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Following a recent INSET day at the British International School Phuket, Secondary School Principal and Deputy Headmaster Neil Crossland discusses the value of Professional Learning with Head of Senior School and IB Coordinator Jason Perkins- both are self-confessed ‘foodies’.

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Neil Crossland is Principal (Secondary School) and Deputy Headmaster at the British International School Phuket. Here he discusses the value of Professional Learning with Jason Perkins (Head of Senior School and IB Coordinator) – both are self-confessed ‘foodies’.

I am fascinated by the global phenomenon of ‘foodstagramming’, the process of choosing a delicacy from a menu, taking a photo of it prior to taste, and posting the image to a global audience. Gone are the days when just a birthday cake would warrant such attention. ‘Foodstagrammers’ are everywhere at breakfast, lunch and dinner developing a new kind of ritualistic behaviour with a fork in one hand and a mobile in the other. Psychologists tell us that in a positive context ‘foodstagrammers’ connect with others by seeking validation (the choice), expressing creativity (the imaginative camera angle), and empowering public advocacy (the culinary post). 

In an educational context, a school community that really values professional and institutional growth utilises a similar process to the ‘foodstagrammers’ by seeking choice from a menu of professional learning; a process of creative application; and the opportunity to share new found wisdom. At BISP our mission is for teachers to harness the best possible opportunities for professional development to inspire learning, nurture wellbeing and ignite the passions and interests of people in our community. Specifically we encourage staff to:

i) LEARN by acquiring new knowledge, skills, and understanding through a range of study options or experiences.

ii) LIVE – by integrating new learning at the chalkface and in context;

iii) SHARE – by disseminating professional insight in order to facilitate personal and institutional growth

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The BISP model of professional learning – 2023

Choosing from a professional learning menu is not an easy task,  just as foodies may find it difficult to fill their plate from a diverse and accomplished spread. At BISP we endeavour to ensure the following:

We have something for everyone At BISP we have a diverse teaching staff, with teachers coming from a variety of different countries and cultures. It is important for us to offer a professional learning programme that is inclusive and accessible to all staff, regardless of their background or experience. It is also important to offer a rich variety to include opportunities such as training, coaching, collaboration and action research.

The right course fits the right occasion Our professional learning programme is contextual in that it is designed to meet the needs of BISP students and teachers in the ‘here and now’. It reflects the strategic requirements of the school, and is not merely a response to popular pedagogy or initiative – a good ‘fit’ rather than precociously ‘hip’.

We appreciate the taste Our programme focuses on strengths and possibilities as opposed to ‘gaps and criticisms’. An appreciative model leads to positive and effective change – adding more ingredients to enhance the flavour rather than sending the plate back in disappointment.

We value the substance Professional growth, like produce, must develop organically from an ethical source prioritising evidence-based practices that are proven to be effective through rigorous research.

Jason Perkins (Head of Senior School and IB Coordinator) notes:

“When it comes to professional learning in education, solo endeavours may lead to quick progress, but it’s teamwork that paves the way for lasting growth and success.”

To learn more about the BISP Professional Learning ‘a la carte’ menu please contact:

Neil Crossland (Secondary Principal/Deputy Headmaster) – [email protected]

Jason Perkins ((Head of Senior School and IB Coordinator) – [email protected]