Building intercultural confidence

A great day last Friday at the AIS Leadership Centre in Sydney, working with new Principals on how to enable their schools to become world leaders in the field of global education. It was gratifying to receive 5/5 ratings from all the participants (thank you!), but what really uplifted me were the ‘lightbulb moments’ that I witnessed, coupled with a determination to make sure that each and every one of their students was going to benefit from the thinking we had worked on, and the models which I have created, and to which I introduced them. What drives me personally is being able to have positive impact on leaders – and through them, young people – and Friday was a perfect example of how this can happen. Well done to the AIS for being so forward-thinking on behalf of its new Principals, in arranging this!

I was struck in particular on this occasion by how open these new Principals were to the thought that they could engage their communities in creating opportunities for their students. Working with – and shaping – the local, national and international community around schools is one of the key pillars of my focus in the schools with which I work, and I heard some brilliant examples of early-stage initiatives in schools run by some of these new Principals, which they were then able to share with their colleagues. All too often, schools feel as though they can’t ask for help from their immediate wider community, let alone a community that stretches far, far wider, but it is incredibly important that leaders do in fact have courage and reach out – only by doing this will they be able to provide the opportunities and pathways that their students deserve and need in a global world that is connected as never before, and where – as long as schools really, really prepare them to work interculturally – they will have amazing choices.

So – a huge shout out and good luck to all those new Principals who are either in their first year of leadership, or who are shortly to take up a new post. Remember to put the global at the heart of what you are doing in school, and you will make astonishing things happen. Go for it!

Dr Helen Wright is the author of Powerful Schools: how schools can be drivers of social and global mobility

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