A visit from the International Community School of Addis Ababa
An exchange of experiences and theory were central to the meeting between the ISD fifth grade co-teaching team, Jessica Boerema, Brianna Caldwell, Tasman DeNieverville, Caitlin Howald, and Alecia Staples, and two of the teachers from the fourth grade learning hub at the International Community School of Addis Ababa (ICS), Crystal Thomas and Sabine Grecu. The ICS team was encouraged to visit ISD after a making a similar visit to the International School Ho Chi Minh city. The visit was further solidified after the ES principal from ICS met Caitlin Howald at the IBPYP conference in Vienna this year.
When launching co-teaching three years ago, the ISD team focused on creating a shared model of the method. Since co-teaching looks different around the world, there wasn’t a specific blueprint to follow. The ICS team shared similar experiences, and both teams agreed that ownership among the teachers is critical to the model’s success. Another key component to a successful co-teaching program is support from the school, which both teams have in abundance. When these elements come together, a co-teaching team can help students build their own skills for assessing what they need and create student agency.
As the ICS team reaches the mid-point of their first year of co-teaching, they were interested to understand how the ISD team has adapted its strategy to accommodate multiple student cohorts and learning styles over the last two and a half years. Most importantly, the ICS team was excited to see how the ISD team manages their learning space and lessons and to understand their key to dividing and conquering as a team of educators.
Both schools agree that the co-teaching model is best supported by the excitement of the students who participate in the program. Students are happy and proud to show off their learning space. At the end of the visit, the educators from ICS and ISD felt affirmed that their co-teaching models are working and are pleased to have peers around the world to use as sounding boards for the work they are doing.