Professional Learning

Being a learning community is  integral to who we are at ISP. One of our ISP 2020 Strategies is “Everyone in our community takes active steps to learn with and from each other.” This means that adults in the community are encouraged and supported to be lifelong learners just as students are. At ISP, there are a variety of ways in which we continue to learn.

2019-2020 Visiting Experts and Workshops

ISP’s enthusiasm for professional development and commitment to innovation in education means the school welcomes educational experts from around the world to speak to and work with our faculty, staff and community. See below to learn more about  those visiting ISP in 2019/2020.

Previous Visiting Experts

ISP’s passion for learning as well as its excellent facilities allow the school to host a significant number of guests, workshops and conferences. In recent years, ISP has hosted the Central and European School Association (CEESA) Conference, IBICUS International Baccalaureate workshops, the Czech National Teachers Conference and the memorable visits from the totemic British primatologist, Dr. Jane Goodall, and NASA astronaut Mr. Ricky Arnold.

The Edge in Education series

The Edge in Education is a series of seminars and workshops which take place each academic year on campus at ISP. The series brings together eminent international speakers from the field of education and beyond with ISP educators and parents.

The sessions cover a range of thought provoking presentations on current and future trends in education. The links below show video coverage of the Edge in Education sessions.

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Breaking the Voice and Brain Barrier: Evidence-based language learning

Dr Gianfranco Conti: Finding ways to effectively and efficiently acquire additional languages is a key to Empowered Learners, our theme for this year as we aim to “Unleash our Collective Potential” here at ISP. Dr. Gianfranco Conti joined us for our first Edge in Education of 2019-20. In this session, he …

  • framed the discussion in the context of the latest research evidence in second language acquisition,
  • debunked common myths and misconceptions,
  • provided an evidence-based account of how the human brain processes language,
  • laid out the key principles underpinning effective language teaching and learning, and
  • suggested research- informed steps parents can take
    to support and enhance the development of their children’s lifelong language learning skills.
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From the International Space Station to the International School of Prague

Ricky Arnold has a fascinating life story, having made the transition from international school teacher to international astronaut. Mr. Arnold returned from his most recent mission less than a year ago, returning to earth in October 2018, having spent several months in space with the International Space Station. Before being selected by NASA in 2004, Mr. Arnold was an international educator. He started his teaching career in his native Maryland, USA, before teaching at international schools in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Romania.

At ISP, Ricky and Elloise Arnold spent most of their time with the students, but luckily our community also had the opportunity to hear from them during this Community Edge in Education.

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Help your child navigate Friendship, School and Social Media

Rosalind Wiseman is the New York Times best-selling author of “Queen Bees and Wannabes” (upon which the movie “Mean Girls” was based!) and spent several days working with faculty, students and parents at ISP . Rosalind’s time working with the ISP Community culminated with her session for parents entitled ‘Help your child navigate Friendship, School and Social Media.’

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Preparing Students for Future Relevance

With Dr. Marc T. Frankel: A central question for schools today is how to prepare students to “adapt and contribute responsibly to our changing world.” The good news is that we know the answer. This answer has less to do with traditional markers of success—test scores and elite university admissions—and more to do with habits of mind and heart that students can take with them to a multiplicity of schools and workplaces. The challenge of the future is to stay continuously relevant, and the great schools will be those that prepare students to find and sustain their own relevance. Learn what makes a great school and how international education can be at the vanguard of preparing students “to lead healthy, fulfilling, purposeful lives” in an ever-changing world.

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Transformative Learning Through Deep Engagement - Garfield Gini-Newman

Garfield Gini-Newman, Professor at the Ontario Institute of Education at the University of Toronto, speaks once more to ISP parents on the theme of engagement. In this session Garfield clarifies what is meant by educational engagement at levels from low to transformative. This session is about how educators and parents can support deep learning through engagement and thinking, both critical and creative.

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How can the inquiry approach help your children learn? - Kath Murdoch

In this session, Kath shares with parents the ways in which an inquiry approach to learning really engages students and helps them build a strong skill set for learning at school and for life. This session also includes suggestions for ways in which parents can support their child to be curious questioners and problem solvers.

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Empowering Learners - Garfield Gini-Newman

Linked to ISP’s Mission to Empower learners,
Garfield Gini-Newman, professor at the Ontario Institute of Education in the University of Toronto, and highly respected teacher, author and consultant returned to ISP to deliver a talk that focused on:

-Inspiring wonder, opening students’ eyes to a world of possibilities;
-Developing intellectual capacity, building students’ intellectual toolkit so that they become effective thinkers in all domains; and
-Nurturing creativity, helping unleash students’ potential for innovative responses to complex and often unique challenges.

