Category: Wellbeing

What parents of special needs children need to know about international schools

“Without full disclosure of a disability, a school may accept a child under false pretences only to discover they cannot adequately educate a child”

 

For many expatriate families, international schools afford the opportunity for their children to be educated their national language with similar standards to their home country’s curriculum. The challenges that many families face is related to finding an international school that can effectively educate their child with special needs, writes Joseph Graybill, school psychologist at the Anglo-American School in Moscow.

As private foreign institutions, international schools are not required to comply with special education laws such as the Individual with Disabilities Act (IDEA). However, in recent years, international schools have adopted special education programming to serve children with disabilities.

The provision of special education services in most international schools does not follow IDEA to the letter of the law but does model its special education services based on American federal guidelines. For example, many international schools provide typical special education services through the adoption of an Individual Education Plan (IEP).

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Preserving the mental health of international students during national lockdown

“Open, transparent and clear communication with families is critical – now more than ever”

 

“These are unsettling times for adults, let alone international students far from home. It’s our responsibility to step up and provide them with the support they need to make it through this crisis and come out on the other side feeling happy and healthy,” writes Sarah Bakhtiari, co-principal and director of Welfare at Bellerbys College Brighton.

With Britain’s schools closed indefinitely, many international students are left stranded by travel restrictions or national lockdowns. While these students remain in the UK, institutions have a duty of care to them. At Bellerbys, we’re currently looking after 135 international students, aged between fourteen and eighteen, who are unable to return home. Here’s how we’re approaching their mental health and wellbeing.

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The magnitude of the crisis among international students

“Not many international students are equipped to advocate for themselves when a crisis arises”

This week’s guest blog is by Ruby Cheng, director of the International Enrollment Program (Asian Pacific Region) at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

I’m writing this article as an international educator, a guardian of a college international student, and an advocate who wants to voice up the concerns for the vulnerable and underrepresented group, international students, during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

When the COVID-19 became imminent in China in early February, I saw a great effort exerted by U.S. institutions, trying to accommodate Chinese applicants. Many international admissions offices offered opportunities for applicants to delay the transcript submission due to the closure of schools and universities in China.

In response to the closure of the testing centres for TOFEL, IELTS and GRE/GMAT, many admissions offices provided flexible policies including online interviews and Duolingo test, which allows students to take the English proficiency test at their homes. Those strategies made Chinese applicants and their families feel welcomed, despite the virus chaos they are experiencing in China.

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The core considerations for international teachers in new cultures

“There’s a world out there to explore and teachers are uniquely placed to experience new surroundings while helping the next generation”

There are many benefits to teaching abroad and it is becoming a more popular choice for teachers with the current state of Britain’s educational and political system.

If you are considering or have already made the decision to teach abroad then there a few things you might want to consider before making the move. Do your research on locations and schools where you would like to teach before applying and accepting any offers. See what the job has to offer as a package, different countries may offer different packages.

A large number of international teaching packages should offer a competitive salary and include accommodation, medical insurance, visa costs and annual flight allowance.

All of these elements are dependent on if you’re moving alone or with a partner and/or children. If you have children, your school should provide free school places for them if they are unable to attend the school where you work.

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How international study enhances student cultural comprehension

“Every student emerges from primary schooling with a vague awareness of other countries and cultures… this isn’t the same thing as comprehending them”

With connectivity and modern advances, the world has only gotten smaller and will continue to do so. Despite this, there are many channels for our biases and perceived differences to persist and be amplified elsewhere.

It’s important to remember that each of us is just one small piece of humanity. This is why international study opportunities can be so powerful for developing well-rounded, culturally aware, humanistic students and citizens. The following is a look at why cultural education is so important and how studying abroad supports it.

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Climate change and the role of international educators

“”As educators, it is our responsibility to help inform students of the implications of their choices and the ways they can offset them”

As concerns around climate change dominate the headlines, John Pearson, VP Operations at non-profit educational organisation FIE explores how educators can help to offset some of the environmentally damaging practices that occur throughout the study abroad experience.

The transformative power of travel and the value of international education is undeniable. Study abroad providers, such as we at Foundation for International Education pride ourselves on offering this opportunity to young adults so that they might become better-rounded, worldly people upon graduating and entering a global economy.

However, with the concerns around climate change dominating the headlines and elections around the world, the question of how to sustainably administer education abroad to the growing number of international students begins to glare us all in the face.

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How emotional intelligence improves cross-cultural classroom communication

“Emotional Intelligence covers five major areas and serves as a gateway to educational and career success”

Educators need keen emotional intelligence (EI) to manage the ups and downs of classroom life. Their ability to control and respond positively to their feelings enables them to act as role models for their students. This principle remains true even when cultural constructs throw up communication roadblocks.

International educators face barriers of both verbal and non-verbal language with their students. Exercising EI lets them check their immediate responses to external stimuli. It allows them to step back and consider the learner’s perspective and prevents them from making snap judgments.

This awareness gives them the requisite mental pause to reflect on the cultural influences on behaviour.

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Generation Greta: education & the global climate crisis

“A student could do 10,000 hours of contact time in the classroom, and only hear about environmental issues or discuss the effects of climate change in ten of them”

Barnaby Sandow, Head of School at ACS International School Cobham, asks how we can re-focus our approach to education to realistically frame the growing global climate crisis.

Environmental education is not consistent in the UK. Whilst it encompasses multiple topics and skills, environmental education has no defined syllabus or structure, which means in practice, it’s a subject matter that ‘falls through the gaps’.

It’s entirely possible that a student could do 10,000 hours of contact time in the classroom, and only hear about environmental issues or discuss the effects of climate change in ten of them. As each #FridaysForFuture protest passes, it’s starkly obvious that we need an education ready to support ‘Generation Greta’.

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The importance of community in international student accommodation

“Even in accommodation which is specifically for students, it is possible for young people to feel isolated”

Where you live is an extremely important aspect of international student education. Living arrangements do have an emotional impact on students, whether they realise it or not.

For international students who are coming to study in the UK for the first time, the experience of living abroad can feel overwhelming. Most will be far away from friends and family, embarking on an entirely new chapter in their lives.

Cultivating a sense of community within halls of residence and private accommodation is therefore extremely important, particularly for those which are marketed towards international students.

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Why food really matters to international student well-being

“Importing ingredients that help make a ‘local’ dish truly authentic can make a huge difference to students”

Most of us happily take it for granted that we will be able to buy the food we like when we want to. For international students coming to study in the UK, access to the food they like to eat is not a given so schools and colleges that see the true importance of food as a way to; ease homesickness, increase social interaction and improve general well-being should be applauded.

Recent research puts the issue into perspective

Masters student, Erika Stewin undertook research on “food insecurity” issues among international students at two Canadian universities. Her research found that “many students described experiencing food insecurity, students related feelings of depression, homesickness and identity loss, hunger, difficulties with weight loss or weight gain, and stories of being forced to compromise religious beliefs in order to eat.”

So, how can institutions do their very best to ensure food is seen as a crucial aspect of pupil/student wellbeing?

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