Westmount manages the Focus Education schools in Argentina, where we have been introducing the NZ Curriculum with great success. There are three schools in the campus, which connect virtually on a daily basis for lessons via videoconference.
This year, the schools introduced a “Festival de Aprendizage” as an event that would bring staff, students and the community together. It was timed to coincide with the annual Graduation event for school leavers.
Northern Region Principal Phil Muir, who has responsibility for the Argentinian schools, says the events were student-led and managed, developed skills across the curriculum, and connected a range of year levels. In its links to New Zealand, we can also say it was a cross-continent initiative too.
Teachers in New Zealand and Argentina are regularly connected through professional development opportunities. This helps to embed the NZ Curriculum, but has also proven to be a valuable tool for staff on both continents, informing their reflective practices. For instance, Mary Lindsay Hughes spent a term at the Argentinian campus, where she found that reliable telecommunications services could be a challenge for VC teaching. It taught her to be meticulously well planned, a habit that has endured on her return to New Zealand.
Mr Muir says the international collaboration demonstrates the potential of a shared global learning culture where staff can really learn the best skills, attitudes and strategies from each other.
“Our goal is to develop critical thinking and collaborative problemsolving skills so our seniors can leave ready to face the world’s challenges.
“Working across borders in education is proving that students can go beyond being self directed learners as individuals – to self directed leaders of learning and apply this internationally – crucial in today’s world."