Setting Goals for a Productive and Successful Year: Something to consider to help your school thrive in 2023

The new year is a great time to set goals and explore new ways to move your school forward. Check out this article for tips on how to do just that!

As an educational leader, this upcoming year presents many opportunities for growth, both for you and your team. The tradition of setting annual new year goals is an excellent way to stay focused on progress and ensure key objectives are achieved. Taking into account the new challenges school leaders face in the current climate, it is important to consider goal setting with open-mindedness and creative solutions. There are numerous areas that can be explored throughout the year in order to move forward such as action research, professional development, collaboration, engagement and transparency. It is also essential to think about ways to measure your success and ensure that goals set at the beginning of the year remain on track throughout. Through successful goal setting and committed practice, school leaders will be able to realize their biggest ambitions for themselves and their teams. To achieve this, it is important to:

  1. Embrace innovation and change – Staying open-minded to fresh ideas and technologies could be the key to long-term development. Even when things don’t go as expected or new technology enters our lives, there may still be hidden opportunities waiting for us. We should encourage others around us by being receptive of innovative concepts and methods. Additionally, we can promote activities that embolden one’s individual expression, creative thinking and originality; inspire success stories from those who take risks through rewarding their efforts in order to motivate more risk taking actions!
  2. Promote professional development for teachers and staff – Investing in your team has the potential to amplify student learning. By setting professional development goals, you provide a platform for your staff members to hone their skills both independently and collaboratively. Investing in education and instruction can have an immense effect on educational success, so be sure that equipping teachers is a priority when developing growth plans.
  3. Practice inclusive leadership – To foster a thriving school environment, it is essential to create an atmosphere of inclusivity and support. Lead with empathy by embracing diverse perspectives and giving everyone the opportunity to be heard. Not only will this bring forth new ideas, but it can also build trust amongst all members of your school community. Inclusion and diversity are key components for success!
  4. Nurture relationships – Now more than ever, it is essential to create and maintain positive relationships with our student body, parents, and coworkers in order to foster an understanding environment of support. By fostering healthy relationships with one another we can make sure that they are heard, respected and feel valued. Communication between those involved not only helps overcome any obstacles but it provides an opportunity for students and adults alike to collaborate on solutions and work towards achieving the best possible outcome for everyone. By collaborating respectfully and with open dialogue, we can ensure that everyone’s concerns are being attended to with meaningful consideration.
  5. Maintain a long-term perspective – the most successful educational leaders are those who think beyond the school year and aim for lasting, meaningful changes that will have an enduring impact on student achievement. When setting goals, strive to think beyond the present and set your sights on short-term solutions that could potentially lead to long-term success.

The upcoming year brings many opportunities to lead with vision and passion. Taking time to reflect on goals can help ensure your school is headed in the right direction and that everyone is working towards a common goal. By setting clear objectives, embracing change, and nurturing relationships, you can make sure this year is one of progress and success! Good luck!

How to Deal With an Undermining Coworker

Not everyone at work is your best friend and unfortunately, at times, they intentionally work to undermine your credibility. Learn how to deal with a coworker that undermines you and makes your life harder than it needs to be. Follow these tips for dealing with difficult people at work.

Not everyone at work is your best friend and unfortunately, at times, they intentionally work to undermine your credibility. Learn how to deal with a coworker that undermines you and makes your life harder than it needs to be. Follow these tips for dealing with difficult people at work.

Not everything that happens at work is in your hands. Not everyone gets along with everyone and unfortunately some colleagues intentional try to paint you in a poor light. It is important to remember that you are not the only person at work and that there are things happening outside of your control. Don’t get discouraged; instead, use this as an opportunity to learn how to better manage difficult situations and relationships. Additionally, be yourself! Don’t try to be someone that you’re not in order to fit in or make people like you. You will be more successful and happier in the long-run if you are genuine.

A wise colleague of mine once mentioned that you can tell what someone thinks of you by how their friends treat you? If their friends are kind to you, then they probably think positively of you. If their friends seem to avoid you or talk poorly about you, then they probably don’t have your best interests at heart. It is important to remember this when navigating relationships at work. Don’t take things too personally and always try to maintain a positive attitude!