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Mathematics Learning for the 21st Century - Dr. Yeap Ban Har

ISP welcomed Dr. Yeap Ban Har, Professor of Mathematics Education at Singapore’s sole teacher education institute, the National Institute of Education at Nanyang Technological University. Since 2010, he was the principal at a teacher professional development institute and concurrently Director of Curriculum and Professional Development at Pathlight School in Singapore. He is also Academic Director at Anglo Singapore International School, an international school in Thailand.

Linked to ISP’s Mission to Empower learners, Ban Har’s presentation was a conversation about what and how students should learn through mathematics. The presenter will share some data of student learning and outline learning experiences that are critical in high-level learning in mathematics.

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School: At the Centre of Changing the World - Ewan McIntosh

This session was led by Ewan McIntosh – the passionate and energising tour de force behind NoTosh. A highly-regarded keynote speaker at events around the world, he’s also the author of How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen.

The world is screaming out for young people who can do more than just follow the rules. Following the rules is not enough anymore to create the products and services that people need, or to find and resolve the planet’s greatest challenges. (#ISP2020Change) And yet, so much of our schools’ values and systems present a challenge of their own: they are all about rule-following, and doing ‘well’ against pre-set criteria. What if school wasn’t about meeting the criteria, but exceeding them.

What if school wasn’t about following all the rules, but helping students learn when they should really go about breaking them? Sharing insights from his work with some of the world most innovative engineering and creative firms, and first-rate schools, Ewan McIntosh will show how school can be less about preparing students for an unpredictable world, and more about putting them at the centre of changing it.

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Talk at Reggio Conference @ISP - Christine Cahille

Christine Chaille, Professor and Department Chair, Curriculum & Instruction at Portland University visited ISP and spoke to an audience of parents about children as theory builders. The session focused on:

  • how children learn by building theories
  • how to support our children’s theory-building
  • parents AS theory-builders
  • the value of “not knowing”
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Great Leaders, Great Teachers, Great Parents - Ewan McIntosh

What is the most burning question you have about the way your child learns, the way teachers teach, about what you can do as a parent to support your child as they thrive long into the future?

Ewan McIntosh, originally a high school teacher who learned the most by teaching three year olds now works with some of the world’s most innovative engineers, fashion designers, media folk and yes, teachers. He helps them understand how they can work together to create something bigger.

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3 C's of Quality Thinking: Critical, Creative and Collaborative - Garfield Gini-Newman

Garfield Gini-Newman, professor at the Ontario Institute of Education in the University of Toronto, and highly respected teacher, author and consultant led a session on quality thinking for ISP Parents. Garfield, co-author of “Creating Thinking Classrooms”, is working with educators around the world to nurture critical, creative and collaborative thinking.

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Cultivating Curiosity - Kath Murdoch

Kath Murdoch, Kath Murdoch is an experienced teacher, author, university lecturer and popular consultant who has worked for many years in schools throughout Australia, New Zealand, Asia, America and Europe.

Kath’s session for ISP parents focused on why curiosity and wonder are such vital dispositions for learning (and living!).

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Children as Theory Builders - Christine Cahille

Christine Chaille, Professor and Department Chair, Curriculum & Instruction at Portland University visited ISP and spoke to an audience of parents about children as theory builders. The session focused on:

  • how children learn by building theories
  • how to support our children’s theory-building
  • parents AS theory-builders
  • the value of “not knowing”
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Developing your Child's Thinking - Mark Church

ISP welcomed back Mark Church, co-author of “Making Thinking Visible” to address parents.

Creating a culture where learning is relevant, connected, and driven by curiosity is central to the ISP strategic plan, ISP2020. The language we use, the questions we engage with and deeply understanding how learning happens matter greatly. This session focused on:

How our motives and vision for learning give shape to the kinds of language we use with children

Language patterns that typically dominate our interactions with children

Routines that develop productive language and interactions for meaningful learning with our children.

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The Power of Principles - Kevin Bartlett, Greg Curtis and Peter Mott

ISP is proud to be the first international school to pilot the new NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges) accreditation protocol, known as ACE (Architecture, Culture, Ecology).

Why is this new approach to accreditation necessary? Great schools are those where directions and decisions are framed by powerful, shared, research-based principles, not constrained by an over-abundance of complicated rules and regulations. Our concept of ‘learning’ – what ‘it looks like’, how it is nurtured or hindered, where and how it occurs, and what it means to be a learning-focused organization – has significantly changed thanks to social, economic, and technological shifts and dramatic new insights and understandings provided by brain research. Yet, despite many efforts at reforming and reinventing the place we call ‘school’, education has made little progress in liberating itself from a 19th century factory model designed to produce mass literacy – and a compliant work force. For the most part ‘school’ continues to be a place where learning is equated with academic outcomes, content mastery, and uniformity of process and practice. ‘Learning’ remains largely de-personalized, is often confused with high stakes test results, and does not equip our children with the understandings, aptitudes, dispositions, values, and competencies needed to deal with the global dilemmas and challenges of our times.

