Languages Department
Learning Differences Conference 2013


Saturday's Workshops take place on the May 9th starting at 9:00 till 18:00 with breaks throughout as needed... The sessions are grouped as follows:

(alphabetically by session name within each group)
  • Innovation Summit Talks : Brief talks that start off the morning and the afternoon; ideas to think about; they take place at The Theater at ACS Athens.
  • Workshops : A diverse collection of medium length workshops


  • What if a kid couldn't fail your class?  A look at grading, assessment, and interventions and how simply changing the conversation with students can transform your classroom


What if you structured your class in such a way that every kid was given a chance to succeed and no one was able to fail?   What if you had an entire school devoted to this same plan?  The simple idea that kids aren't failing your class, they just don't know the material yet, is one that could transform an entire school.

My goal would be to have people think about their grading practices and how they structure their class.  The days of "test on Thursday, every single person in this room needs to know every single thing we did in Chapter 3" are drawing to a close.  Learning isn't about a timeline, learning isn't about assigning grades, it's about LEARNING!  I want to bring up the premise of the book, "Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8".   Life is about improving, not giving up and certainly not failing followed by doing nothing about it.  We need to be teaching our kids this every day and we need to structure our classes to reflect this mentality.   We need to teach them to ask questions about things that are wrong or unclear, not just get a test back and ask what the grade is and put it in their folder.  We need them to look at this test, figure out what they still don't know, ask questions and use resources to fix these mistakes, and then show us they now have the necessary skills to proceed to the next topic and then report this out.

I still have kids ask what their grade is, but more and more students are taking the assessments I hand back and asking questions like, "Mr. Palmer, I got order of operations wrong again, can you show me how to do those and then I can come in at lunch to redo that part?"  THAT IS SUCH A POWERFUL STATEMENT FROM A KID!  They are now empowered to be in control of their learning, they are empowered to determine what work needs to be done at home, they are in control of when they are ready to show me they know the material.  In my opinion, it single handedly changed almost every conversation in my classroom.   The focus becomes the learning, not the grade.

Quick example, one student has a D in math and the other has a B+, what does that mean?  What conversations does that start amongst faculty and admin?  What sort of interventions should be used to help them both improve?  Come learn about ideas and methods to turn the conversation away from, "who is getting A's and who is getting F's" to "how can we help each individual kid become better?"  How you can make homework the most powerful part of your class and how you can get students to WANT TO DO IT!  How you can avoid the endless emails from home about a student's grade and progress by including parents in the learning.  I know I don't have all the answers, but holy cow do I have ideas on each of these!

Learning Objectives

  • I want them to be able to have time to reflect on their own practice.  I want to emphasize that they don't need to change their entire teaching philosophy over night, they just need to examine how to start conversations with students.  Instead of, "you didn't turn this homework in, that's why it's an F", the conversation goes to, "Mr. Palmer, I still am not sure how exponents work, can you show me and then I take the quiz tomorrow?"  That subtle change in a room can have a profound impact on student learning.  If you can get more than 1 teacher to do this, it can transform an entire school culture
  • I want to give them specific examples of some of the answers that I arrived at while asking myself about grading and assessment.   Things that worked and things that did not work


  • What if all classrooms were like the most engaged classrooms in the world?


What if we could uncover what our most engaged classrooms have in common?  Come hear from Kimberly Mitchell who has spent the last 20 years wrestling with this question; watch video clips of teachers using strategies to engage the most reluctant learners and to create classrooms that reward curiosity over compliance.


  • What if assessments told narratives of students’ strengths?


This summit will focus on a holistic model of assessment that will start of the questions "what do want to know about the children we work with and why?"  The discussion will focus on the notion of assessment as the answers to questions that involve the creation of a narrative or story about a child and the value of gathering information about children’s strengths and resources as well as their challenges.

