Currently Director of Innovation in Learning and Teaching at Western Academy Beijing, I came to China in 2018 after serving as PreK-12 Director of Learning and IBMYP Coordinator at Canadian Academy, Kobe, Japan. Former MYP Coordinator, HOD Science and IBDP Biology and MYP Science teacher. Middle school girls’ football coach and Roots & Shoots supervisor. IBEN school visitor, candidate school consultant, Project Zero online coach.
I am very active on Twitter (@sjtylr). I created and managed the #MYPChat chats and the @MYPChat roaming account, and love the shared practice and collegiality that our community demonstrates. I’m the author of i-Biology.net, and believe that from our position of privilege in international schools we should share resources, ideas, successes and challenges.
Father of two Cross Culture Kids, living in Beijing via Kobe in Japan, Bandung & Jakarta in Indonesia and originally from the UK.
I graduated from the MA in International Education pathway at the University of Bath in 2016 and try to think critically about my teaching and act on my learning. I’m currently on the Bath EdD programme.
- How “international” is your school? MA dissertation (2016), on developing a web chart and rubrics to create the IMaGE of a school.
- Defining Inquiry, a pragmatic approach. Towards working definitions across the continuum.
I am an active IB educator, supporting new MYP schools on their journey to authorisation. I am also a team coach for the online course “Creating Cultures of Thinking” with Project Zero at Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Current interests include student-centred strategic planning, internationalism, using evidence-based teaching practices in compelling inquiry and making meaningful use of educational technology. As a coordinator and coach I value compassionate, clear leadership using a shared language. To support this, I enjoy creating graphics and process models that can be used to support thinking.
The views expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of my school or the IB. If you want to contact me to write or present, it’s best to use the email above.
- Former Co-chair of the MYP East Asia Network (Japan & Korea).
- Former Chair of DPDunia (the Indonesian IBDP Schools’ Network), and co-created the “Dunia” teachers’ conference.
- Initiated & sustained #MYPChat and the more recent @MYPChat community roaming account as a PLN for MYP educators.
- HGSE Project Zero online “Creating Cultures of Thinking” coach.
BlogPosts & Resources
These are from here and from i-Biology.net, organised by topic and some go back as far as 2010. I tend to “write to think” and I usually have 2-3 drafts in progress. The last year of pandemic has slowed writing down and paused further study; I hope to get back to it soon. Writing comes in fits and starts, though this collection represents an evolution of thought and practice, inspired by current work, reading, my Twitter PLN and MA studies/ academic work. It includes some conference/workshop presentations and pieces for International School Magazine and the Journal of Research in International Education.
To see some of my most recent work, see a collection of LibGuides here.
Inquiry & Learning
- Is this an inquiry with an “I” or an enquiry with an “e”? (on high-powered, knowledge-rich inquiry vs. fluffy superficiality)
- Are (well-running) IB schools Trivium 21C schools? (a take on Martin Robinson’s book, that led into a book review for International School Magazine)
- Defining Inquiry: A Pragmatic Approach (no need for edu-binaries, article published in international school magazine)
- The Quest for Learning in an IB Context (book review of Quest for Learning)
- Exploring Environments: Student-Designed Units in MYP 5 (summary of a project to make the final stage of MYP student-designed, knowledge-founded and inquiry-driven. Using Hapara as a management tool, and including differentiated tasks, two-part open-internet “tests” and blog posts inspired by a class Hangouts chat with the NYT’s Andy Revkin).
- An Inquiry Crossfader (very old post), on content & inquiry.
International-Mindedness and Global Engagement (IMaGE)
- How international is our school? (My MA dissertation, on developing a web-chart as a visual definition of a school)
- How “international” is your school? (Bath 50th anniversary conference presentation, summarising my MA research and design, with resources attached)
- How inclusive your “in person” conference? On challenges with inclusion and equity as the world of conferences returns from online to the pre-pandemic norms.
- “Why Them? Why There? Why Then?” my thinking routine and graphic organizer
- Global Contexts & Avoiding the Single Story (inspired by Chimamanda Adichie, this was the stimulus for our internal PD on Global Contexts on MYP)
- Review: SAGE Handbook of Research in International Education (published in the Journal of Research in International Education).