Noticing the ‘passive aggressive’ tendencies can alert your attention. Watch out for gossips. But why do people actively try to undermine others? Some of the reasons for this include:

  1. Jealousy: This could just be about the success you are achieving or that they are wanting your position. By putting you down they are trying to make themselves look good.
  2. Tall Poppy Syndrome: This is where people don’t like it when someone stands out from the rest. They feel threatened and may try to cut them down to size.
  3. Lack of Confidence: This could be because they are new to the company or just don’t have the same skillset as you. They may feel that by putting you down, it makes them look better.
  4. Poor Performance: Some colleagues are unable to “produce the goods” so actively gossip against you. They try to deflect their poor performance by centering on what others are doing.

What can you do?

There are a few things that you can do in order to deal with difficult colleagues:

  1. Control What You Can: There are things that you can control and things that you can’t control. try to focus on the things that you can and don’t get wrapped up in the things that you can’t.
  2. Talk To Them: Sometimes all it takes is a conversation to clear the air. Talk to them about your thoughts and feelings and see if they are willing to do the same.
  3. Document: If the situation continues to be difficult, it might be a good idea to document what is happening. This can help you if you need to take any further action.
  4. Stay Positive: It can be tough but try to stay positive and don’t let them get to you. Remember that you are doing your best and that is all anyone can ask for.
  5. Continue to Focus on Doing Your Best: Ultimately, the only thing you can control is yourself. So, continue to focus on doing your best and don’t worry about what others are doing.
  6. Actions Speak Louder than Words: Sometimes the best thing to do is just act. Show them that you are not affected by what they are saying and that you don’t believe in their nonsense.

Difficult colleagues can be a challenge to deal with, but by using these tips, you can navigate the situation and come out on top!

How excellent schools achieve success!

Excellent schools have high expectations and work tirelessly to ensure that every student has the opportunity to reach their full potential. Learn more about what makes these schools so successful!

An excellent school is one that strives for continual improvement. It’s a learning community where every individual is supported and challenged. Excellent schools are innovative and forward-thinking, always looking for new ways to improve the educational experience for their students. They have high expectations for all members of their community, and they work tirelessly to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Leadership: The capacity to lead in a way that is good for students, workers, parents, and communities may be referred to as organizational leadership. It entails establishing an effective institution by giving excellent ideas to teachers and encouraging children through creative teaching methods. Teachers and pupils will have fresh ideas if they are given with competent growth that is both strong and applicable. Good leadership encourages the teachers, supports them, and makes student-centric decisions. They will create a positive change in the school environment by promoting innovation and creativity in students. The most important characteristic of a successful school is its ability to guide teachers and pupils towards achieving their ultimate objectives effectively.

Communication: It is crucial to have effective communication in education. A successful school should make frequent contact with teachers, students, and parents about what’s going on at the institution so that productive conversation can occur every time someone takes an action that produces the greatest benefit for the kids.

Quality Staff: Staff (both teaching and non teaching staff) at successful schools have a greater sense of empowerment. This creates a feeling of responsibility and trust in the staff’s minds, allowing them to work more productively in the classroom. The improved productivity and coordination that comes with a successful collaboration will help the school grow in confidence, improve job satisfaction, and enhance student learning outcomes.

Parental Engagement: The involvement of parents in their child’s education is essential for the successful learning process. This means that schools should strive to maintain a good relationship with them, which ultimately will benefit students by allowing more parental input and awareness on what goals are being achieved during class time or after-school hours. The school needs to have a solid relationship with the parents in order for them both be able provide effective processes that inform each other on how their child is learning and what steps they will take next. Teachers can offer resources about your student’s development, which you as parent would use when deciding where he/she should go from here!

High Expectations: When a school has high expectations for its students, it can make them more aware of their goals and what they need to do in order achieve these. Schools with rigorous learning outcomes will also demand excellence from each student which improves standards among others as well. This, in turn, creates an environment that is conducive to learning because everyone is working together towards a common goal. The result is usually increased student achievement rates.