Learning Objectives

I would like participants to leave thinking about why they ask the questions they do about children and if the answers to those questions provide them with the information they need to be better educators.   In addition, I would like participants to question if information that only focuses on challenges, barriers or psychopathology is sufficient rich enough to tell a full and honest story about a child.


  • What if we gave “if” the power to transform?  (insights from a theater class)


K. Stanislavski, the father of modern acting, said of the "Magic If":  "If is the lever to lift us out of the world of actuality into the realm of imagination...  it does not use fear or force...  to believe in the possibility of such a life...  and offer a supposition... a question, which you are expected to answer sincerely and definitely." (Stanislavski, An Actor Prepares, 1936)

Theater, specifically acting, offers a unique opportunity to walk in the shoes of someone else.  Political, historical, or community driven projects, provide the grounds to not only stimulate students' compassion but treat the matter 'first hand', and learn not by resonance, but by experience.

On October 2014, the ACS Athens IB Theater 2nd year class, set off to devise a play starting from the word "home" and ending in a complex, challenging and political play about people’s ongoing search for a safe place to call home.  The long, rocky journey 'home' will be described in this talk.  The process of script writing and theater making will be partly demystified; what it is like to shift the discussion from the personal to the political and from beyond the students' comfort zones; to set off the mechanism of personal transformation by means of a supposition and to assess the permanent marks of experiential learning; to wonder at what it looks like when meaningful learning has taken place; and to ask, where do arts and education meet?

Learning Objectives

Participants will begin to consider Theater as a powerful tool for providing deep, meaningful and lasting education experiences.  To understand the mechanism of how and why a first-hand experience can permanently shape someone’s personality or views.  They will begin to see beyond the traditional notions of arts in education, as marginalized or ‘exclusive’ subjects.  Participants will reflect on what it would look like to integrate an experiential project, especially in a social studies class.


  • What if play were at the heart of learning?


This engaging, dynamic, and interactive “TedTalk” presentation gives a brief overview of research that demonstrates the essential and often neglected role of play in student learning.   The focus of this presentation is to invite learning communities to fundamentally re-evaluate the ways that we see play.   This talk enriches — and complicates — “common sense” notions of what play is, what role it has in student engagement and achievement, and how it is (and can be) reflected in our learning environments.

The presentation suggests four central ideas:

  • The ability to play is a natural innate capacity that needs to be nurtured in order for an individual to reach their full cognitive, emotional, and social potential
  • The consequences of deprivation of age appropriate play are serious and may have long lasting effects, particularly on later academic, professional, and personal well-being (for both teachers and students)
  • There are a myriad of research-supported benefits for creating a learning environment that honors play.  These include: engendering a climate of trust and inclusion, developing critical and flexible thinking to meet diverse challenges, empowering students to recognize their own talents, equalizing spaces, and helping students develop strong communicative, problem-solving, and collaborative skillsets
  • Although it seems like a counter-intuitive suggestion, in times of perceived crisis (economic, environmental or otherwise), play is not a luxury, but rather a necessity.  Among other things, play is the very way by which humans develop the capacity to respond to and meet diverse, unexpected, and novel challenges

Learning Objectives

The Essential Play presentation seeks to provide the audience with an interactive and thought provoking experience with the following outcomes in mind, inviting the audience to:

  • Understand the essential role of play in learning and have their practices informed by the research around play
  • Invigorate and rejuvenate the efficacy of their own practices, through a spirit of play
  • Deeply reflect on:
    • The elements of our learning environments that both encourage and impede play
    • How we may best address these in the ways that meet the needs of our students
    • The notion of play symbols
    • The role of play in community building
    • What lessons we may distill from the emerging role of play in business and commerce
    • A true climate of scholarship, what that really means at its basest sense, and how play fits into that


  • What if we taught and learned the sociological and anthropological reasons for war?


This talk will discuss the anthropological and sociological theoretical perspectives on the causation of war and conflict.  Throughout the talk we will investigate different reasons and rationales for conflict and conclude with the possibilities for the future if this becomes a common topic in schools.  Further, the aim is to have students foresee and be proactive with conflict mediation and avoidance in their personal lives and potentially as leaders of tomorrow.

