School stories

In the ever-changing world, understanding innovation in education is important for 21st-century educators. The principal of International School Savremena, Dr Svetlana Belić Malinić, proved once again that Savremena’s teaching methods and ethos can fully respond to the modern educational paradigms and presented Savremena’s best practices at the World Conference on International Education, held this October in Geneva, Switzerland.

Joining forces towards joint interests

World Conference on International Education is a bi-annual event which brings together international educators from all over the world in one place or rather a space where they can engage in a constructive dialogue on innovative teaching approaches. This year’s conference took place in the beautiful premises of the International School of Geneva, where the conference was first launched in 2002.

More than 150 participants representing thirty nationalities put their heads together and explored the exciting theme of the conference – Rethinking International Education – Values and Relevance. University professors, school principals, counsellors and educational researchers shared their views not only on the values which an international education brings to the students, teachers and parents but also to its relevance to the globalised academic paths and mobility of the learning opportunities, which is an intrinsic feature of an international education.

Collaborative practice through experimentation

At this conference, our principal, Dr Svetlana Belić Malinić, presented one of the best practices which help Savremena grow enthusiastic and innovative teachers – collaborative practice.

When knowledge is shared, it doubles! Strange mathematics in which division turns into multiplication helps teachers exchange new ideas and collaboratively experiment in their classrooms, Svetlana summarises her presentation with a metaphor.

The Bell Model of Reciprocal Coaching, which is implemented in Savremena, facilitates a non-evaluative lesson observation and reflective dialogue among the colleagues, who are able to share not only their pressing concerns, trials and failures, but also their successes and delights in the classroom.

When teachers become collaborators, Svetlana adds, then school benefits from an intellectually healthy environment where sharing and caring are norms. Enthusiasm generated through collaborative practice inspired teachers to experiment in their classrooms not being afraid that they would be reprimanded for their failures or mistakes. One teaching approach may be a fantastic learning experience in one classroom and a total fiasco in another. Sometimes you learn, sometimes you win – but there are no failures, Svetlana explains the philosophy behind a collaborative practice.

Lessons for the future

After the three-day conference, the participants agreed that an international education takes many forms. Sometimes, schools are international because of their diverse population and sometimes because of the international outlook and values promoted in the school.

Savremena is very proud of its students from all around the world but even more proud of the international-mindedness which grows from modern teaching approaches, innovation and collaboration. The conference participants appreciated the collaborative experiences at Savremena and agreed to re-cycle good ideas towards new pedagogical lessons for the future.