Workshop: Establishing school development

Participants of the conference Future Teachers – A Profession At Crossroads visited local schools to learn about teachers‘ work and different projects in relation to teachers‘ professional development. Here Ingvi Hrannar Ómarsson tells us about the workshop in Sæmundarskóli:


I was fortunate enough to attend the conference Future Teachers – A Profession At Crossroads this past week along with around 200 educators from Europe. After a great lecture from Andy Hargreaves and Sigrún Aðalbjarnardóttir on Wednesday we started Thursday morning by visiting a workshop at Sæmundarskóli in Reykjavik.

When we arrived at Sæmundarskóli we were greeted with a warm smile from Eygló Friðriksdóttir (principal on educational leave) and Þóra Stephensen (active principal) and a few members of their staff.

After hearing about the morning schedule and a few brief info about the school and school life we walked around the fantastic school building which opened in 2011. The school is built in a long line with the hallway, cafeteria and library at the centre. It is a bright, beautiful building. I could write a 1000 words about the school but these pictures say it better:

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After the walk through we went around the so-called Learning Pools where four teachers introduced us to some of the work that is done in the school.

Assessment:
Matthildur Hannesdóttir, who is the vice-principal, told us about how they assess their students and especially 1st-3rd graders with portfolios. It was great to see the students work and they have progressed in their learning here at the school.

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John Morris:
Guðrún Anna Gunnarsdóttir, head of department told us about John Morris in London. They have visited his school and adapted how they teach and how they organize the learning environment to Mr. Morris’s philosophy.

They establish clear goals,individual learning and want to move away from the textbooks in their lessons.

Tablets:
Sólveig Sigurðardóttir, manager for tablets told us about how they have been using the 60 Samsung tablets they received in the last school year. 30 of them are used mostly with 8-10th graders and the rest is used by students with special needs and younger students as well. Sólveig was really happy with how they have been used and writes regularly about their experience at www.snjallskoli.is.

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Arts and craft:
Sigurlaug Jóhannsdóttir told us about how they integrate the arts and crafts with other subjects. We saw samples of some great work and learned that they think highly of recycled material.

How to… And summary.

There were a few things that the principals wanted to sum up to us at the end. Their emphasis as a school leader in the school is to:
• Stay close to teaching and learning. Get out of the office. Visit the classroom and make that a priority.
• Stay focused and on track. Remember what you are really trying to do this year. Have a vision and a mission.
• Be proactive: try things that you’ve never done before.
• Take care of the energy.
• Respect the teachers professionalism: listen to them,
• Hire good teachers: always try to find out; who is this person? What is his vision? If he loves safety and never trying new things then they probably won’t fit in here.

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I sensed the enthusiasm and happiness in the teachers and really enjoyed visiting them. I would love to do it again once school starts again since there weren’t any students there this time. But if this end-of-school video from june this year is any indicator of the school life, then I can’t wait to visit again.

WATCH THE VIDEO

You can learn more about Sæmundarskóli at www.saemundarskoli.is

Thanks for the warm welcome.

Ingvi Hrannar Ómarsson
Tech Co-Ordinator of Schools at Skagafjörður Municipality

@IngviOmarsson
@IngviHrannar
ingvihrannar.com