- Reflecting on the Impacts of Science (and the global goals, using a pragmatic approach to case-studies and a visual organiser. This criterion does not need to be weeks of work!)
- Wayfinding: Curriculum as a Compass? (on navigating inquiry and the roles of the expert teacher)
- The Buoyant Force of Continuum Learning (I find this increasingly important in continuum curriculum planning: backwards mapping is not the same as backwashing demands and we must consider the experience of the learners pushing upwards) Conference presentation and workshop materials here.
- Experience as a “moving force” in curriculum & learning (on Dewey and curriculum design. I use the “moving force” idea often in curriculum discussions)
- Educate for Hope, not Despair for a Fair and Sustainable World
- How NOT to be ignorant about the world: A Fact-based worldview (on the global ignorance project and making informed use of data a foundation of powerful student inquiry, connected to progress in the global goals)
- The Environment is Interdisciplinary
- Bold Moves for Schools (book review and summary for coordinators)
- Whose Culture? Whose Curriculum? (super old post, from MA studies in Curriculum, but some questions that guide me in design of international curriculum)
- Curriculum Spark: Webinar for ATLAS Rubicon (2014) (on moving away from “doing ATLAS” into curriculum conversations and Next Chapter.)
- Moving in “One Direction”: Why map curriculum?
- “Philosophy First”: Contrasting Approaches to the Curriculum (from 2012, before Next-Chapter) (on being a pragmatic idealist and considering backwash vs content freedom)
Learners and the ATLs
- ATL Tracking Ideas, using visual rubrics instead of numbers.
- The TEMPERed Learner (on ATL, self-regulation and the effective post-MYP student)
- “Learning is about living and as such is lifelong” (2014, Defining Learning)
- Approaches to Learning Skills Resources
- TOK Resources
- “You Can’t Differentiate Mediocrity” (on curriculum before pedagogy and the key principle of “differentiate up”, don’t dumb down)
Pedagogy & Practice
- What does this look like in the classroom? (book review with chapter summaries and links)
- Webb’s DOK and Transfer (with a planning diagram, inspired by a Boot Camp with Marie Alcock and a response to “DOK is not a Wheel”)
- Making Feedback Visible: A Four-Levels Frame (on cutting down marking and increasing quality or/ engagement with feedback).
- What are we really learning from practical work in science? (reflections on Alom Shaha’s work)
Project Zero: Coaching & Resourcing
coach teams for the online Creating Cultures of Thinking course.
As with other elements of my roles, I try to increase accessibility to ideas through creating and curating graphics. All of it is posted on my PZ Libguide.
- Cultures of Thinking chapter summary cards
- Visible Thinking Routines
- Global Thinking Routines
- Global Competence Model
- Understanding Map in Indonesian
- Content & Inquiry in a Google World (where I argue that yes, we do need to know stuff, even in the digital age, in response to an Eric Jensen graphorism that keeps on being shared uncritically)
- Creating an amazing personal learning network (PLN) with with Twitter & TweetDeck
- “This will revolutionize education!” (err… probably not. Derek Muller’s video)
- Ready, Steady, Flow! (my presentation at GoogleApps for Education events, on workflows to maximise inquiry and feedback and minimize clicky-clicky timewasting)
- (If You) USEME-AI: A draft structure for adapting to learning in an AI world.
On the MYP & DP: Curriculum, Assessment & Practice
- Capturing the Criteria & Zooming In (a big project, including a giant spreadsheet and zooming-in to assessment, a method similar to the single-point rubric. Designed to cut the workload and demystify MYP assessment)
- Visualising the new MYP Interdisciplinary Learning objectives.
- Personal Project: Quick Comment & Moderation Tools (another excel megasheet project)
- MYP: Mind the Gap (IBAP Conference 2013) (on the misconception that the MYP “doesn’t prepare students for DP” and what to do about it)
- #HackTheMYP: Making It Easier To Do Better Things In the MYP (IBAP Conference 2017 – no more excuses, we can make the MYP work)
- Don’t feel hopeless, despite the world right now (on current events, the learner profile, power, empathy, action and navigating a complex world)
- Taking on the Challenges of Interdisciplinary Learning (including a flow chart to be adapted for inclusion in MYP Support Materials)
- Standardization: Cycling away from the moderation “event” (on creating a sustainable collaborative cycle of workflow that should result in less “grade defending” in moderation and more co-marking and planning).
