International schools

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In 2004 Wayne began his P12 international school career in Shanghai. Since then he has also taught, coordinated, coached, and led at schools in Dallas and Shenzhen. Wayne's doctoral dissertation focused on leadership styles, employee satisfaction, and organizational performance within international and internationalized schools in China, Hong Kong, and the United Arab Emirates.

If you have questions related to living abroad and working overseas, you can contact Wayne via LinkedIn.

Table of Contents
Arranged in no particular order.
1. Digest example
2a. What is an international school?
2b. What is a bilingual school?

3. Organizations that accredit school overseas

4. If you are interested in working at an international school
5. Recommended international school/education researchers
6. Recommended books and articles (not peer-reviewed)
7. Culture shock and the international educator
8. Journals that have published/publish articles related to international schools
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1. Digest: A collection of research for international educators
The digest points folks to current international school research.
Screenshot of the partial February 2021 digest

2a. What is an international school?
There is much debate around the answer to this important question. As yet, the international school industry has not adopted a universal definition.

Some believe that language of instruction, specifically English, and location differentiate international schools. Hence, some classify a school as an international school because it "delivers a curriculum to any combination of pre-school, primary or secondary students, wholly or partly in English outside an English-speaking country" (ISC, n.d.). Also, "if a school is in a country where English is one of the official languages, it offers an English-medium curriculum other than the country’s national curriculum and the school is international in its orientation" (ISC, n.d.).

The definitions above has limitations. Its primary limitation is that it labels a plethora of schools as international. For example, the four schools I have worked for in Asia are each classified by ISC and others as international. However, I would only describe two of them as international schools. The third I would describe as a quasi-international school and the fourth as a local private school who is competing with nearby international schools.

Therefore, although often cited, the ISC definition is narrow, emphasizing language of instruction (English) and location. It does not succinctly capture the essence of international schooling.

Many professional educators in the field of international schooling advocate for a definition along the lines of. . .

An international school is a school that:
  • Serves globally mobile parents, and/or
  • Espouses a specifically international mission or objective, and/or
  • Serves an aspirational middle or high class local host country population.
This definition is not language of instruction centric.

Thank you for your work around defining international schools, Wallace TingTristan BunnellChris James, and Mike Fertig.

2b. What is a bilingual school?
In addition to offering English language arts and Mandarin language classes, a bilingual school in China may teach Mathematics and Science in Mandarin and Social Studies in English.

3. Organizations that accredit school overseas

Sorted alphabetically

  • AdvancED/Cognia
  • BOS - British Overseas Schools
  • CIS - Council of International Schools
  • COBIS - Council of British International Schools
  • MSA - Middle States Association
  • NEASC - New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • WASC - Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Note. Organizations such as the International Baccalaureate, authorize schools; they do not accredit schools. An IB school is authorized to implement one or more IB academic programmes (PYP, MYP, DP, and/or CP). Schools can be authorized to offer AP, A-levels and AS-levels, IGCSE, etc.

4. If you are interested in working at an international school
Bachelor's degree or higher. 
- If bachelor's, should be in desired teaching area i.e., elementary education, science.
- If master's, in desired area of work i.e., school counseling, school leadership, CIA.

- For example: Early childhood to Grade 4, K-12 music, counseling, principal, etc.
- A candidate usually needs a B.Ed. or a teaching license from a Western country or from a respected international program. 
- IB schools sometimes look for a candidate with some IB training and experience.

Usually between two and five years in relevant area i.e., teaching, counseling, school leadership. This experience could be in your home country or from other international schools.

Where do international school's advertise there available or potential positions?
Pick one or two of these recruitment agencies; each agency will vary in terms of cost to candidate.

Search Associates (often referred to as just "Search")
- TIE online (The International Educator)
- Carney Sandoe & Associates (usually focused on placing principals and heads of school).

Usually needed for candidate application:
- Extensive biographical information.
- Resume (one or two-pages).
- Photo (head and shoulders).
- Letters of recommendation (open and/or confidential; up to five).
- List of references (up to five people).
- Essay describing educational philosophy (passions, purpose, and pursuits related to education, reasons for teaching, counseling, leading, etc.).
- Police checks/criminal background records (may only be requested upon receipt of offer letters, but you give yourself an advantage by getting these lined up beforehand).

5. Recommended international school/education researchers
Sorted alphabetically
Who is missing from this list?
  • Bailey, Lucy
  • Bunnell, Tristan
  • Gardner-McTaggart, Alexander
  • Hayden, Mary
  • Lee, Moosung
  • MacDonald, James
  • Machin, Denry
  • Poole, Adam
  • Thompson, Jeff
  • Any other recommended researchers?

6. Recommended books and articles (not peer-reviewed)
  • International schooling: The teacher's guide by Denry Machin and Stephen Whitehead
  • Teach or lead aboard by Kelley Ridings
  • Leading Your International School by Andre Double and Warren Cook
  • International schools: Current issues and future prospects by Mary Hayden and Jeff Thompson
  • The Wisdom of Heads by Denry Machin
  • Any other book or article recommendations?

7. Culture shock and the international educator
Week 1 of new teacher orientation: Addressing what culture shock is, how it works, and why it is different for every person. As an international school leader, one of my responsibilities is to prepare new hires for the inevitable---the honeymoon will end.

8. Journals that have published/publish articles related to international schools
Sorted alphabetically
  • Research Journal International Education Theory and Practice (RIPE)
  • British Journal of Educational Studies
  • Educational Management, Administration & Leadership
  • Globalisation, Societies and Education
  • Journal of Research in International Education
  • International Journal of Leadership in Education
  • Kappa Delta Pi Record
  • Oxford Review of Education
  • Peabody Journal of Education
  • School Leadership & Management