March 31, 2016
Over 220 teachers, trained educators and leaders from 26 international schools in Klang Valley at the Australian International School Malaysia (AISM) in Seri Kembangan for the first Association of International Malaysian Schools (AIMS) teacher professional development conference.
AIMS is a nonprofit making membership organisation, dedicated to the advancement of international education in Malaysia, via the provision of services to its member schools. AIMS is moving towards the direction of improving continuous professional development (CPD) for teachers, sharing of best practice, jobalike workshops, and interschool sporting opportunities for students.
The objective of this first conference was to provide quality professional development to teachers as a vital tool in enhancing teaching practices. It was the increasingly high cost of sending teachers to external conferences, with inconsistent quality of experiences, that resulted in the agreement to tap into the collective expertise of educators already within the existing association.
The visitors were greeted by the Australian International School’s student leaders, who also took on the role of hosts introducing and thanking the presenters in each of the sessions throughout the day.
The conference began in the School Auditorium with AISM students from Year 8 playing a beautiful piece of music on the Gamelan, a traditional ensemble music from Java and Bali in Indonesia, made up predominantly of percussive instruments.
This welcome was then followed by a spellbinding keynote presentation by Mr Ronald Stones O.B.E. who spoke about the variety of ways that teachers and education leaders can continue to make a positive contribution to education once they leave the classroom.
Mr. Ronald Stones was an Education Consultant who, over a span of more that twentyfive years, held directorship positions in four of SouthEast Asia’s most prestigious international schools, one of which being the Green School in Bali a pioneering sustainability project in education that captured global media attention. Mr. Stones has also been awarded several honours including recognition by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II for his services to education.
“Mr. Stones captured the audience’s attention as he recalled his leadership strategies in his various roles,” says Dr Deborah Priest, Principal of Australian International School Malaysia, who played host to the inaugral event this year. In particular, he spoke about the challenges he experienced in establishing the Green School in Bali.
He noted the importance of pioneering this sustainibility project in education within a jungle setting and the global ensuing media attentionit received when it became a successful venture.
For the workshop sessions, presenters from across the AIMS schools shared their collective expertise in 20 different sessions covering a range of topics which among others were the use of technology in classroom, 21st century learning toolkit, integration of STEM design processes in Science classes, metacognition and many more.
Many teachers found the keynote speaker motivating and inspiring and liked the idea of having a varied range of workshops to choose from. Shannon Walsh from Sunway International School said, “I love that there was so much professional sharing, right here in the city!” It was indeed an excellent avenue for networking and sharing of best practices across different international curriculums offered in Malaysia.
Alice Gaskell from Alice Smith loved the session on metacognition and learned many practical ideas for her classroom as well. This experience was echoed by Sashi Menon, a teacher from Taylor’s International School Kuala Lumpur who said, “I feel like I’ve learned a lot by listening to other teachers’ experiences.”
The Australian International School Malaysia was indeed honoured to host such an inspiring event at the school and the school team look forward to collaborating with AIMS in other collaborative opportunities in future.