- Many MYP Cycle Diagrams (it’s a thing… I like to visualise processes as instructional tools and to distill IB documents into something practical)
- Assessment Principles & Practices (and a stretched golf metaphor). A Faculty PD session based around Tom Guskey & Rick Wormeli’s work.
- Conceptual Learning in IB Biology
- Statistical Analysis in Biology (although it’s not on the syllabus anymore, I love this and it supports IA work and not be daft with numbers)
- Designing a Service Learning Cycle (a design-cycle approach to service, based on Cathy Berger Kaye’s work and using the ATL skills as MYP 1-3-5 expectations against the service learning outcomes)
- Service Learning graphics and cycle animation for WAB
- Biology4Good (on using my resources to generate charitable donations)
- Tankyuu: The Quest for Professional Learning (on redesigning professional learning in my school, based on teacher inquiry and with a cycle (of course) for support)
- Wayfinders: Respecting the Journey
- Lesley Snowball: Professional Learning for International Educators (interesting considerations on what makes effectively learning for international teachers)
- What if… MY IB as a “MOOC” platform? (my response to expensive, hit-miss PD – if we have an ‘essential’ body of knowledge to operate our programmes, why not transmit and assess reliably, saving the “inquiry” for later workshops?)
- Using Tweetdeck to Curate a PLN
- How Twitter shook my confidence as a teacher (and why that’s a good thing), from 2012
- “Curriculum Development IS Professional Development” (very old post)
Short Third-person Biography
I’ve been asked to produce this for a couple of things, so here it is.
Stephen is currently the Director of Innovation in Learning and Teaching, at Western Academy Beijing. He was recently PK-12 Director of Learning and MYP Coordinator at Canadian Academy, Kobe, Japan and was recently co-Chair of the MYP East Asia (Japan-Korea) network of MYP schools. He was formerly an IBDP Coordinator in Bandung, Indonesia and until recently taught IBDP Biology and MYP Sciences. He is a UK-trained teacher with a keen interest in international education, curriculum development, educational technologies, pedagogical leadership and reflective practice. He has an MA in International Education with the University of Bath, a PGCE from Exeter and a BSc. Hons. in Marine Biology from Queen’s University, Belfast. With a philosophy of sharing, Stephen’s popular internet resources and i-Biology.net website support IBDP Biology and MYP Science teaching and learning while raising donations for a selection of charities. He probably tweets too much, and you can find him @sjtylr.
He writes personal and professional reflections on the blog sjtylr.net and is actively engaged in Twitter-based professional development, seeking and sharing resources and thoughts on science, education and #EdTech. He is one of the originators of #MYPChat and continues to enjoy learning with and from the PLN.
Stephen has presented at two IB Regional Conferences MYP Mind the Gap: Tensions in Transitions between MYP and IBDP (2013) and Hack The MYP (2017), as well as Google Apps for Education Summits (Ready, Steady, Flow). He presented his dissertation (The IMaGE of an International School?) at the University of Bath’s 50th Anniversary Conference on International Education (2017) and continues to pursue his interest in research in this field.
His MYP and DP journey began in Jakarta in 2006, working towards authorisation for both programmes as a teacher at Tunas Muda International School. It continues in 2018 with a move to Western Academy Beijing to get back into the science lab as a teacher and to support colleagues as learning/tech coach.
Even Briefer Bio
Stephen has been involved in international education in IB schools since 2006 and is an experienced MYP Sciences and IBDP Biology teacher, Diploma and Middle Years Programme Coordinator. A UK-trained science teacher with a Marine Biology background and an MA in International Education, Stephen has a strong interest in effective, empowering inquiry education, putting research to practice and making the most of educational technologies. With a philosophy of sharing and collaboration, Stephen’s popular resources and i-Biology.net site support teachers and learners in MYP and DP, whilst raising charitable donations through Biology4Good. He writes about curriculum, pedagogy, technology and international education on sjtylr.net, has presented at a range of conferences/workshops and probably tweets too much (@sjtylr). Beginning his adventures in international education in Bandung, Indonesia, he is currently PreK-12 Director of Learning & MYP Coordinator at Canadian Academy in Kobe, Japan and enjoys family, travel, surf, snow and service learning.
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