Professional Learning at UWCSEA

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in Professional Learning & Development

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Professional Learning

& Development

19 August 2019

Excitement across the campuses as teachers met up with colleagues after the break for the first time last week

Inspiration comes in many forms – if you had a learning experience over the break, let us know. I recently listened to a podcast with performance coach Alan Stein Jnr, author of Raise Your Game. Incorporating lessons from basketball, he reminds us that focusing on improving one aspect of our ‘game’ takes approximately 66 days to become part of our game skillset.

Even if he’s wrong, sustained intentional practice and reflection can never be a bad thing.

‘Read & Discuss’ Lunchtime Club for Admin & Support Staff

Just sign up here, choose a book from the three choices below, read  a couple of chapters, then meet colleagues from across the College once a month to share your views. Meet three times as you work your way through the book. Available to admin and support staff on both campuses starting soon.

Support & Admin Staff – 2019/2020 Staff PD Fest dates for your calendars


  • October Staff PD Fest: 1st week of the break (21 – 25 October)
  • December Staff PD Fest: last week of the break (6 – 10 January)
  • April Staff PD Fest: 1st week of the break (30 March – 3 April)

Exciting PL Opportunity for DOVER Teachers

T2T ready to expand

If you’re interested in joining a team of teachers who willingly give up several days of the holidays every year, usually twice a year, to work with teachers in Phnom Penh, or in India this is your chance.

 What is T2T ?

You would be committing to two trips this year, as the basis of T2T (Teacher to Teacher) is the building relationship and accountability through return visits.

Trip dates vary from year to year dependant on the overlap between UWCSEA and CCF/Enabling Leadership calendars.

The college will subsidise your travel costs to the cost of approximately $500.

Their will be two visits to Cambodia this year:

Friday 25th January – Tue 28th January 2020 (CNY Break)

Friday 19th June – Tue 23rd June 2020 (Start of the long break)

Plus one or two visits to India, the first of which will be approximately the 20th – 23rd October.

If you are keen to join either of the teams or of you have any more questions, please feel free to ask/email Sean McHugh about the Cambodia trips, or Alice Henry (ahe) about the trip/s to India.

The T2T programme and my Masters in Teaching have been the most significant professional development experiences in my teaching career. I have valued the opportunity to work with a very motivated group of colleagues from UWC to instill organisational change within the Education department at Cambodian Children’s Foundation (CCF).

Over the last two years my teaching experience has been extended with every visit.

Matt, Dover teacher

Thinking about Empathy

             PL Book recommendation of the month

Rebecca Warren, UWC International asking UWCSEA alumni student Julia Schetelig, research assistant at the Peace and Conflict Neuroscience Lab of Emile Bruneau, about her current work:

Is there anything you are learning that should be on offer to UWC students as part of our peace education?

“I generally think that a certain amount of understanding of Social Identity Theory, Contact Theory etc benefits everyone who is interested in making the world a better place.”

extracted from the feed of the new UWC Global Hub (

Are you a trip leader? New Offsite trips training (OTT) is on offer from August 2019

If you are keen to be a pilot participant in the new 60 minute online course and provide feedback on how to make it even better, please contact Claire Firat (claireuwc@).

If cybercrime were a country, how big would it be in terms of GDP in the world?

Learn about how to keep our community safe as well as the answer to the above question when participating in a Cyber-safeguarding workshop led by Ben Morgan (seen left in mid flow).

Look out for dates coming your way in August onwards.

The High School Maths Job alike & ATM meeting, hosted at Dover 

was held in 3rd week May.
As Head, Julie Dale, reported,‘there was a very warm collaborative atmosphere is the room and it was fantastic to meet up with colleagues from other schools in Singapore to share ideas on our theme of Conceptual Understanding in Mathematics.’ 


 As one participant fed back …

“I really enjoyed discussing the conceptual understandings for the new IB Mathematics courses, understanding these will really make a difference to how I plan a unit of work.”

See photos (left)


Looking for domain specific professional learning?
Why not run a jobalike for your department too.


Considering further study?  … 

Play Therapy differs from regular play in that it uses an integrative and holistic therapeutic technique, through creative arts and and a specific toolkit to help support children to identify and express emotions and overcome challenges. Since completing this course, I feel I have a better understanding of how I can support students who are experiencing social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. I am very grateful for this opportunity and I would be happy to talk to anyone who is interested in Play Therapy. Watch this to learn more about it.

Keri Benefield

Primary school, Dover, reflecting on completing a Diploma in Play Therapy

The process for gaining my masters qualification was a really eye-opening experience and really transformed the way I view education strategies and tools. I have learned the necessity and value of grounding all new practice in research and the skills with which to do this. It also helped me appreciate the intricacies of the vast range of factors which affect student learning on a daily basis, and has enabled me to critically evaluate my teaching practice. As a consequence, it has had a significant impact on student engagement, productivity and outcomes in my classroom.

Tim Lovatt

High school, Dover, reflecting on completing a Masters in Education








Concept Based Teaching & Learning

On 7-8 May, Carla Marschall and Pippa Haley facilitated a 2-day workshop for High School teachers on Dover to support their continued learning on how best to integrate concept based teaching & learning into classes. Some feedback included:

Yikes! The K-12 English standards, benchmarks and EUs need to be revised! It would be great if we could right away start remodelling our units in light of this conceptual learning. However, I feel somewhat stuck b/c I know that our curriculum is K-12 and across two campuses, so revision will be really challenging especially as it seems we are being a bit squeezed in terms of time and money. For now, we can make unit-level changes and improve conceptual learning within and between our units, but they will not connect as meaningfully as they could if we had a stronger, better written curriculum.

