Dates: 18th - 19th January 2016
Location: London, United Kingdom
Host: King’s College London


Intercultural learning is at the heart of international schools. It occurs on many levels, through the formal and informal curriculum and is the responsibility of an entire school community. Earlier this year, 260 educators from CIS schools and universities gathered at the inaugural Symposia on Intercultural Learning to discuss and debate three areas of critical importance to intercultural learning. King's College London hosted the first Symposium, followed by the second a few weeks later in the English Schools Foundation (ESF) Centre in Hong Kong.

Dr. Allan Walker with the Hong Kong Institute of Education led a strand exploring the cultural competencies school leaders need to effectively facilitate intercultural learning. He emphasized that leaders should act as cultural connectors across a school community, helping students and staff to identify common points of understanding among cultures.

The second strand explored the importance of generating widespread commitment to intercultural learning across an entire school and the role of each constituency group. Dr. Eeqbal Hassim with the Melbourne Graduate School of Education framed this strand around the notion of a transcultural school--one that examines traditional and hidden elements of culture.
Service learning programmes and engagement within the local community are frequently seen as key components of an international school experience. Ann Straub, an International Advisor with CIS, led this strand seeking to bridge cultural perspectives by encouraging educators to apply a critical lens when developing the intended outcomes and structures of co-curricular programmes.

Across the three strands, 40 presenters from universities, schools, and non-profit organisations led sessions based in current research and proven practice with an emphasis on practical takeaways. Plenary speakers touched on topics covering all three areas, including representatives from UNESCO who highlighted the recent publication, Global Citizenship Education: Topics and Learning Objectives (2016). Dr. Dina Mehmedbegovic from UCL Institute of Education shared encouraging research on the diverse benefits of bilingualism that once again demonstrated the value of an international education.
The presentations and a synthesis of key learning from each strand (in both London and Hong Kong) are available online through the CIS Community Portal.

Discussions during the CIS Symposia revealed our community's deep commitment to intercultural learning. School leaders clearly recognize the complexities of developing innovative and effective practice that promote intercultural learning, thus a primary strategic objective for CIS is to bring school leaders and researchers together to tackle such challenges. The presence and perspective of leaders and educators from CIS Schools currently undertaking our new International Certification programme further enhanced these events, providing important connection points across their communities. CIS will announce the dates and locations of next year's Symposia in late April.

Session Highlights

Global Citizenship Education: Topics and Learning Objectives
Speaker: Theophania Chavatzia 
Organisation: UNESCO, Division for Teaching, Learning and Content, Section for Health and Global Citizenship Education

What Every International School Leader and Curriculum Co-ordinator Needs to Know About Bilingualism
Speaker: Dr Dina Mehmedbegovic
Institution: UCL Institute of Education, United Kingdom

The Transcultural School
Speaker: Dr. Eeqbal Hassim
Institution: Melbourne Graduate School of Education

View Programme page for full list of sessions

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CIS is a membership community working collaboratively to shape international education through professional services to schools,
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