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How challenging global standards for school improvement led to Al TARBIYEH

by Chris Durbin, Associate Director for School Support and Evaluation, Council of International Schools

HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan, on behalf of the ABS Board of Trustees, welcomes the IB/CIS Evaluation Team to ABS

How A school community embraced school improvement and committed to child protection training in Arabic to meet the needs of its community.

Amman, Jordan provides a fitting location for the first CIS International Accreditation Team Evaluation using our new truly international protocol. This is a nation that is committed to global citizenship, committed to helping out its neighbouring peoples who are racked by conflict. Jordanians are exposed to dilemmas of global citizenship in their daily lives.…

Posted by CIS on Wednesday November 22
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If you’ve ever attended one of our Higher Education events, you will have noticed the fondness and collegiality that extends over our networking tables. Our university admission representatives love our guidance counsellor members. And our guidance counsellors love our admission reps. These bonds often start in one part of the world and can last for years, through various global relocations and career moves. 

So what happens when an admission representative wants to switch sides of the desk? As a part of the CIS community, they are surrounded by a very supportive network of schools and counsellors. We spoke with some of our members that have made that leap from university admissions to university guidance and found an …

Posted by CIS on Monday October 16
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developing your intercultural competency in your career search

It’s time to take another step forward in your career, for personal and professional growth. Let’s assume you are open-minded and eager to learn from being immersed in another culture. How do you maximize the opportunities this offers by becoming interculturally competent? And, what is intercultural competence anyway?

Chances are that if you’re interested in teaching abroad, you’ve considered the potential pitfalls and opportunities that intercultural communication can invite. (At least, we hope.) But diving deeper into intercultural competency will help you be more prepared to form relationships in a new environment and do your job at its fullest potential. For a definition of intercultural competence, it seems …

Posted by CIS on Monday September 18
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Culture and Learning - A new and engaging questionnaire tool to support international educators

by Peter Welch, Director, International School of Helsinki, Finland

This year, CIS continues its groundbreaking research into the relationship between culture and student learning and communication preferences. Working in partnership with my school, International School of Helsinki, our shared ambition is to provide students, educators and school leaders with relevant, accessible information on the cultural dynamics in our communities. We want to provide an engaging, practical tool that helps us work effectively within culturally diverse schools.

Last year, about six thousand students worldwide piloted a new online questionnaire. This questionnaire draws from cultural theory and applies this to common learning and communication …

Posted by CIS on Thursday August 31
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Unintended Outcomes of Service Learning: Being on the right side of the tide

by Ann Straub, International Advisor, Council of International Schools

The Council of International Schools has at its core, global citizenship. A vital aspect of global citizenship is taking action to benefit humanity in order to create social sustainability. This action often manifests itself in the form of service learning. What better way to engage our students than with helping other children around the world? However, as stated by Emmanuel Werner from Friends-International, an NGO with programs in South-East Asia and Switzerland, “Service learning has to be done the right way. It is recognized that good intentions are not enough and volunteering may cause more harm than good if not well thought out.”

Emmanuelle goes on…

Posted by CIS on Thursday July 20
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The Self-Study Process

by Neil Bunting, Greenfield Community School, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Having just completed the self-study process for accreditation at Greenfield Community School (GCS), Dubai, I thought it would be useful to share some of the benefits of the process for our school, and also, from what I have seen from other schools that I have visited as part of the visiting team.

First, and foremost, the self-study process enabled all of our school community – all stakeholders – to contribute and give their opinion and thoughts on life at GCS. These contributions were invaluable in establishing a 360-degrees, holistic view of the school.


The schools that I have observed that have made the best use of the self-…

Posted by CIS on Thursday July 6
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What are the realistic expectations for Intercultural Learning to occur in Schools?

by Martha Ross, Vienna International School, Vienna, Austria

The CIS Symposium on Intercultural Learning provided the forum for interested educators like myself to reflect on the importance of intercultural competencies within the field of international education. We shared examples of good practice, current research and discussions about student experience, which contributed to interesting debate and raised the consciousness of us all. For two days, we lived in the ideology of intercultural learning. We heard from impressive student key note speakers from The International School of Amsterdam, who reinforced the effects that intercultural learning has had, and will have, on their lives.

After attending the first Symposium last year,…

Posted by CIS on Friday June 23
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Beyond Vision to Action: Student Leadership, Intercultural Learning and Service

by Rebecca Butterworth and Lydia Eckstein, Inter-Community School, Zurich, Switzerland

Setting the Scene…

“I experience learning as coercive.” When one of our student ambassadors made this statement at a leadership conference about the future of learning, it gave us good reason to pause. As committed educators we believed that students were at the heart of our decision-making. How could this be that learning was coercive? Were we truly that controlling?

According to this student, yes. Choice in what and how to learn is limited, and even more so as students move through the system and sit final examinations. This student was articulating that her experience of schooling reflected a top-down power structure where the …

Posted by CIS on Friday June 9
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Language instruction through an asset-based approach: Understanding what students can do with languages

by Lorena Mancilla, PhD, Director of WIDA Early Years

Language is intricately tied to our identity. However, far too often multilingual students are subjected to implicit, and at times explicit, messages that devalue their home language and/or language practices. Such deficit-based messages can be detrimental to a student’s identity and can negatively impact their learning and language development.

In her seminal work on borderland identity, Gloria Anzaldúa (1987) wrote, “So, if you want to really hurt me, talk badly about my language. Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity—I am my language. Until I can take pride in my language, I cannot take pride in myself.” Recognizing that language and …

Posted by CIS on Monday June 5
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Value and Values: CIS Tour Participation as Investment in Yourself, Your Institution, Your Community

by Sam Dunlop, Portland State University, Portland, United States

There I was again. Attempting to moderate a friend’s reaction to my recent international trip, this time assistant leading the CIS Africa tour. “You have a dream job,” he says.

“There are many dreamy parts of my job,” I say. “But not all of it is as glamorous as it sounds. I promise.”

To him, and many of my friends and family, I leave the comfortable (and delicious) bubble of my Portland life for a three week holiday in the ever-exotic and mystical land known as “Elsewhere.”

Of course, Elsewhere, at least to all my friends and family, is based on the snapshots I share through my well-curated stream of Instagram …

Posted by CIS on Tuesday April 25
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