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International College Adopts the Danielson Framework for the New Academic Year

By Richard Bampfylde
International College Adopts the Danielson Framework for the New Academic Year

Charlotte Danielson (center) with The Danielson Group consultants in Beirut. Left to right: Margaret Leibfried, Cody Claver, Lynn Sawyer, Linda Goodwin, Peggy Olcott, and Ron Anderson (photo: IC). ________________________________________________________________ International College (IC), Lebanon, one of the largest international schools in the world with over 3,600 students across two campuses, has successfully integrated the world-renowned Danielson Framework into its educational practices. As with every year throughout its history dating back to 1891, the school is looking forward to another packed year of meaningful learning and opportunities. The school is even more excited for this academic year due to the identification of this Framework as its reference for the teaching and learning experience. Through the Framework, IC is able to enhance professional practice and autonomous, engaged student learning. Faculty and administrators received their induction into and training in the Framework beginning in February 2018. Over the course of this eight-month development, six consultants from the Danielson Group—Margaret Leibfried, Linda Goodwin, Lynn Sawyer, Peggy Olcott, Cody Claver, and Dr. Ron Anderson, along with Charlotte Danielson herself—visited Lebanon to share their knowledge and expertise. Danielson, the creator of the Framework who led the training in Lebanon, commented: “Our aim is to find common language and shared understanding of practice that permits conversation and dialogue, while creating a community of learners.” New recruits for this academic year have now been immersed in the Framework thanks to a two-day workshop included within a series of events during their orientation week in Lebanon. These include faculty as well as administrators, with both American and French citizens represented, along with teachers from Lebanon. Indeed, this mix of nationalities prompted a world-first for the Danielson Group, as the Framework smart card was for the first time provided in Arabic, French, and English. A senior administrator from France—and one with ten years’ experience in training, auditing, and advising the network of French schools in Lebanon and in the Indian Ocean—was very happy to participate in the workshop and had the following to say: “We have shared, cooperated, transmitted, confronted… in order to build, for future teaching, more reflexivity and wealth in our professional practices… all helping to improve the future of our practices to promote the future of our students.” The Danielson Framework is segmented into four domains pertaining to planning and preparation, the classroom environment, professional responsibilities, and instruction. Through this framework, a positive learning atmosphere is created. Teachers are educators who pave the way for students’ understanding and engagement. They are not simply transmitting facts anymore, but are facilitators who help students make their own arguments and assumptions. The seven common themes of the Framework revolve around equity, cultural sensitivity, high expectations, developmental appropriateness, accommodating individual need, the appropriate use of technology, and student assumption of responsibility. Based on the Framework and the themes, educators following the Framework can measure the level of performance by four elements: unsatisfactory, basic, proficient, and distinguished. At the distinguished level of teaching, teachers would create a community of learners in which students are deeply involved in the learning and the classroom is self-generating. “We have chosen the Danielson Framework because it is a valid instrument supported by several large research studies. These studies showed that when teachers demonstrate high levels of proficiency in the Framework, their students show greater learning gains. Secondly, the Framework applies to all disciplines, from Kindergarten levels up to Grade 12, and this is based on the fact that teaching requires the same basic tasks,” explained Dr. Mahmud Shihab, Director of IC’s Educational Resources Center. IC applies the Danielson Framework with the involvement of the whole school community, including parents. Indeed, part of the training provided relates to the ways in which teachers communicate with families about individual students and how they engage them in the instructional program itself. The adoption of the Danielson Framework is just one step among many to accelerate the progression and growth of IC, both as a leading academic institution and as an engaged and thriving community in Lebanon and the Middle-East region. The school constantly identifies and pursues new opportunities to benefit all key stakeholders of IC and strongly believes that student learning is paramount to the success of IC as a whole. Indeed, this 2018–19 academic year promises to be one of the best yet—quite something considering over 125 years of successful educational practices—as this Framework strengthens the teaching and learning experience and moves us further into the exciting future. Richard Bampfylde is an educator with more than 15 years’ experience around the world, and is currently establishing International College’s first communications department in Lebanon.

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