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Staff Study Day

Staff members could choose from a host of workshops during the staff study day just before the Easter break. These workshops were led by staff members willing to share their expertise. And what an eyeopener it was to learn from and with my colleagues on this action packed and very informative day, organised by Diploma Programme coordinator Katrina Brown.

By Ingrid Schmoutziguer, communications officerĀ 

‘Just breath in and breath out and concentrate on your breathing. Don’t try to change it, just observe’. Our study day kicks off with a mindfulness session in the drama studio, led by drama teacher Erick Aufderheyde, who started meditating himself six years ago. Although this session was bright and early and joining in was completely voluntary, some 50 staff members squeezed themselves into the black box to give it a go. It felt great to have such a calm and introspect start to the day.

Next on the programme was an ICT skills session, led by grade 5 teacher Craig Gouk and physics and maths teacher Mikko Peltonen. The workshops staff could then choose from three workshops:

  • Growth mind with English and drama teacher Angela Liu
  • Play with kg teachers Elvira Oskam and Panagiota Fameli
  • The rationalist mind set with physics and math teacher Mikko Peltonen

Rationalist Mind

I opted to go and listen to what Mikko had to say about the rationalist mind, which was plenty as it turned out. I loved his argument for truly rational thinking, being constantly aware of the way our brains is rooted to always find the ‘easy way out’. The cognitive biases (ways in which our mind stops us from rationalistic thinking) have had their function in evolution – otherwise we wouldn’t be here today. They do not serve us so well in the 21st century, as they did when we were still living in caves, according to Mikko. He has made it is mission, to teach our students about the pitfalls of cognitive biases and how to try and avoid them.

The whole staff then came together for a short tutorial by Katrina Brown on how to use Office 365 groups to streamline our collaborations.

After a lovely lunch in the primary Aula the staff got an introduction on the music vision at ISUtrecht by head of school Rynette de Villiers and music teacher David de Geus. The secondary staff then went with PYP coordinator Eryn Wiseman to find out about inquiry in primary, whereas the primary staff were filled in by DP coordinator Katrina Brown about inquiry in secondary.

Science Lab

Katrina talked to us about inquiry in her subject, which is science and how we as a school should make sure we use the same inquiry models and terminology across the ISUtrecht. For a bit of hands on fun, Katrina took the group to the science lab for an experiment, so we could experience first hand how students would tackle a scientific inquiry.

The following workshops were available to choose from in the afternoon:

  • Teaching with puppets with kg teacher Yaiza Morales
  • Excel skill building with chemistry teacher Geertje van Hal
  • Robots with teaching assistant Wychman Dijkstra

I chose to led Geertje brush up my excel knowledge, which was great. To make it a bit more interesting she prepared an experiment in which we had to blow into a beer bottle and measure the sound frequency. The data thus collected could be manipulated using excel.

Library

To round off the day media resources coordinator Ana Yao talked to primary staff about the new library system, whereas secondary staff ended the day by discussing inquiry across the Middle Years Programme. And of course we then all went for a well deserved drink!

I felt it was a really interesting day, which gave me the opportunity to see my colleagues in action, learn from them whilst at the same time making some new connections. This by staff for staff study day format, is something the school will definitely repeat every year.