Ontario Teacher Secondments to Aga Khan Academies: A journey in learning, teaching and leading


2015-2016 THROUGH TO 2017-2018

10 full-time equivalent teacher secondments

from publicly-funded school boards in Ontario to Aga Khan Academies located in Kenya, Mozambique and India

The Aga Khan Academies are boarding schools established in countries of the developing world to educate potential future leaders to a high international standard. Dedicated to offering the highest quality education to talented students of all backgrounds, including those from disadvantaged circumstances, the aim of the Academies is to educate ethical and pluralistic leaders who will strengthen their societies.

Through an Agreement of Cooperation between the Government of Ontario and the Ismaili Imamat, a joint initiative in education has led to the secondment of Ontario teachers to the Academies.

The aims of this secondment initiative are to provide the Aga Khan Academies with teaching expertise that will help strengthen key areas of education at their schools, and to give Ontario teachers access to cultural immersion opportunities that will broaden their professional experience and inter-cultural understanding.

Seconded teachers from Ontario are engaged in a range of teaching, co-teaching and professional development activities (both as participants and leaders) at the Academies. Their activities include:

* lesson planning and class teaching

*contributing to curriculum planning and development

* coaching, mentoring and contributing to the Academies' professional development programs

* participating in and contributing to the Academies' growth-oriented opportunities, supports and resources; and

* documenting and sharing their professional learning and growth through TeachOntario.ca (blog "Ontario Secondments to Aga Khan Academies")

"Here at AKAM, I am an Ontario educator that has Ontario and Canadian values of what education should look like based on my teacher training, the initiatives put forth by the Ministry of Education, my teaching experience and my experience as a student in a school. Likewise, my colleagues have teaching philosophies that reflect their training and schooling experience in Kenya. Since this school attracts students from a variety of cultures and backgrounds from around the world, the parents also bring their schooling experience and expectations that reflect their cultural expectations about education. I must understand the cultural expectations and attitudes parents and the school bring toward student learning and the school experience so that I can work with all partners in education to support student learning."

- Andrew, Waterloo Region District School Board

Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa

(2015-2016; 2016-2017; 2017-2018)

"Teaching in Ontario, I learned a little about Diwali from my Hindu students as they excitedly prepared for celebrations at temples and with their families. Here, where many students and colleagues are Hindu, I've had the chance to learn more... at school, a group of students prepared an assembly. I was so pleased to be Canadian when, as part of their presentation, they featured an NFB film, called Divali for Gita. It is about a Hindu girl's first Diwali as a new Canadian resident, and featured an ice storm! and the message that, no matter where people happen to be, they adapt and make possible the festivals, celebrations and traditions that are significant and meaningful to a culture."

- Christine, Waterloo Region District School Board

Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa

(2015-2016; 2016-2017; 2017-2018)

"In Maputo, the KG teacher is using De Bono´s "Six Thinking Hats," and I have been meaning to pop into her classroom to see her approach and what it looks like in the Kindergarten classroom... Maputo Academy is still very young and growing. Our efforts are on building both student and teacher relationships/communities and focus on the basics of reading and writing. My colleague in Grade 3, Lazaro and I have launched "The Daily 5" - from the two sisters, Boushey and Moser... which allows us to differentiate activities for all learners and also enables us to integrate content areas, especially during "Reading to Self" and "Work on Writing" centers where we use text from either science or social studies. The students are finding it very engaging, and the small groups are perfect for observations and conversations."

- Shamim, Peel District School Board

Aga Khan Academy, Maputo (2016-2017)

"Now [we] have our official Academy email addresses and tomorrow we will be oriented to the Academy’s Information Management System which will facilitate in planning our units of inquiry, etc. We managed to get the right Portuguese pronunciations of the current cadre of teachers/teaching assistants before we excitedly match faces to these names. From what we hear... the students and teachers are a happy, creative bunch, operating within a collaborative culture. It seems to be a perfect setting for us to re-articulate, consolidate, develop and reflect on our own personal practice."

- Yasmin, Toronto District School Board

Aga Khan Academy, Maputo (2016-2017; 2017-2018)

"The students are motivated and eager to learn and very appreciative of things. For instance, I had taken an LCD digital microscope with a screen from Canada and the students were thrilled to examine things under it. As part of the enrichment activities, I also work with the Art Teacher in Drawing and Painting where students are learning a range of techniques and experimenting with a variety of tools. In the first class, they learned to paint with raw materials like sticks, stones, and leaves."

- Sandra, Ottawa Catholic School Board

Aga Khan Academy, Hyderabad (2017-2018)

"We had a great field trip to the "Golconda Fort" this weekend on our first "Working Saturday". It was a fantastic experience! … Hearing the kids exclaim "Can you believe we just came from there!" as they turned and looked up during the walk back down from the castle was one of those moments the teacher in me couldn't pass up and I told them to remember this day the next time they think they can't do something!"

- Michelle, London District Catholic School Board

Aga Khan Academy, Hyderabad (2017-2018)

To learn more, visit the blog "Ontario Secondments to Aga Khan Academies" on TeachOntario.ca where you are welcome to explore, connect and share with the Ontario seconded teachers and other educators.

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