This emphasis on lifelong learning doesn't just apply to the students at SIS. Teachers, too, are encouraged to undertake professional development opportunities throughout their tenure at the school, leading their students by example.
This year, the teaching staff were offered the chance to attend the Educational Collaborative for International Schools' (ECIS) ‘Culture of Leadership' course, taught by Shary Lyssy Marshall. The well-respected course imparts critical skills and knowledge that helps teachers to become more effective leaders.
“One of the big things we like about having this course happen here is that it allows our teachers a chance to collectively learn. They can then apply their new knowledge within the context of our school.”
Teacher Sarah Kerwin is one member of SIS's staff who took up the chance to attend this year's leadership course. Originally from Canada, Kerwin has previously worked in international schools in Monterrey, Mexico and Milan, Italy. She moved to Stockholm four years ago and relishes the opportunities Stockholm International School offers her to develop her skills on a regular basis.
Sarah Kerwin. Photo: Stockholm International School
“I'm a lifelong learner and I'm constantly seeking out professional development opportunities. I think it's really worthwhile to further myself in my career and work on my leadership skills to make the whole school community better, especially for our students”, says Kerwin, who is the Head of the Library Department at Stockholm International School.
As well as attending courses offered by the school, Kerwin also undertook an enormous educational challenge of her own.
“This past year I finished a masters of Social Science, so I was working full-time and studying full-time. That was quite challenging but I think it really demonstrated my love of learning and that I really want to further myself and contribute more to the school”, she reflects.
This attitude doesn't just stop with the teaching staff at Stockholm International School.
Principal David Osler comes from a family of teachers and was brought up knowing the importance of continually learning new things, whether that's as a student, a teacher, or a Principal.
“As a school leader I have to demonstrate being open to development. With any occupation things are changing all the time and being in education, we should show that we are always open to learning, as well as being willing to develop and gain new skills because that's what we're trying to instil in our students,” he says.
The ‘Culture of Leadership' course is very popular and many SIS teachers chose to stay after the school year had finished to attend. Osler says he is proud of his staff and hopes they implement the new leadership skills they have learned.
Photo: Stockholm International School
“It shows the dedication of teachers taking their profession seriously. They take the opportunity to learn even if it's on the last couple of days of the school year. My hope is that they take away the skills and the tools to effect change and put into practice ideas that they'd like that try as leaders.”
Throughout the two-day course which took place in June, course leader Shary Lyssy Marshall, who is herself the principal of the American International School in Israel, facilitated discussions and took the participants through exercises and course material.
“The course is designed to help people reflect and get in touch with who are they as a leader as well as what they can work on to be more effective,” explains Marshall.
She adds that some of the qualities that make people effective leaders are also the same qualities that make effective teachers, such as having empathy, listening and being self aware.
Marshall explains that the key to effective leadership is remaining adaptable.
“Effective leadership in schools is highly collaborative. We know that the student experience has changed significantly as has what students need to know to be successful in the future, so teacher leaders also need to be at the cutting edge of their professional practice in knowing what is it that today's students need,” says Marshall.
This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by Stockholm International School