Friday May 6th was a not only a great day for the AFNORTH students, because they had a day off . It was also a great, challenging and interesting day for all the staff members of the school. The teachers organised their own international teachers’ conference. The theme for this day was “International Education for the Mind, Body, and Soul”. The exciting day kicked off with the keynote speaker, Professor Dr Robert Coelen from the University of Applied Sciences of Stenden, in the Netherlands. His key message was “Internationalisation of (higher) education. He explained the necessity of providing a “globally aware” environment. Dr. Coelen emphasized that learners must be given the opportunities to master skills associated with international awareness and intercultural competence”.
This very inspiring speech was followed by a number of workshops. The sessions were held by teachers who shared and served as presenters and were also able to participate and learn in other presentations. Experts from local Dutch and German schools and other local educational organizations also contributed to provide international perspectives on a variety of topics. As the holistic theme of the day suggested, the range of the topics was broad. Body-oriented topics like yoga, functional fitness, and hip-hop line dancing were offered, as well as stimulating intellectual topics such as intercultural competence and innovative educational teaching concepts.
The International Educators’ Day was an opportunity for the faculty of the school (which has teachers with five different educational backgrounds!) to come together and share professional fellowship. All staff members had an opportunity to learn about best practices and build on intercultural competencies. Most of all, educators were able to enhance their educational repertoires in order to allow students to benefit from the advantages and manifold possibilities of international diversity present in our school. Throughout the day, the emphasis on making cross-cultural connections was well-received.
Everyone involved expressed how much they truly enjoyed that day! “[I’m] always happy about these events, especially if there is something I can take and start using right away. That was definitely the case,” said Brian Quinn, Middle/High School counselor from the Canadian section. Cindy Gehrmann, a reading specialist in the U.S. Elementary section, added: “This is what internationalism is all about –meeting new people and discovering their talents and passions”.