Erin and Vivian have offered a long-running and very successful PD session after school on Mondays. This session has been an open invitation to Instructional Assistants (also known as TAs) and teachers. The PD has focused on discrete skill development for helping teachers reach the diverse needs of learners. Vivian, Erin and all the participants thus far have taken a strong equity stance for the students and teachers at SIS.
My doctoral research is also focused on equity, and thus Erin, Vivian and I engaged in a co-researcher partnership. My research addresses the question: How can the relationships between locally hired and internationally hired employees in international school settings be more reciprocal, diminish marginalization, and lead to more equitable working environments?
Vivian, Erin and I aim to facilitate a two-fold participatory action research project (PAR) with the democratic participation of the community:
· First, we will facilitate discrete skill development sessions in technology and pedagogy (every Monday)
· Second, we will facilitate Learning Exchanges focused on specific equity questions (TBA)
Learning Exchanges focus on learning from and with each other to act collectively. Leadership in the learning exchange lexicon is a function of many, not solely invested in a person or a group of persons. Leadership is collective and relational, not individual and top down. By focusing our efforts on relational trust, dialogue, and reciprocal learning as indispensable prerequisites of effective change, LEs amplify and accomplish a balanced set of academic, social-emotional, and civic outcomes.
Underpinning our practice in ethical leadership, we will explore the creation of Gracious Space when investigating self and others. Gracious Space is not a conflict-free space. As people work together in community, it is inevitable that differences in culture, values, and beliefs may cause some conflict. It is important to have the space for conflicts to emerge and be addressed productively. The Learning Exchange is that space.
We have created a website that further unpacks the ideas of Gracious Space, and Learning Exchanges. All participants of the LE are invited to act as co-authors on this site and ownership is democratic.
Our first formal Learning Exchange will happen on October 23rd at 3:30PM – 4:30PM.
In this exchange, we will explore the following questions:
1. What would you describe is your main role at this school?
2. What would you describe as your responsibilities within that role?
3. Do you feel that your role is of equal value to the teachers you work along-side?
4. In what ways do you collaborate with your team?
5. What adjustments do you think could be made to your role and responsibilities, if any?
These may seem like simple questions, however, when we engage in public, honest dialogue these questions: challenge us to reflect on the realities and assumptions we hold regarding our colleagues, require us to view our colleague's gifts and capabilities, and inspire us towards actionable change (if needed).
You are invited to join us every Monday afternoon for discrete skill development when you are able. We also hope that you join us for the first larger formal Learning Exchange on October 23rd.