I am writing my message this week at the 49th Leadership Conference of The East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS) that is being held in Bangkok. There are 1,300 international school leaders attending this year from 158 member schools in East Asia.
EARCOS also has 149 associate members - suppliers, publishers, universities, architectural firms, youth organisations, insurance companies and others that support schools across the region. This year’s conference theme - Leading and Learning: A Journey of Hope and Love - was brought home to all delegates in the opening address by Peter Dalglish, a Stanford-educated lawyer who traded in a promising legal career to work with some of the poorest children in conflict zones such as Darfur, South Sudan and Afghanistan. Peter is the Founder of Street Kids International and was appointed as the UN’s chief technical advisor on child labour in Nepal in 2002.
Ms Howling and Dr Osowiecki from Alice Smith have presented at the conference on the steps being taken at our school to nurture collaboration and develop a professional growth model for staff to support well-being and strengthen collegiality. This model of professional growth ensures that our teachers are reflecting upon their practice and are continually striving to develop themselves.
The whole professional growth model is underpinned by coaching. Our trained coaches encourage this approach by asking the types of questions that direct their coachee’s focus inward. Coaches believe every coachee has the capability to be active participants in solving their own problems and finding the best way forward. It is about learning, reflection, growth and about improving performance over time.
Alice Smith runs ‘Culture at Work’ coaching training accreditation every term, developing teams of qualified coaches at each campus of the school. Our aim is to have a coaching culture permeate through all teaching and non-teaching staff, with professional accreditation and with training for students and parents alike. This training has already had a positive impact on the school, through:
- Promoting collaborative and reflective practice
- Promoting positive culture change
- Increasing and supporting the use of data to inform practice
- Supporting collective leadership and accountability among staff
- Using coaching questioning to promote the deeper thinking of students in the classroom
Our professional growth model has gained interest from the international education sector throughout Asia. The impact that it has had on our staff and students was highlighted at the recent Coaching in Education conference in Hong Kong in June 2017.
Alice Smith places excellence in learning and student and staff well being at the very heart of all that we do. We are seeing the positive impact and benefits of our coaching culture and professional growth programme. This has breathed new life into our approach to ‘lifelong learning’ and valuing the importance of quality staff development.
Have a safe weekend.
Head of School
Click here for this week's full issue - 27th October 2017