Teaching leadership is one of the strongest strengths that stand out in the Altamira International School. The way of thinking of an Altamira teacher is focused on the promotion of positive changes and significant knowledge construction in children and young people of the Barranquilla society; which are projected as agents of progress worldwide. Their mentality seeks to improve the quality of life of these students, empowering them to face the challenges and serve the needs of the global world in which they develop.
Within the qualities of these professors we find in their core the new requirements of modern society. Resilience, adaptation to change, creativity and management not only of technological tools, but also of the application and creation of new methodologies according to the context they operate in and at the same time of the incessant development of communications, are some of the qualities that characterize a teacher of the International School Altamira of Barranquilla.
In all of them, you find common traits of educational richness and rigorous preparation that goes beyond the limits of traditional education. Their daily life exceeded the assessment on notebooks and the copying of mechanical and repetitive contents, evolving to their higher selves, by employing a deeper language in which Blended Learning, the essential questions, the transfer achievements, the planning design curricular in reverse, UBD, the Gradual Release of Responsibility, positive discipline, thinking strategies amongst others, enrich the daily learning experiences of students.
Blended Learning combines synchronic and a-synchronic learning spaces in which students can access contents and activities inside and outside the classroom. This approach allows personalized learning where the student has the possibility to access learning platforms and educational content to address his learning objectives. In addition, the student has the ability to learn at his own pace, following a personal learning path and in a place where he feels comfortable. Allowing greater performance, appropriation of knowledge and greater engagement.
Every lesson starts with an essential question in which the objective of the content is clearly discerned when explicitly discovering the application of their learning in real life. The mechanical and repetitive concepts are just a click away in Wikipedia, so the memorization and evaluation of contents have been replaced by real life applications that clearly show the use of skills developed in situations external to the classroom.
This is based on the curricular model known as Understanding by Design that establishes a direct connection between the theoretical referents and the results of the students’ own performance. The evaluation becomes the axis from which the strategies are designed and the contents are developed. This allows corrective actions to be made in the middle of the process and appropriate adaptations to ensure understanding of the issues. The process closes with a Performance Task in which the application of learning is examined in a new and authentic situation. This task is accompanied by the previous realization of several minor activities known as Corner Stones, which are only small processes that lead to the construction of the final design of the performance task.
These strategies promote role play in which students address real audiences and use what they have learned in a practical way. In addition to this, the teachers of the Altamira International School apply a teaching model known as Gradual Release of Responsibility that promotes the student’s independence and their total commitment to the learning process. In it, the student emerges from the need to be monitored by a teacher and becomes an autonomous manager of their learning. Within the activities led by teachers in this institution, we find learning strategies focused on the creation of thought routines in which students can be cognitively aware of their processes. This allows you to know how to study at home and in the future how to work in the university and in the workplace.
All these topics previously explained, are learned through professional development trainings. In these meetings teachers are trained and updated in the new educational trends and in the methodological and technological advances, allowing them to acquire new skillsets that create differentiation at the Altamira School. These learning spaces are led by the school’s academic director and leader, Priscilla Ruiz de Vergara. She is constantly innovating and sharing her pieces of knowledge that wield into a big puzzle that portrays her constant desire for developing her staff into great educational leaders.
The constant teacher development, staff training and assertive resource allocation, have allowed international organizations such as SACS and Advanced ED to notice its value as a leading educational institution, granting certifications attributed to its academic practice. All of this enclosed by a loving and caring environment which promotes self-care, camaraderie and personal growth. This is why the Altamira International School is able to be at the forefront of many educational institutions in Colombia.