The preliminary accreditation team joined us during the first week of May, and spoke with the ISP community about the link between the principles embedded in our learning experiences and those arising from educational research.

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What do today's employers look for in students entering the workforce? - Michael Del Nin, Eva Shaw and John Westby

Edge in Education Breakfast Mixer and Panel Discussion, April 24, 2015: The final session of the “Edge in Education” Series* of the 2014-15 academic year at the International School of Prague.

As the ISP mission states, our school strives to prepare learners to adapt and “contribute responsibly to our changing world.” In other words, we want our students to be “future-ready.” Figuring out what this means has never been more complex or challenging. With the help of a panel of professionals (and ISP parents!) from a number of fields, the fifth and final Edge and Education of the year addressed the question, “What do today’s employers look for in students entering the workforce?”

Thank you to Michael Del Nin (Co-CEO, CME), Eva Shaw (Partner & Country Manager, Czech Republic & Slovakia, Lansdowne International), and John Westby (AVP, IT Global Innovation Center at Merck).

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Design Thinking Workshop

The heart of our ISP Mission is to prepare learners to adapt and contribute to our changing world by engaging them in an authentic global education.

In order to realise this mission, we examine trends to better anticipate what may be “life worthy learning.”

“Design Thinking” is a structured, engaging and dynamic process that develops learners’ empathy while developing critical and creative thinking, as the learner generates and develops ideas for identified needs (see this video for a two minute video intro to Design Thinking. Tinkering, making, and/or inventing for authentic needs provide powerful opportunities for learners to fail and bounce back from getting stuck, nurturing the key dispositions for future success: risk-taking, tenacity, resilience, and grit.

This fourth session of the 2014-15 ISP Edge in Education series at the International School of Prague discusses “Design Thinking: How can we inspire our learners to act with empathy, while applying critical and creative thinking to meet authentic needs.” As stated in “Design Thinking for Educators” from the d. School at Stanford University, “Design Thinking is the confidence that everyone can be part of creating a more desirable future, and a process to take action when faced with a difficult challenge. That kind of optimism is well needed in education.”

Attendees were asked to watch this five-minute video before the meeting – it’s about a teenager using Design Thinking to authentically contribute to the world.

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Service Learning Workshop

The heart of our ISP Mission is to prepare learners to adapt and contribute to our changing world by engaging them in an authentic global education.

In order to realise this mission, we examine trends to better anticipate what may be “life worthy learning.” Click on the image below to watch the video.

In the Jan. 16th session, we discussed how students at ISP investigate issues, prepare for service, take action, reflect on their steps, and document their learning; how can we inspire our learners to act with compassion and intercultural understanding? Parent, students, and faculty members shared their experience with Service Learning.

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Experiential Learning Workshop

The heart of our ISP Mission is to prepare learners to adapt and contribute to our changing world by engaging them in an authentic global education.

In order to realise this mission, we examine trends to better anticipate what may be “life worthy learning.”

The subject of our second Edge in Education session of 2014-15 was “Experiential Learning: How can we engage, inspire, and empower our learners through authentic learning experiences?” As the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (OECD) states, “There is broad consensus that in innovation-driven societies, schools have to guide students in solving complex, unfamiliar and non-routine tasks.”

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The Relevance Gap

The heart of our ISP Mission is to prepare learners to adapt and contribute to our changing world by engaging them in an authentic global education.

In order to realise this mission, we examine trends to better anticipate what may be “life worthy learning.”

The title of this first Edge in Education session of 2014-15 was “The Relevance Gap: will today’s content be relevant in the future of our current students?”

Attendees were encouraged to watch this six-minute interview with David Perkins of Harvard University which acted as a springboard for the discussion about the challenges the relevance gap poses and how we’re addressing some of these challenges here at ISP.

Professional Learning Salons

Professional Learning Salons are one way for us to share our extensive internal expertise here at ISP. PL Salons take place four times every school year and are facilitated by our teachers. They encompass a range of topics based on the expertise and interests of the facilitator such as, to name a few, Learning Environments, Critical Thinking, Drawing to Learn, 3D Printing, Cognitive Coaching, Student Agency, Yoga for children, etc.

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Professional Inquiry: ‘LIFTs’

Learning Inquiry Focus Teams (LIFTs) is a form of professional inquiry where ISP faculty engage in relevant, significant, and evidence-informed inquiries that are connected to our mission and learning principles, and involve:

  • Questioning what’s going on for our learners;
  • Investigating and reflecting on evidence of learning;
  • Testing ideas intended to improve learning;
  • Drawing evidence-based conclusions about what we have learned;
  • Deciding what will we do with what we’ve learned.
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Thought Leaders

ISP is very active in regional and international professional education organizations and networks. We partner with multiple educational institutions and members of our faculty are regularly involved, and indeed take lead roles in working groups, presenting workshops at conferences and leading multi-day workshops in Europe and beyond.