Evaluation: The process of evaluation should be an integral part in determining what curriculum is working best for students. Without this, schools cannot know if their teaching strategies are effective or not which may lead to lower levels success on assessments In order achieve these goals it’s important teachers have access and understanding about how evaluations work along with appropriate methods so they can teach more effectively based off data collected during them.

In Summary: Successful schools have a variety of characteristics that help guide pupils and teachers to achieve their goals. Establishing effective communication, promoting innovation and creativity in students, having competent growth, being good leaders, and supporting teachers are some of the most important ones. These qualities create a positive change in the school environment which allows for better job satisfaction among the staff, improved productivity, and enhanced student learning outcomes.

The Future of Education: Learning in a Rapidly Changing World

In today’s rapidly changing world, the purpose of education is evolving. Schools are no longer just teaching the 3Rs – reading, writing and arithmetic. They are now also responsible for teaching the 6Cs – critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity, citizenship and character. This shift in focus requires teachers to be constantly learning and upgrading their skills in order to meet the needs of their students. It also means that schools need to be more flexible in their approach to curriculum and teaching methods. Universities have a key role to play in preparing new teachers for this changing landscape, and they too must adapt if they want to remain relevant. There are many innovative and creative school systems out there that are leading the way in change. Let’s look closer at what it means to be educated in a rapidly changing world.

The future of education is about more than just the content that is taught in schools. It is also about the skills that students need in order to be successful in the workforce. With technology becoming increasingly important in all industries, it is essential that students have strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills. They also need to be able to communicate effectively and work well in teams. creativity and innovation will also be key, as businesses always need new ideas and solutions to stay ahead of the competition. And finally, good character and citizenship are important for all members of society. Schools play a vital role in teaching these values to young people.

1. Learning in a rapidly changing world

The world is changing rapidly. In order to keep up, we must continuously adapt and learn new skills. But what does it mean to be educated in a rapidly changing world?

Simply put, it means having the ability to adapt to change. It means being able to learn new things quickly and effectively. It means being able to think flexibly and solve problems creatively. In short, it means being able to continuously learn and grow.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that the traditional educational system is obsolete. Far from it. The foundation of a good education is still reading, writing, and arithmetic. But in a rapidly changing world, these basics must be supplemented with continuous learning. We must learn how to learn so that we can keep up with the changes around us. Only then can we truly be considered educated in a rapidly changing world.

2. The purpose of school has changed from 3Rs to 6Cs

The purpose of school has changed over the years from simply teaching the 3Rs of reading, writing and arithmetic to now also include the 6Cs of critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity, character and citizenship. This change is due to the ever-changing needs of society and the workforce. In today’s world, employers are looking for employees who are not only knowledgeable in their field but also possess soft skills such as critical thinking and communication. Furthermore, with the rise of technology and globalization, collaboration and creativity have become increasingly important. As such, schools need to adapt their curriculum to reflect these changing needs.This change is driven by the needs of the 21st-century workforce, which increasingly values problem-solving and team-building skills. As a result, schools are placing more emphasis on developing students’ ability to think creatively and work collaboratively. At the same time, they are also working to instill strong character traits such as grit and perseverance. By preparing students for the challenges of the modern world, schools are helping to ensure that they will be successful in whatever path they choose to pursue.

3. Schools have adapted teaching methods, and universities are adapting too

Over the past few decades, there has been a shift in the educational landscape. Schools have adapted their teaching methods to better meet the needs of students, and universities are beginning to follow suit. One of the most notable changes is the use of technology in the classroom. Schools have started to use computers and tablets as teaching tools, and universities are starting to offer more online courses. another change is the emphasis on hands-on learning. Schools are incorporating more project-based learning into their curricula, and universities are starting to offer more internship and research opportunities. As society continues to evolve, it is clear that schools and universities will need to continue to adapt their methods of instruction.