Learning Objectives

  • Understanding of both anthropological and sociological causes of war
  • The potential for a paradigm shift in young learners when they understand the underlying causes of conflict


  • What if we taught feminism in schools to create safe and inclusive learning spaces?


Throughout the world, teachers and young people are reclaiming feminism as a mode of inquiry and action for making social justice change in their schools and communities.  In the US, both public and private school teachers are teaching feminism through both traditional content areas such as litrature and history, math and science, as well as other fields such as art, language, and sex education.  Interdisciplinary in nature, these innovative courses blend traditional content areas with action-oriented projects that address real-world issues such as sexual harassment, sexualization of women and girls in the media, sex trafficking, gender-based violence, healthy masculinity, human and civil rights.  Using social media, blogging, design thinking, and global partnerships, young people are creating exciting projects to address the very issues that they face everyday such as racism and sexism, homophobia and transphobia.

For today's young people then, feminism includes women's concerns as well as the concerns of all marginalized groups, including the LGBT community, people of color, and undocumented immigrants.  Intersectional in nature, feminism in schools engages young people in bringing about solutions to systemic inequalities.

This talk will share stories about how teachers and young people are addressing these very inequalities in innovative and and exciting ways using feminist and social justice based curricula.  In addition, the talk will address how we all can bring a cutting edge, social justice based feminism to schools that uses today's technology alongside interdisciplinary content to create transformative change not only in schools but also in communities nationally and globally.  Finally, this talk will also share how audience members can join a national and global movement to bring feminism to schools through innovation, design thinking, and global partnerships.

Learning Objectives

Audience members should leave inspired to bring a feminist lens to the work they already do as well as inspired to create new units, projects, and curricula that address feminist social justice issues.  In particular, educators will learn how to bring an intersectional lens that includes addressing race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, ability, and ethnicity across all content areas as well as how creating global partnerships with schools allows young people to see that the issues they face in their communities can be solved through international discussion and collaboration.

Educators will also leave inspired to see their classrooms as a space for launching innovative projects that allow students to create solutions using design thinking projects that leverage social media and other technology bringing a fresh face to feminism and much needed solutions to today’s most pressing concerns.


  • What if we reimagined assessment?  What do we want to know about our students and why?  Questioning commonplace practices and beliefs about assessment and What if we re-imagined assessment?

Learning Objectives

Participants will learn practical ways to gather information about children’s strengths and resources and how to use this information to develop goals and educational plans.

Workshop Plan

The instructor will present and discuss with participants models for how to make greater use of strengths in assessment.   In addition, using examples from their own experiences participants will work individually and in small groups to develop plans for

  • How to gather information about a child’s strengths and
  • How that information can be put to practical use


  • Actively engaging our learners


Have you wondered about how often students are truly engaged in their learning and what that looks like?  Without cognitive engagement, research shows that students lose instructional time.  If teachers could increase the amount of time students are cognitively engaged, what would be their outcomes?  Take the time to examine this powerful tool and ways to insure and enhance its use with all learners.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify critical attributes of cognitive engagement
  • Investigate the differences between cognitive engagement and “on task” behavior and how to shift it
  • Engage in and apply several options for enhancing engagement in their classrooms


  • Art communicates science


The workshop aims to promote science communication through the use of drama in order to enhance deepen understanding of core class material.  The focus will be on how an integrated science and drama collaboration can help foster students' communication of scientific principles and ideas.  Through engagement with scientific content, students will build both self-esteem and ease in the use of principles and vocabulary in the content area of science.  Within this integrated unit, technological tools are used in order to accomplish these aims.  Students learn by doing through structured and improvised talks while making meaning of the learning experienced in the classroom.


