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The power of networking

Ali Ezzeddine, Academic Advisor, SEK International School Qatar, Doha

Have you thought about joining one of the IB networks or associations? In this article you will learn about how the IB World Schools collaborate through networks in the gulf region.  

When I moved to Dubai (2010) as a PYP coordinator, I had heard that the PYP coordinators in the United Arab Emirates met three times a years to share best practices. I joined this network and found this network a great resource to support me in my new role.

Four years ago, when SEK opened in Doha in August 2013 and I moved there to implement the PYP, two IB PYP World Schools already existed in Qatar. At the beginning of the year, I invited their two PYP coordinators to visit our school; we had a great first meeting to discuss how we can support each other. The coordinators welcomed our teachers to observe how PYP look like in their classrooms. After we completed out first visit and collaboration, we decided to continue meeting and from these informal meetings we came to the following agreements:

  • At the beginning of each school year one school will host a job-alike session, so all teachers who are teaching the same grade level or the same subject can meet to share ideas and best practices
  • Every March four interested teachers from each school will lead a “teachers teach teachers session”
  • Every June, the PYP coordinators will meet to discuss the calendar of the following year and other issues as needed.

At the end of the first year, I discovered that the two schools each had an ‘early leave’ one school on Tuesday and the other school on Wednesday, so we arranged to have early leave on the same day to allow for collaborating planning and meetings and for an exchange of ideas between the teachers.

During the third academic year, a larger collaboration took place around the PYP exhibition. All our grade 4/5 students had a chance to visit the other schools’ exhibitions or to collaborate with other students who were working on the same conceptual understandings.

We have now four IB PYP Authorized Schools in Doha and six PYP candidate schools, all of which have early leave on Tuesday for students and all of them are actively involved in collaboration.

I encourage PYP coordinators to meet, network and collaborate to develop stronger relationships between their schools and to make a powerful impact on the learning communities. Such networking opportunities allows for wider and bigger actions: our voice as PYP schools in the community will be louder and when our students are taking any initiatives, the impact will be faster.

We have close to 60 schools in the gulf region, with some schools in Africa.  All schools are connected via email and whenever we need anything people are ready to support and share their knowledge and expertise. Change will happen once PYP coordinators and PYP schools model the IB philosophy around collaboration and cooperation and we open our doors to grow together. United we are stronger.

Ali Ezzeddine is a trilingual IB educator. Ali’s passion is to start new IB world schools. He started writing and publishing Arabic books and spreading his love for reading and writing in schools around the world.

Are you interested in joining one of the existing IB networks or associations? Contact your programme relationship manger!

No network or association in your region? Why not start one?