4. Innovative schools are leading change with new ideas for education in a rapidly changing world

In a world that is becoming increasingly globalized and complex, it is more important than ever for schools to prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century. To meet this need, many schools are turning to innovative approaches to education. By incorporating new technologies, reaching out to international partners, and rethinking traditional educational models, these schools are leading the way in preparing students for the future. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for educational reform, the innovative approaches being adopted by these schools provide a promising roadmap for change. Given the rapidly changing nature of the world, it is clear that schools must also continue to adapt and evolve in order to ensure that their students are best prepared for the challenges ahead.

5. Education is about more than just content taught – skills students need for future workforce success also matter

In recent years, there has been a growing discussion about the purpose of education. Some believe that education should primarily focus on teaching students the content they need to know, such as math, science, and literacy. However, others argue that education should also prepare students for the workforce by teaching them practical skills such as teamwork, time management, and critical thinking. There is merit to both sides of the debate, but for an eye on the future, the latter perspective is more persuasive.

While it is important for students to learn the basic content they need to know, this alone is not enough to prepare them for success in the workforce. The reality is that employers are looking for workers who have more than just content knowledge. They want employees who have the skills necessary to work effectively with others, solve problems, and manage their time efficiently. Therefore, education should focus on teaching these types of practical skills. By preparing students for the workforce, we can help them to succeed in their careers and make a positive contribution to society.

So what does it mean to be educated in a rapidly changing world? It means that we all have to be adaptable and willing to learn new things. It also means that schools need to be flexible in their approach to curriculum and teaching methods. Only by constantly innovating will we be able to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of education.

Teacher burnout: How to recognize it and what school leaders can do about it

Learn about the signs of teacher burnout and find out what you can do to address it before it becomes a problem.

Here we are on the verge of school holidays, an important time for teachers to rejunvenate. Unfortunately, teacher burnout is a growing problem in recent years as we come to terms with the COVID-19 pandemic, shortage of teachers and growing scrutiny over global league tables and student performance. It can cause talented teachers to leave the profession, and it can be very difficult to recover from.

Teachers face a lot of difficulties. They must modify programs to meet the needs of a large number of learners, keep track of changing education regulations, deal with students with special needs, and fulfill administrative obligations. Many experience teacher burnout, hitting their limit in dealing with their work’s daily challenges. It occurs after prolonged exposure to poorly managed emotional and interpersonal job stress.

Teacher burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that can be caused by a variety of factors, including excessive workloads, lack of support, and unrealistic expectations.

Teacher burnout is a very real phenomenon that can have serious consequences for both educators and their students. It is typically characterized by feelings of cynicism, exhaustion, and a lack of enthusiasm for the job. Burnout can lead to absenteeism, Increase turnover, and adversely affect job performance. In extreme cases, it can even result in physical or mental illness. Burnout is often caused by unrealistic job expectations, insufficient resources, and a lack of support from school leaders or colleagues. However, it can also be sparked by a deep commitment to one’s students and a desire to see them succeed. Regardless of its cause, burnout can have a profound impact on those who experience it.

While it is not always possible to completely eliminate stress from a teacher’s life, there are steps that can be taken to prevent or reduce burnout. As a school leader, you play an important role in supporting your teachers and preventing teacher burnout. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Remember that your teachers are people with their own lives outside of the classroom. They need time to recharge, so don’t expect them to be available 24/7. Encourage them to take breaks, use their paid time off, and disconnect from work when they can.
  • Create a positive and supportive working environment. Make sure your teachers feel appreciated and valued, and that they have the resources they need to do their jobs effectively.
  • Foster a culture of feedback and collaboration. Encourage teachers to give and receive feedback openly, and make sure they feel supported by their colleagues. Help them to see challenges as opportunities for growth, not as personal failures.
  • Provide resources and support to help teachers deal with stress and burnout. This might include access to counseling services, opportunities for peer support, and educational materials on self-care.

    By taking these steps, you can create a school environment that is conducive to helping prevent teacher burnout. When teachers feel supported and valued, they are more likely to be engaged in their work and committed to their students’ success.

    What are your thoughts on this issue? Have you experienced teacher burnout yourself? How did you cope with it? Share your stories and advice in the comments below.