  • Effective feedback practices in the classroom


Much research has been conducted in the corporate and educational world to examine the use of feedback and its impact on performance.  In an age when students and teachers are being closely monitored for the purposes of formative assessment, to enable them to make greater growth gains, feedback has to be an area that is examined carefully to identify best practices.  Through examination of the research and interactive activities, participants will personally experience the impacts of feedback and how to use it effectively to increase professional performance and student learning.

Learning Objectives

  • Examine how feedback impacts learning and instruction
  • Identify what limits people from taking and using meaningful feedback
  • Explore options for working with others to increase your effectiveness of delivering feedback
  • Explore options to help others accept feedback and use it


  • Effective kinetic-based playful learning experiences for children with special education needs


In February 2012 the NMC Horizon Report predicted that gesture based technologies or Natural User Interface devices such as Kinect sensor will have tremendous impact on learning in four to five years time.  Actually, there are several attempts to use Kinect-based learning games for improving the skills of children with multiple learning disabilities (LDs).

This workshop will allow participants to become better aware of how Kinect learning games can help children improve their executive functions and cognitive skills.  Also, during the workshop, participants will have the opportunity to get in-depth knowledge of the underlying principles of the innovative and award winning Kinems learning games.  The innovative features of Kinems are that:

i) practitioners can customize each one of the different Kinems learning games to the needs of each individual child by changing its settings on the fly
ii) practitioners can, also, see learning and kinetic analytics so that they can easily monitor the children's progress, and report back to their parents and other stakeholders using quantitative and qualitative results

Participants will also learn via examples how to measure the learning effectiveness of the use of Kinect-based learning games in authentic classroom or therapeutic environments.


  • Evidence based Practices in Crisis Intervention and Postvention Protocols for School based Mental Health Professionals

Workshop Plan

  • Introduce an evidence based model of school based crisis intervention
  • Table-top crisis intervention discussion exercises
  • Role play a classroom meeting following a school crisis event

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the school crisis interventions specified by the PREPaRE acronym
  • State the triage variables that predict psychological trauma
  • Match the degree of psychological trauma risk to the appropriate school crisis intervention


  • Finding the "Best Fit": a holistic 4-year college advisory experience


A comprehensive understanding of a 9th - 12th grade holistic advising program that culminates in a "best fit" model for future academic and professional choices

Workshop Plan

A number of interactive activities, which will enable participants to understand the processes students go through in order to make "best fit" choices


  • Teachers, Counselors, Psychologists and Specialists from American, Greek and International schools and organizations of Greece and other countries
  • Parents from the community


  • Flipperentiated Instruction: why's and how's


Flipperentiated instruction is the blending of two educational models at the forefront of the technological transformation of teaching.  Differentiated instruction focuses on meeting each student at their ability level, its benefits for individual learners have been seen since its introduction in 1999 by Carol Ann Tomlinson of the University of Virginia.  Flipped learning is the process of reversing the role of the traditional learn in school and create at home approach to teaching and learning.  By combining these two strategies, flipperentiated instruction creates an opportunity to have highly motivated students working on projects of their own choosing.  Students and teachers work in a collaborative team to apply the knowledge and acquire new skills.

Learning Objectives

  • What is Flipperentiated Instruction?
  • Why is it beneficial for learners of mixed abilities?
  • How can I apply it to my teaching?
  • Innovative Talk 1: What if all students made real and meaningful work?
  • Innovative Talk 2: What if we understood the sociological and anthropologic reasons for war?

Workshop Plan

Participants will listen/watch an introduction to flipperentiated instruction, that will simulate what their students would do at home.  Participants will then "start class" with prior knowledge, and we will discuss activities to carry out with students, and the goals and opportunities this sort of instruction provides.   Participants will then work in pairs to create a plan for their first flipperentiated lesson plan.


  • Gamification


Gamification:  the use of game thinking and mechanics in non-game environments to motivate desired behavior (learning) — may be the most important emerging trend in education (and industry) today.  Its proponents say it holds the promise to revolutionize our classrooms, making our classrooms not only more fun, engaging and cooperative learning spaces but also more efficient ones.