Learning in more detail about what Conceptual based teaching means. I feel I am more aware about the fluid relationship between the concepts and the skills in my subject and feel more confident to ground concepts continually with factual and skill based examples. Whilst I enjoyed hearing about how other subject teachers apply concept based learning in their classroom, I enjoyed seeing examples which relate to my own subject area.

A chance to take a closer look at conceptual based inquiry and where it fits in our units. Using many of the strategies in a practical manner – finding out positives and negatives for ourselves- gives greater insight into the student perspective too. Being able to look in-depth at strategies that we can transfer directly into units. Chance to have conversations about where these things can fit- we never normally have time for this kind of discussion and it can be crucial to improving a unit.

Pre-mortems as a tool

when planning Projects


At High T in March, we discussed and participated in a pre-mortem.


See evidence in the photos on the left.


The slides have been uploaded in the Resources tab.


Find out more about pre-mortems here


Did you know?

Over the April break, the 3rd PD Learning Fest took place for support & admin colleagues. 

Quick Facts:

16 workshops & sessions

232 attendees

10 days, 2 campuses

50 litres coffee consumed (okay , I made this up)

Streams included:

Health & Safety (e.g. avoiding injuries)

Communication (e.g. proofreading)

Collaboration (e.g. work cultures)

Specialist (e.g. photoshop)


  • 50 staff received an introduction to Pos Ed
  • First ever support staff book clubs launched
  • First time the boardgame ‘Detective’ used in teambuilding (perhaps, not the last – it was cool)
  • First ever lego-certified serious play undertaken as a focus of critical thinking

Powerful Presentations

Last month at High T, the Communications team ran workshops on presentation skills.

For those of you who couldn’t make it, we have uploaded the presentation to the Resources page

What is High T?

High T is a monthly PL initiative to provide bitesize workshops to the community by the community.

Check our Internal PL calendar to see what’s on next month.

15:00 – 16:30 

on each campus

Top 5 Takeaways from Powerful Presentations

by Vikki Wright & Allison Forrow


Be vigilant about asking yourself, ‘what is the purpose of the presentation? To inform or entertain or …’

Stories work

Remember the art of storytelling: include time, place, event, emotion, resolution arc.

Practice is real

For every minute of the presentation, rehearse it that many times, e.g. a 15 minute presentation = 15 practises!

Key Message

Ask youself ‘what are the key pieces of information you want your audience to take away?’ – they will probably only retain 1-3 pieces.


Acknowledge where the audience are already at, e.g. We know you’ve had a long day and this will only take 5 minutes.

We want you!

Do you enjoy meeting people from across the College?

Are you curious about people’s learning and experiences?

Want to help share the learning across the community?

 Sound like you?

The Professional Learning & Development team needs you.

We are looking for a small group of PL advocates to ...

help us gather input for the new PL Hub by:

  • taking photos of people and events that represent learning across the College

  • interviewing people about their job or learning using whichever tools you prefer e.g. it could be a 20 second iphone interview, a 20 minute podcast, writing a post, producing a photo gallery to illustrate impact or making a Humans of UWC profile

  • gather feedback on PL initiatives to assess their impact

What sort of a commitment is it?

  • Meet with the team twice a term

  • Plus complete 2 assignments per term (as described), from communicating with the interviewee to submitting your content (with as much support provided as you would like)

Professional learning opportunities: upcoming highlights

Standard First Aid

Did you know the College recently committed to offering every staff member the chance to be first aid certified?

This year, 216 of your colleagues have taken this opportunity to complete the training. Why not sign up now  – go to the internal PL tab to register

Eowyn Crisfield

this November (UWCSEA)

This November, we will host Eowyn Crisfield, a passionate devotee of inclusive, multilingual approaches to engaging our students of different language and cultural backgrounds. 

Details on the Centre website

CIS Symposium on Intercultural Learning

7 – 8 Feb 2020 (UWCSEA)

Hot off the press!

We will be hosting this event on East campus early next year. 

PL Stories from our community

Here are some of the latest posts from our PL Stories blog


I have just finished taking a course called ‘Leading Transformative Change in Education’ offered by the University of Newcastle on the EdX platform. It was a 4 week course offering to ‘develop a comprehensive plan for increasing my personal leadership capacity to...

Walking Dead Seen at the Ideas Hub

On 29 March, I visited Jahya and Siti at the Ideas Hub on Dover as part of College Connect. The team was preparing for the incoming crowd from the Junior School during their break time at 12.50pm.  There are also groups of students from the Middle School and 2 parents...

The Art of Storytelling: workshop reflections

The Admissions team embarked on a half day program to learn more about the art of telling stories, something all of us enjoy doing. Anjali Sharma is an accomplished storyteller who equipped the team with the tools to enable us to tell stories that will create a deeper...

What is in our strategy?

This wordle represents the language in our College 5 year strategy. These priorities inform our professional learning as a community.

Unique visitors to the new PL Hub ... if you like it, please spread the word to your colleagues


Percentage of staff who hold a current first aid certification

Number of East academic leaders participating in Singapore International School Leadership Programme 2019/2020

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