6 Quick Points to Creating a Culture of Excellence

I am often asked how I create a culture of excellence in the schools I lead. Some of these people want to know what effective leadership looks like in outstanding schools because they want to be a leader one day. They might also want to know so they can help their school be more successful. Here are a few thoughts for your to ponder

I am often asked how I create a culture of excellence in the schools I lead. Some of these people want to know what effective leadership looks like in outstanding schools because they want to be a leader one day. They might also want to know so they can help their school be more successful. Here are a six quick points for your to ponder (further insights can be found in my publication: To be Better Tomorrow Than You Are Today):

1. Define what excellence looks like in your school

Excellence is often described as a journey, not a destination. This is especially true when it comes to schools. There are many resources available to help you define excellence for your school. However, it is important that you involve your staff in this process so they have a shared understanding of what excellence looks like in your school.

2. Set high standards for yourself and your team

When it comes to being an effective leader in an outstanding school, the most important thing is establishing a culture of excellence. This begins by setting high standards and expectations for all students, staff, and the principal. This will help to ensure that everyone is committed to the same goal and helps keep your team on task.

3. Model the behaviour you expect from others

It is important to lead by example when you are trying to create a culture of excellence. This means that you need to model the behaviour you expect from others. If you are not doing this, it will be difficult to get others to buy into your vision.

4. Be resilient in the face of setbacks

Setbacks are inevitable when you are working towards excellence. It is important to see them as positive lessons instead of demoralizing failures. Learn ways to deal with setbacks and obstacles so you can move forward and achieve your goals. This includes developing resilience in the face of these setbacks so you can continue to make progress.

5. Focus on communication

Good leaders communicate regularly and through different media with their staff, students, and community members. They need to be able to share important information and updates. They also need to be able to listen to feedback and suggestions. Leaders need to be able to effectively communicate with their teams in order to work together towards common goals.

6. Celebrate successes

It is important to celebrate successes along the way. This will help to keep everyone motivated and focused on the goal. Excellence is a journey, not a destination. There will be many successes and setbacks along the way. By celebrating the successes, you will help to keep everyone focused on the goal.


If you want to be an effective leader in an outstanding school, it’s important to have the right skills and qualities. An effective leader in an outstanding school is someone who sets high standards and expectations, is supportive of their staff and students, encourages creativity and innovation, and communicates effectively with others. When these qualities are present in a school, it sends a message that excellence is important. This will lead to better results for the students in the school. Aspiring leaders can use these tips to help them become more effective leaders in their own schools.

I hope these brief insights are helpful for you as you work to create a culture of excellence in your school. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I am always happy to help! See more @

Preparing for the New Academic Year

In a couple weeks I’ll be taking the leadership reigns of my seventh school as school principal and, like many leaders looking at taking on leading a new school in 2021, I am reflecting and pondering on my entry plan.

In a couple weeks I’ll be taking the leadership reigns of my seventh school as school principal and, like many leaders looking at taking on leading a new school in 2021, I am reflecting and pondering on my entry plan. 

There is much excitement and yet, at the same time some apprehension, as one prepares to meet and interact with a new school community. 

As a support here are five key processes I’ll be undertaking to help guide me as I prepare for the beginning of my new leadership tenure:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

  1. Understand the mission in order to grow people toward the school’s vision: All schools have a purpose for being and, in order to lead successfully, you must understand what the school aspires to become.
  2. Develop strategies focused on achieving the vision: Strategies explain how the initiatives you put into place will reach their intended objectives. Once known, you then can create actionable plans to unite the community to achieve your intended outcomes. Your first 100 days of learning and listening will assist you in determining what strategies you will want to explore in fostering your plans to achieve the vision.
  3. Support and foster staff expertise to nurture the learning: Starting with knowing your staff you can help support their professional growth. This in turn gives you opportunity to tap into the expertise in your midst to help lead the school. 
  4. Study the evidence to understand the results: Given the key role of school leadership is centred on school improvement you need to know what is working well and what isn’t. Analysing the data gives insight into the current practices of the school and will help you understand why “things are the way they are”. This can help prioritise your thoughts 
  5. Eyes toward the future: “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got” or so the saying goes. With points 1-4 in mind, the new leader should be looking towards building a brighter future. 