This session provides participants with an overview of some of the mechanics of gamification (including levels, badges, “Easter Eggs,” and compelling narratives) and also considers research that supports both the efficacy of gamification to motivate and enhance student learning as well as the essential role of play in learning, highlighting its use in an American International School middle and high school (ACS Athens).

Most importantly, the session offers practical gamification strategies to begin using right away.   These methods borrow from elements of gameplay and game design to enrich our learning environments and invigorate our own instructional practices.   While especially effective in project based learning and technology-infused instruction (flipped and blended classes), these strategies can be used to enhance student learning and engagement in any learning space —with or without computers— but particularly in our extended digital learning spaces, e.g., Moodle and Edmodo.  So get your Game On! and explore the innovative, exciting potential of this ground-breaking new movement!

Learning Objectives

  • Participants will develop a general understanding of 3 ways in which badges can be used for motivation and to deepen student engagement
  • Participants will learn 2 ways in which the concept of ‘levels’ can be used to guide student learning and make student learning more visible to teacher and student
  • Participants will develop a general understanding of 3 ways in which the use of narrative can be used to make any content more meaningful to students
  • Participants will learn 3 ways to 'gamify' their physical and digital learning environment to motivate students and make learning more visible
  • Participants will be invited to create a starting 'gamification action plan' to help them immediately implement 2-3 of the strategies shared in the presentation


  • Inclusion: the best teaching and learning situation

Workshop Objectives

  • Provide participants with a blended teaching blueprint
  • Expand participants’ understanding of the potential of the blended / i2Flex teaching to cater for various learning differences in efficient and effective, pedagogically sound ways
  • Enhance participants knowledge of technology - supported differentiation techniques and tools
  • Develop participants' learning design and blended technology skills

Workshop Plan

  • A traditional classroom based scenario without the support of any technology (using the Inquiry Teaching Model that is used by all Science Teachers at ACS Athens)
  • Describe it in a formal way; we will then
  • Transform it to be implemented with the support of technology (incremental technology-supported innovation case study)
  • Transform it to be implemented as an i2Flex or Flipped Classroom Scenario with the support of technology (incremental technology-enhanced innovation case study)


  • Inquiry: What does it look like?


Inquiry's great promise is to build classrooms truly worthy of our students' and teachers' time and talent.  What if inquiry was the default pedagogy in our global classrooms?  Join Kimberly as she demystifies inquiry teaching by modeling an inquiry lesson, showcasing five key strategies used in most inquiry classrooms.  For the first hour, you are the student.  After the experience, you will have time to debrief, reflect and plan how to integrate these five strategies in your own practice.


  • i2Flex: Blending learning as a tool for differentiation


Paulo Coelho in his book "The Diary of a Magician" writes:

"Teaching is only demonstrating that it is possible.  Learning is making it possible for yourself"

Dr. Tonia Firigou and Ms. Matina Katsiyianni are going to present a workshop where participants will be exposed to a new teaching and learning approach.  Students are placed at the center of the educational process and flexibility with differentiation stick together to create independent and active learners.  This workshop will initiate participants to understand the meaning of blended learning, using technology, as a tool to improve differentiation in the learning process.  A theoretical background as well with a practical series of techniques and strategies will be presented and participants will be able to create their own lesson plans and get familiar with innovative approaches of teaching and learning applicable in all subject areas.   There will also be analytical reasoning for the use of time for students in and out of class and how this strategy improves learning in regular but also multi level classes.  The role of the teacher as a facilitator and not as the center of the traditional teaching will be discussed and students' feedback and data will be shared in order to offer a holistic picture about the efficiency of the methodology.

Finally participants will leave the workshop having guidelines to how initiate this new methodology in their class with ideas ready to implement.

