Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Next Frontier: Inclusion Workshop Day 1

Today is the first day of the 3-day workshop The Next Frontier: Inclusion Workshop "Building a Culture of Inclusion" which is hosted by International School Manila. There were more than 65 participants from 20 school, representing 17 countries from around the world.

We arrived in the venue early, around 330 in the afternoon. there were four of us who were sent by our school, one administrator, one learning support coordinator and two teachers. This gave us the chance to have a mini-meeting prior to the conference. We were given the seminar kit which included a publication of The Next Frontier Movement and this was The Next Frontier: Inclusion, A Practical Guide for School Leaders.

The first day of the workshop started around 4 in the afternoon with registration rituals and your usuals. Introductions including outcomes and settings conditions for our learning together. Opening remarks given by ISM's superintendent David Toze which was characterized by his witty takes on inclusion program practices of his institution.

After Mr. Toze we had an interactive introduction to the topic of inclusion, an admission's committee simulation. We were grouped according to our answer to the question "How many islands are there in the Philippines?" We were introduced to The Next Frontier Movement, a network of international schools that share the belief that international education should be inclusive and must cater to anyone who wishes to enroll or study in their school.

For the activity, we had a simulation on admissions process involving learning support students. We were given cards containing background and information on three students. For our group,we accepted two students out of three with one of them on conditions. This was a good one as every one had to consider our practices in our own schools. Some got into very passionate debate about which policy is really helpful for the student and which are not. At the end of the processing of the activity, I think everyone in the room was more than ready for the next two days.

For the closing part of the first day, burning questions were asked and were written by Ochan Kusuma-Powell on the board. Interestingly, the questions raised by most participants were the same questions that came up during the pre-conference meeting that our team had earlier in the afternoon.

That's it for the first day and I'll be back tomorrow night to give you more insights and updates on this. The Next Frontier Network is now officially a movement towards the education for all in international schools.

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