Ultimately, whether you are leading a new school or not, for me the fundamental pillar of school leadership is in the positive relationships we build. No matter how you approach your new school year, you will never have a second chance in creating a positive first impression. How you meet and greet people will go a long way to setting up a successful leadership tenure. Nothing substitutes for building and nurturing positive relationships.

Re-Entry to School Buildings Post COVID-19

t has been bandied across the social media platforms that education and how we deliver learning will need to change to address the “new normal”. Given the paradigm shift schools have faced in recent time, we cannot simply return to the pre COVID-19 approach to teaching and learning. Our experience has shaped us and informed us on how to best connect with students and engage them in their learning.

It has been bandied across the social media platforms that education and how we deliver learning will need to change to address the “new normal”. Given the paradigm shift schools have faced in recent time, we cannot simply return to the pre COVID-19 approach to teaching and learning. Our experience has shaped us and informed us on how to best connect with students and engage them in their learning.

Research tells us that prior to the pandemic a third of teachers were actively thinking of leaving the profession within the next five years. Given the pandemic impact in the international school setting this statistic might rise with teachers wanting to return home to a more familiar and stable environment. Speak to recruiters (and other school leaders) and you will find that schools potentially anticipating a teacher (and school leader) recruitment crisis.

But there has been some silver linings during this pandemic. Across the globe, countries have cancelled their national standardised/high stakes testing regimes and looking at other means of providing assessment for their students. However, it is not only the 2019-20 cohort who will be affected by this crisis. The future and implications of such decision making is yet to be realised (if not improved!).

When we do go back to school everything will be different – and it must be different. From what we teach our students, to how we teach our students through to how we keep our students safe. We probably need to go back and ask ourselves the fundamental question of this age: what is the purpose of education?

No doubt the educational authorities, the experts in our field, have started formulating the answer. While we wait for their direction we too must be ready to enter a new reality of doing schooling given our professional judgment in light of the COVID-19 era.

So what might a re-entry into school buildings look like for educators and their school communities? Here are three categories that educators will be pondering:

1. Health & Hygiene Measures:

Given the precautionary social distancing, hand washing/sanitising campaign and temperature monitoring that has been instituted to help prevent the spread of the virus, there will be an expectation that similar measure be put into place when we return to school. There will be temperature screening on entering the school building and randomly throughout the school day. Teachers will be asked to stringently monitor (& limit) student access to washrooms and classrooms will most likely revert to rows of desks (with social distancing in mind) facing the front of the classroom. Changes to break times, restricted playground options and a rethink of how to use the cafeteria will be worked out.

2. Curriculum Re-Writes:

In a recent article John Hattie noted that “If we take out one term/semester of 10 weeks, [Australia and the US] still have more in-school time compared to Finland, Estonia, Korea and Sweden, which all outscore Australia and the USA on PISA,” Now if John Hattie is right, then it’s not time at school that’s the problem, it’s what we are teaching our students. We need a drastic rethink of our curriculum standards and dare I say, the mandated core subject allocation. Suffice to say that our current curriculum is voluminous and over crowded.

3: Pedagogical Shifts:

The fear is that a re-entry to the school buildings will see a return to the stand and deliver teaching methodology. It’s an easy solution to comply with the expected rules and regulations that may come down the educational authority line. The challenge for teachers is to use the learning experience of school closures and the various methods of facilitating learning for students at home and blend them into a new school experience. The flipped classroom, provision of instructional videos, project based learning derivations and even active learning strategies, will need to be the “new normal” when we return to school. However, for this new pedagogical stance to rise, changes to not only current standardised/high stakes testing but also inspection accountabilities need to be considered.

That said, the real question on everyone’s mind is, will we be re-entering school buildings too soon, or not soon enough?

Teacher Appreciation Week 2020

During this COVID-19 crisis, many people have been displaced from their normal routines. There has been a tumultuous upheaval in our day to day lives as we have now come to deal with the sudden closure of our retail outlets, shopping malls, restaurants, and of our schools.