Workshop Plan

They will investigate new technological tools as Voice-Thread to differentiate teaching and offer a more independent, flexible and creative learning.  They will explore a variety of online and hands on activities in order to enhance mathematical proficiency.

Learning Objectives

Participants will have the opportunity to be exposed to innovative approaches of teaching & learning.


  • Learning consequences of visual dysfunctions in children


In this workshop we are going to discuss about the dominant human sense, VISION.  It is commonly accepted that functional visual problems as well as visual and visual motor processing deficiencies greatly affects the child's performance whether he faces learning challenges or not.  Individuals may be diagnosed with these dysfunctions despite having perfectly clear eyesight (20/20).  They often exhibit difficulties on multiple domains including reading, copying, writing, spelling, sports, and social skills.

- What are those dysfunctions ?
- What symptoms may be observed in the classroom ?
- How and to what extent do they interfere with learning ?
- How to identify those dysfunctions ?
- What can be done afterwards ?

Participants will understand in depth the neurology of vision, the inadequate visual skills, the signs and symptoms of a dysfunction, the relationship between vision, cognition, motor and sensory functions.  Thus every specialist will be able to follow a more integrated approach with all children.  Understanding vision and hidden visual dysfunctions adds another piece to the puzzle educators often called to put together.


  • Literacy and reading comprehension in a multicultural classroom


Reading skills are central to any definition of literacy but literacy does not only entail cognitive abilities.  It also involves knowledge of sociocultural structures and ideologies.  This 70-minute workshop aims to raise K10-12 teachers' awareness of effective instructional practices in reading comprehension to develop students' cognitive and sociocultural skills simultaneously, using texts which can be exploited meaningfully in a multicultural classroom.

The workshop begins with a brief introduction to the relationship between reading comprehension and contemporary conceptions of literacy in multicultural classrooms: literacy as a social and cognitive activity, involving problem solving, knowledge of language, knowledge about texts, and cultural understanding.

This will be followed by a brief discussion with the participants on the problems learners face in trying to comprehend texts across the K10-12 curriculum and how these problems may be caused by differences in learners' linguistic, cultural and educational backgrounds in previous learning experiences.

Some of these problems will be addressed in a demonstration reading comprehension lesson for K10-12 learners.  The lesson, which can be delivered through an Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) or printed text focuses on development of reading skills and strategies enabling learners to become more autonomous in their reading in an inclusive multicultural classroom.

Participants will then work in groups with similar texts at K10-12 level and develop ideas for effective instructional practices for reading which go beyond learning about vocabulary and grammar, and address cultural and discourse elements of the text, which will help learners adopt a more critical view of what is happening in their world and the world of others.


  • REBE (Rational Emotive Behavioral Education)


This workshop is intended to describe a way of integrating social-emotional curriculum in the dominant curriculum and is consistent with modern considerations (eg., Jones & Bouffard, 2012; Social and Character Development Research Consortium, 2010) on implementing relevant curricula at school and in small group settings.  To integrate a new curriculum at school or in small group settings a theoretical framework is needed that is empirically documented, stating the step by step procedures in which it will take place (Banks & Zionts, 2009a ).  The following presentation will be based on Albert Ellis' Rational Emotive Behavior Theory which has been adapted for children and adolescents (Rational Emotive Education, REE Knaus, 1974, 2001) and the more modern form, Rational Emotive Behavioral Education (REBE Vaida, Kallay, & Opre, 2008).

REBE has been found helpful with children and adolescents, parents and teachers to identify and manage emotions and behaviors that interfere with student's overall academic achievement and (mental) health (Banks & Zionts, 2009b. DiGiuseppe & Bernard, 1990.  Gonzalez, Nelson, Gutkin, Saunders, Galloway , & Shwery, 2004. Hajzler & Bernard, 1991. Watter, 1988).  It has also been helpful with children who have issues such as teasing, academic underachievement and temporary school failure, parent-child negative interactions, anxiety and phobias, depression, aggression, perception of unfair treatment among others while it is very effective and useful in a wide range of disorders in childhood and adolescence (Ellis & Bernard, 2006).  Particular positive contribution has also been found for children who are at risk for the onset of emotional and behavioral difficulties and disorders and it is an efficient method for emotional and behavioral health of children with various disabilities and diseases and when working with children from different cultures.

