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Head of School Weekly Notes

The Art and Science of Teaching

Today we welcomed final year students from a local university into our Primary school. These students are all training as Primary School teachers ready to enter the Japanese education system next year. This was a visit to look at an international, IB education and to consider the similarities and differences between the types of teaching and learning that happen here, and what is found in schools in Japan. It has been wonderful talking to the students and hearing their perspectives. 

Of course, learning is learning and there is more that unites than divides our systems. However, they have been struck by issues such as flexible grouping, collaborative learning, and learner autonomy. Seeing our learning through the eyes of these university students helps us reflect on our teaching too.

The art and science of teaching is incredible. There are a couple of old jokes teachers like to tell. The first is that ‘those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach’. The second is that “everyone knows about education, because everyone had one once!” Neither could be further from the truth. 

While teaching is the most natural thing in the world (all parents are teachers), the neuroscience that informs the craft of teaching, the constant and ongoing action research into best practices and the huge volume of academic papers on every conceivable aspect of teaching and learning would take more than a lifetime to comprehend. How difficult it is, then, to distill all of this down to a magic formula for teachers to learn before they are in front of 20+ students eager to learn!

At NIS, we recognize professional learning is ongoing. This week we launched four models of pedagogy (the science of teaching children). These are four research-based roadmaps that will improve learning for students in the areas of skill acquisition, knowledge acquisition, concept development and dispositional growth. It was exciting to see educators – from veterans to younger teachers – collaborating with excitement around the art and science of teaching. 

Good things are happening at NIS in terms of teacher growth and an ongoing commitment to being better at whet we do so that our students can become their best and most confident selves!

- M. Parr, Head of School