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Understanding International/Private Schools Workshop Program

This program is designed for teachers and administrators who are preparing to move from a national to an international school. Many Ontario school leaders have completed this program and successfully secured roles in international schools located around the world.

Program Delivery

The Council of International Schools guided the development of the program to ensure three key themes radiate throughout the program: internationalism, global citizenship and intercultural competencies.

It is a five-week online course, 3-4 hours per week, 15-20 hours in total. 

Program Design

Unit 1: The Evolving Nature of International Schools

Participants will

  • understand the complex nature of “internationalism” in education
  • explore examples philosophies of a variety of international schools and their curricula
  • discuss different kinds of internationalism (including non-national, pan-national, ex-national, multi-national and trans-national) and
  • develop responses to questions including: why do international schools exist? How is internationalism reflected in different schools and systems? What accounts for the proliferation and increasing popularity of international schools?

Unit 2: International School Systems

Participants will

  • examine the history of the and rise of several international schools and school systems and models, including the Council of International Schools as well as others and
  • develop a classification scheme for international schools using a variety of criteria, including the location of schools, the background of school staff, the background and characteristics of students, the accreditations received by the schools, and their associations with other schools.

Unit 3: Governance Structures

Participants will

  • understand the variety of management and governance structures that exist in international schools and
  • explore implications for school leaders within these structures including the place of financial success in school life, the influence of parents on school governance, the accountability of school administrators for academic (or other) success and the influence of local culture in school life and school governance and management.

Unit 4: Curricular Programs for International Schools

Participants will

  • explore several curricular programs used by international schools – the International Baccalaureate, The Advanced Placement Program and the IGCSE Program
  • examine differences in student assessment and evaluation for these programs and
  • understand the motivation for and importance of curriculum in the organization of an international school.

Unit 5: Third Culture Schools

Participants will

  • understand the concept of Third Culture Schools and
  • reflect on and respond to issues that accompany the increasing popularity of International Schools including: Are international schools elitist and, if so, in what sense? Do international Schools impose a foreign cultural bias on local jurisdictions? What place do international schools have in cultures that already have a well-developed school system? Does curriculum alone make an International School?

Unit 6: Third Culture Kids (TCK)

Participants will

  • develop an understanding of the characteristics of students in international schools and
  • understand the diverse needs of these types of students, including accommodating their aspirations.

Unit 7: Third Culture Teachers and Administrators

Participants will

  • understand the unique issues faced by teachers and administrators in international schools by exploring key questions: “Where do teachers come from?”, “How long are they likely to stay, and why?” “What kind of performance indicators are applied to teachers?” “Where do administrators come from and what factors influence their hiring and career path?”

Unit 8: Defining International School Effectiveness: Part 1: Intercultural Competency for All

Participants will

  • understand concepts of intercultural competency and intelligence at the organizational and individual level and
  • explore the nature and use of the Intercultural Development Inventory and the Council of International School’s initiative in promoting intercultural competency within its schools.

Unit 9: Defining International School Effectiveness: Part 2: Frameworks and Accreditation Processes

Participants will

  • examine characteristics of effective schools that support 21st century teaching and learning using school effectiveness frameworks developed to support national and international schools and
  • explore the Council of International Schools Accreditation Process and Standards as an excellent example of defining the effectiveness of international schools.

Unit 10: Specific Challenges

Participants will

  • respond to case studies of international schools to develop an understanding of practical matters associated with working in an international school.

Testimonials of Quality

“I really enjoyed the facilitator real life examples in the international setting. The small p politics in the workplace always play a role and it seems much more of role working for an international school.”

“I thought the use of an experienced and connected facilitator was key. Sergio always had practical examples to further illustrate the point we were discussing. I think that is key. It brings the topics to life.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed the course and the learning. Continue to offer the course, as it is great learning about different perspectives and models of education around the world.”

“This was an awesome course with an outstanding instructor.”

Our Instructor

Dr. Sergio Pawel

“Universal knowledge would cultivate a love of wisdom that could overcome national and religious hatred and ultimately lead to peace”

Proclaimed back in 1650 by J. A. Comenius, these goals remain poignantly contemporary and the basis of a moral compass that govern Dr Sergio Pawel’s commitment to international education.

With a vast experience in international education spanning three decades across four continents, Sergio has led international schools in the United Kingdom and the Middle East where he had a chance to put to the test the notions of international mindedness, intercultural understanding and distributed leadership.

In the capacity of a leadership consultant, Sergio has developed more than 20 schools and curriculum models for schools and group of schools in China, Middle East and Europe as well as acted as adviser to government officials, corporate investors and charitable organizations on matters of school set up, curriculum development and school improvement.

With a solid and extensive academic background, which includes a MSc in Nuclear Physics, MPhil in Philosophy of Science and PhD in Education, he has contributed to the development of the English national Curriculum, the IB Middle Years Program (MYP) and the IB Diploma Science Programmes (DP), the early stages of the development of the international Middle Years Curriculum (IMYC) and many other smaller projects. Sergio’s pioneering work on integration of the mother tongue into the mainstream curriculum two decades ahead of time is now widely acknowledged as a point of reference in international education.

Sergio is a regular contributor to the International Baccalaureate Organization (IB) as a consultant, examiner curriculum designer and programme authorization visits, to the Council of International Schools (CIS) as a team leader in accreditation and authorization visits, to the Alliance of International Education (AIE) and ECIS as a conference presenter. He is also an associated inspector for Dubai’s KHDA.

His research interests ranges from authentic laboratory based learning practices to the study of cultural diversity as learning resource and he is a member of the review board for the Science Education Review journal. Sergio has been a regular presenter at national and international conferences, symposiums on workshops on themes that range from academic leadership, Mother Tongue, post-constructivism, science education, international education, international mindedness, cultural identity, interdisciplinary learning, strategic planning. More recently, Sergio has been researching Mezirow’s transformative learning theory with a view to create framework for global mobile learners.