The goal of REBE is to teach and train children and adolescents to develop helpful and sensible thinking patterns, so that they will think in a clear and rational manner and feel and act in productive ways in their academic and overall life.  The aim is to help children to deal with their strong negative emotions such as intense anger, depression, guilt and extreme anxiety which hinder their productivity at school and elsewhere, and to enhance healthier emotions such as annoyance, the regret, repentance and anxiety respectively which promote functionality in everyday life.  The ultimate goal is to teach proper reasoning which will help students to acquire healthy, positive habits and will contribute decisively in adopting healthy and positive goals.  Because REBE is a psychoeducational model it incorporates skills such as reading, writing, spelling, literature and everyday problems solving skills to support students in their efforts to adopt rational thinking.  Thus, REBE is primarily a preventive intervention method that can help students to achieve their potential.

This workshop will introduce REBE and provide participants through live demonstrations with a series of developmental appropriate interventions that will assist them in learning how to create "teachable moments" in the classroom, small group setting and at home.

Learning Objectives

This workshop will introduce participants to Rational Emotive Behavioral Education curriculum which can be implemented in classrooms or small group settings for various grade levels.

Specific developmentally appropriate creative interventions will be demonstrated for at risk youngsters.

Participants will acquire an understanding of how specific cognitive, behavioral, interpersonal and emotive methods can be applied in classrooms and small group lessons with children and adolescents.

Participants will also learn how to create "teachable moments" in the classroom and at home with children and adolescents.


  • Re-imagining the ways we work with Autism

Workshop Plan

First I will present the theoretical background of what Autism is and what Gestalt therapy is.  Then through different exercises I will try to show to the participants how it is to work with those students using the Gestalt Perspective.

Learning Objectives

The Participants will learn what is the approach of Gestalt psychotherapy and how they can use this therapy when they work with students with high functioning autism.


  • Suicide / Grief counseling


Death, serious illness and other major losses are events that deeply affect the lives of children and adolescents.  Adults often become especially protective towards their children and, since they may not know what to say or how to behave, they avoid any discussion about the matter.  However, in their attempt to conceal facts and emotions, their children are left with many unanswered questions that create confusion, fear and insecurity.

Merimna’s psychological services are of a supportive nature and aim to facilitate the adaptation of children, adolescents and their families to the special circumstances surrounding the illness or death.  The main purpose is to prevent long term grief complications and adjustment problems among bereaved children and their parents.

A crucial question is whether the provision of psychological support to children and adolescents who are facing a serious illness or the death of a loved one is always necessary?

What about the provision of psychological support to adults that plays a significant role in the life of a child or adolescent who is experiencing an illness or death in their environment?


  • Teaching Feminism in schools using design thinking

Workshop Plan

  • Participants will learn how to bring social media, design thinking, and global partnerships to their content areas and classroom practices to address feminist and social justice issues
  • Participants will reflect on and evaluate their existing syllabi and other course materials to bring a feminist lens to their work
  • Participants will learn how to use design thinking and innovation practices to engage young people in activism and advocacy projects that point towards solutions to today's most pressing concerns by practicing these skills during the workshop itself
  • Participants will create partnerships with each other to create advocacy and activism projects with students as well as help build an international network to bring feminism and social justice to schools

Learning Objectives

  • Participants will learn how to use design thinking and innovation practices to address feminist and social justice issues in the classroom
  • Participants will learn how to combine their expertise in traditional content areas such as literature, history, language, math, science, and art with the power of social media and the action-based tools used in activism and advocacy
  • Participants will also learn how to create global partnerships on feminist issues with schools and organizations using technology and exchange programs


  • The "Great Learning Model"


The session will give a definition of 'Great Learning' and will then share a framework model for the various elements that either enable or prevent a school from successfully delivering 'Great Learning'.