The impact is devastating, for many as jobs have been lost, salaries cut, and with the pressures of working from home, the balance of family and work life has become problematic. Well-being issues have been brought to the forefront of conversations.

For families, it’s difficult to have to monitor two, three or four children each day to ensure their learning continues and learning tasks completed. No doubt parents are very appreciative of the work teachers do (given that teachers manage classes of up to 30 students every lesson, every day, every week)

Everyone is acutely aware of the challenges teachers are under. The pressure on them has never been greater.

Let’s not dwell on the mandated high stakes testing, or the diversity of student needs within the classroom, or the ever increasing accountability measures placed upon them, but rather celebrate and affirm their unwavering efforts to do the best they can for each and every student. It’s not an easy task.

Many teachers have had to learn new digital tools overnight as they moved into uncharted territory to personalize and improve their instruction for distance learning. This has come without real guidance and was fraught with many challenges and barriers. Perseverance, creativity and long hours have helped ease the transition. New routines, communication practices and a huge shift in pedagogy (ie the method and practice of teaching) has seen learning continue.

Our teachers too are essential workers, keeping the future alive under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. They are also in isolation, but provide countless hours of support to our students, parents and each other.

If there was ever a time to show our appreciation of teachers it is now.

To my staff at Al Yasat Private School, Abu Dhabi, I thank you! our students are in great hands. We are lucky to have you.

#alyasatschool #teacherappreciation #uae #teachers

What Will the Post COVID-19 School Era Look Like?

The key question, post COVID-19, is what will the (eventual) return to school look like for our students? Will schools revert back to what they were previously doing? What have we learnt during this (continual) period of distance learning that can add value to the campus based schooling experience?

The use of technology to help facilitate the learning process is not a new phenomenon. Advocates like Will Richardson, Marc Prensky, George Couros and Bruce Dixon have been spruiking the benefits for many years; and with varying degrees of success, the technology uptake in schools has grown.

However, with the forced lockdown of schools around the globe, the growth in the use of online web conferencing mediums (ie zoom, Google Meets, Microsoft Teams and even Skype) has suddenly thrust reluctant teachers into a new world of instruction. Talk about “Disruptive Innovation”.

The key question, post COVID-19, is what will the (eventual) return to school look like for our students? Will schools revert back to what they were previously doing? What have we learnt during this (continual) period of distance learning that can add value to the campus based schooling experience?

I would suggest that the forward thinking schools will adjust their approach to “doing” school!

Observing a static student schedule will change. I suspect that the use of timetables to direct students to move from one subject to the next based upon specified lesson minutes will change. Distance learning has taught us about the importance of time management. Building more independent learners, allowing students appropriate time to complete tasks and even allowing student choice in what they want to learn will become the norm.

The use of spaces will change. If we have learnt anything, the use of asynchronous learning platforms (eg Google Classroom) together with synchronous learning platforms (eg Google Meets) has provided efficient ways of reaching students. The traditional classroom space will need to be remodelled to allow the blending of online and face to face instruction.

How we assess students will change. The realisation that the recent evolution of the competitive standardised testing programs that have come to define success has arrived. Countries are abandoning these high stakes tests (eg NAPLAN – Australia, IGSEs – England, SATs – USA) and are putting the assessing of students back in the hands of the person best placed to make judgements on student learning… The Teacher.

School timing will change. The requirement to attend school will become more flexible. Given the “new” blended nature of learning, students will be able to be more discerning about their choice to attend school all day, every day. Lessons will be more tailored, learning more personalised. Teachers may provide an “office hours” approach, offer tutorial based instruction based on student need.

Curriculum will change. The shift to reducing content and creatively arranging lesson delivery to accommodate the shift to distance learning will see a rethink on what needs to be taught. Curriculum will morph into a more competency based approach. Much like the work of Mark Treadwell and Global Curriculum project.

Whatever the thinking is, when schools do reopen, it is an opportunity for us to provide a better education than the one we left.