By Simon Camby, Director of School Evaluation & Development Services, CIS
A particular aspect of the CIS membership experience that peaked my attention when thinking about my new role at CIS is the volunteer peer evaluation model.
I had my own experiences of the CIS peer evaluation experience when I worked as Group Education Director for a global group that included CIS member schools and had respect for the model. When my new colleagues describe it, they explain that it is at the very core of the CIS International Accreditation experience. It’s designed to ensure a truly collaborative experience where teams of educators within member schools work with trained volunteer peer evaluators from schools around the world. Together, they lead, strengthen, and shape international education. This is initiated via the online Team Evaluator training programme.
Now, I’m delighted to be a part of the CIS Global Team, and I had a chance to explore how the training programme works from the inside.
The training programme is specifically designed to support colleagues in CIS member schools to gain understanding, skills, and knowledge to become team evaluators. Over the past five years, 920 members of our global community have undertaken this programme and it consistently receives excellent feedback as a highly valued and meaningful piece of professional learning.
I recently joined a meeting with my colleague Chris Green, CIS School Support & Evaluation Officer, who leads the training, and a dedicated team of facilitators who worked on the April session. The meeting sparked two thoughts related to:
- high quality learning; and
- metacognition in learning.
High quality learning
Having looked at this programme and listened to the team of facilitators talk about the content, I can see that the programme is built around so many aspects that we know make for a high-quality learning experience, for example:
- Clear learning outcomes
- High quality resources
- Online sessions that promote discussion, questioning and interaction
- Well-structured learning tasks that build on facilitated learning to activate knowledge and skills
Metacognition in learning
My second observation was sparked by watching and listening to the interaction of the facilitators that are leading this CIS training programme. It should be noted that this group is led by Chris Green who is a natural facilitator, allowing voice and getting the best from everyone. As a visitor, I believe that I witnessed ‘metacognition in action’ with this group of adult learners.
Firstly, there was a strong degree of self-reflection and self-evaluation with facilitators sharing their reflections and feedback on the way the programme was progressing. In each case, this was viewed as ‘valuable learning’ that could be used to enhance the learning experience for all participants.
The second aspect related to self-regulation. In other words, making a change because of the self-reflection. For me, this is an often-forgotten aspect of metacognition, i.e. ‘doing something different, as a result of …’. It was great to witness a group of adult learners that were ‘leading learning’. They were modelling what it means to be a learner as part of a community and using their learning with only one focus—to make a positive difference to the participants that they are working with.
Here's a screenshot of the course homepage:
My thanks to Chris Green, Cara MacAdam, Volunteer Engagement Manager, and to the brilliant facilitators who give their time to share their learning with participants on this course: April 2021 Facilitators:
- Richard Ulffers, Head of School, International School of Boston, USA
- Matthew Parr, Head of School, Nagoya International School, Japan
- Paul Morris, Lower School Principal, International School of Stuttgart, Germany
- Norm Dean, CIS School Support and Evaluation Officer, Australia
Thanks also to our facilitators that support this programme with other cohorts throughout the year:
- Deidre Fischer, Independent Consultant based in Australia
- Chris FitzGerald, Managing Director, Panyathip International School, Laos
- Steve Kotanen, Head of High School, International School of Brussels
- Martin Kneath, CIS School Support and Evaluation Officer, Thailand
Do you work at a CIS Acccredited school?
Are you interested in becoming a CIS volunteer evaluator?
"Understanding and seeking the depth of what it means to be truly internationally minded, knowing the world is one with the determination to improve and learn from each other, is what I have experienced on the team visits... I hope to continue to experience this learning and professional development... as I immerse myself into school' evaluation and improvement.”—Evaluation team member.