The ideal of Great Learning as well as the model have been adapted from the work of Damon, Gardner and Csikszentmihalyi on 'Good Work' and the subsequent ‘Good Project’.  The elements draw on the work of many esteemed educationalists including Gardners Five Minds for the Future, Harvards Project Zero and Hatties work on Visible Learning.

In particular the session will highlight the role that inclusion can have on enabling 'Great Learning' to take place.

Participants will understand the idea of Great Learning and how it can be affected by different elements.

They will hopefully consider what effects learning in their school and the role that inclusion can have.

Learning Objectives

  • The session will give a definition of ‘Great Learning’ and will then share a framework model for the various elements that either enable or prevent a school from successfully delivering 'Great Learning'
  • The ideal of Great Learning as well as the model have been adapted from the work of Damon, Gardner and Csikszentmihalyi on 'Good Work' and the subsequent 'Good Project'.   The elements draw on the work of many esteemed educationalists including Gardner's Five Minds for the Future, Harvard's Project Zero and Hattie's work on Visible Learning
  • In particular, the session will highlight the role that inclusion can have on enabling 'Great Learning' to take place
  • Participants will understand the idea of Great Learning and how it can be affected by different elements
  • They will hopefully consider what effects learning in their school and the role that inclusion can have.


  • There is more to sex and relationships education than sex


Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) is not statutory in International Schools.  Whilst some schools address SRE to a greater or lesser extent, it remains either completely ignored or a subject that is dealt with in a rather haphazard way.  To that end young people say that there is still a big gap between the SRE they need and that being provided within their schools.

Initially, the workshop will look at what SRE aims to achieve, explore whether it works - by drawing conclusions from three separate international evidence reviews.  It will then look at the introduction of a school community policy and how it safeguards all parties involved; students, staff, parents and the school governing body.

This workshop aims to empower participants to challenge their own working environments.  There will be opportunities to participate in practical exercises which can be used to help young people develop the information, skills and values they need to have for safe, fulfilling and enjoyable relationships - and to take responsibility for their sexual health and well-being.

Learning Objectives

The attendees would have sufficient knowledge of the facts and resources available to begin forming their own SRE strategy, this will be through gaining a greater understanding of the factors required for a successful and inclusive program.


  • What If? Enhancing Learning Experiences with Technology


Digital Technologies are widely recognized as the key drivers for transforming teaching, learning and assessment in the 21st Century.  These transformations influence: educational objectives, teaching methods as well as the assessment of learning.  Within this context, Personalized Learning Experiences for All, is currently a key challenge for School Education.

This workshop will be conducted in an interactive way, where workshop participants will be challenged with considering "what if" digital technologies are used in their teaching practice to enable the provision of learning experiences that would not have been possible without the digital technologies.  Workshop participants will be asked to bring-their-own-teaching-practice and the workshop facilitators will engage the group in a debate on how digital technologies can enhance learning experiences and on which technologies have the pedagogical capacity (affordances) to achieve this.


  • What if schools developed a holistic approach to wellness?


This workshop will illustrate the effects of peer-buddy and/or mentor programs on the adjustment of international students in the new school environment, social and emotional competency and overall holistic well-being.  Issues related to assisting students in transitioning into school and school counseling interventions, will be explored within the context of culture, language, peer-buddy support and overall social and emotional development.

Workshop Plan

The instructors will provide relevant resources, materials and strategies that assist positive adjustment to the new school environment and social emotional competency.  The participants will have the opportunities to experience best-practices in a counseling environment via group discussion, role-plays and various group exercises (including needs assessment).

Learning Objectives

Participants will learn about the positive effects that peer-buddy and/or mentor programs have on students' overall adjustment to school and holistic well-being via specific psycho-educational programs and school-wide counseling interventions.