin Seligman’s research done at the University of Pennsylvania she compared it to the IB Learner Profile. Flourishing in school can be linked directly to social and emotional development of the child of all ages, but especially middle school. The use of mindfulness, resilience, grit, character strengths, reflection and an appreciation of inquiry supports current research on the importance of teachers shaping their practice with this understanding in mind. The IB framework supports this important aspect of educating the whole child.

This stimulating world city, its beautiful architecture, rich history and wonderful cultural experiences underscores how important it is to be open to the new as well as the old in ideas, beliefs and practices. I would like to share this thought with you from Francisco Giner de los Rios, a prominent Spanish educator and philosopher who wrote: “We are taught many things but not how to think or live.” I learned much, thought deeply and enjoyed living the four days of the conference and in sharing it upon my return.

I appreciate our board, their vision and the value they set on the importance of these types of interactions with colleagues to support me as a learner and leader in an International Baccalaureate school.