Mr. David Esteban, MBA
 Director and Deputy Head
 Australian International School 

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Good morning. Once again, my name is David Esteban. I realized that I had introduced everybody but I didn’t introduce my own role at AIS. I am the director of the school. I also teach in the school and I wear many different hats. One of the things I love to do is working on trainings. 

I want to start the second half by telling a story from when I was still in school. Although mukhang foreigner ako, dito ako lumaki sa Pilipinas, naging Filipino ako noong 2012 (Although I look like a foreigner, I was raised here in the Philippines. I officially became a Filipino citizen in 2012). I am a naturalized Filipino. While I was growing up, I went to a very traditional Catholic school and we had our class called Religion. It’s a very important class. If you look at the vision of the school, it was to develop, just like almost every Catholic school, the children to become saints. They also taught catechism, so we had to read a catechism book. From grade 1 until I graduated, every Religion class would start exactly the same way. It would start with a test on the catechism points. Who made us? God made us. Who is God? God is the Supreme Being and has spirit. 

Now, this is purely memorization. Correct? So what happened is, by the time we got to high school, some of my classmates already knew what questions are going to be asked. So what they would do was get their one-half sheet of paper crosswise and they would write down the answer in perfect grammar to the question. And that was important; it had to be perfect because if we had any mistake in comma or wrong spelling, that was minus one point. Now I was never a good student. I refused to do that. Unfortunately, too, I have dyslexia and dysgraphia, a learning challenge, and so my spelling was not great. 

As the direct result of this, I never got high marks in Religion. But my classmates who would effectively cheat got perfect scores. Let me ask you. Are we assessing what is important in that example? No, right? That’s a perfect example of assessing something that is not aligned with the values and the attributes of the school. Do you want to avoid that situation? Who wants to avoid that situation? If we are teachers that really care, that is exactly what we want to avoid. That is what we are going to be working on today. It’s making sure that everything we do in classroom, what we teach, what we assess, is directly aligned with the vision, values, and attributes we want to develop in our students. So, are you excited? Awesome! I am excited about it. 

So today, we are going to start by talking a little about the school. Just a few minutes, we’ll talk about the curriculum and a little bit on how we did it. 

While we do everything today, I want all of you to be Anableps. This is an Anablep. Welcome. It’s a kind of weird-looking fish. It’s a fish whose eyes are split into two, so effectively it has four eyes. They have eyes raised above the top of the head and divided in two different parts, so that they can see below and above the water surface at the same time. 

Now, everybody in this room is in education and we are being educated. We are going to a process of learning today. So this is a great opportunity for us to Anablep. As I am facilitating a learning activity, please ask yourself and ask me if you want to: Why am I learning it this way? Why am I not learning it this way? It’s an opportunity for us to practice metacognition so that we can understand the results of better learners and develop ourselves as better teachers. That’s Anablep. Why are we doing this activity? It serves as a nice vision to remember, and you want to be able to see everything we do today in two levels—that of implementation and also that of theory. Why are we doing it this way? That’s Anablep.

What we are going to do today is talk about the importance of integrating climate change in outcome-based education; an activity on vision, values attributes, outcomes, and assessment; and then we will be doing the breakout. We’ll have a short breakout session this morning before lunch, come back after lunch, breakout again to work with small groups, and a group presentation on output to plenary this afternoon. 

By the end of the day you should be able to have clearly articulated outcomes in your selected subject areas and three assessments of those outcomes with a rubric or standard to show that you are assessing it to a level of proficiency. This takes a lot of time. Thankfully, we have a great team here who will be moving around during breakouts. We also assigned AIS facilitators in each breakout grouping. We’ve been doing this for many years now. It really takes years to develop this skill. 

This would be really quick. AIS is the Australian International School. We are partnered with the Department of Education-Philippines as well as with the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority and with Haileybury. We are also a College Board—a testing center for SAT—and we have partnered with the Confucius institute for our language program. We also have a relationship with the Charles Darwin University of Australia; their practicum teachers spend two weeks with us and do their practice teaching before they graduate. In addition to that, we also run programs such as Kumon; we run a program with Murdoch and the University of Western Australia and of Bradford; have undergraduate programs with the Australian Catholic University, and technical-vocational programs and trainings with the AWBT Group of Australia. Through all of these different partnerships and relationships, we have been able to see different ways in which some of the best educators and schools in the world ensure that their students achieve the learning outcomes. We see what works best and we apply that to our situation here.

I know Malate Catholic School is celebrating its 100th year. That’s incredible. A few years ago, we celebrated our 50th year, but for most of that, we had been a preschool. Still, we are very proud to say that the school was founded in 1964 by my mother, and basically, we grew up in that school. 

We have had graduates since 2010, and these are some of the universities that our graduates attended all over the world. 

  • Australia 
  • Southern Cross University 
  • Deakin University 
  • Macquarie University
  • Murdoch University
  • Singapore · Curtin University
  • La Salle College of the Arts
  • Hong Kong · Savannah College of Arts and Design
  • USA · Michigan State University
  • PennState
  • Canada · University of British Columbia 
  • Philippines
  • University of the Philippines
  • De La Salle University
  • Ateneo de Manila University
  • University of Asia and the Pacific
  • De La Salle College of Saint Benilde
  • De La Salle University–Dasmariñas

In terms of their Victorian scores, our students earned their Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) in Australia. That is like the equivalent of the U.S. SAT. In Australia, it’s a university access for higher education. A hundred percent of our students were able to achieve their VCEs and the average of AIS was above the Australian National Average. In 2019, we also managed the International Baccalaureate (IB) program of the Mahatma Gandhi International School. Again, 100% achieved their IB scores—record breaking for the school. We pray for our students’ success and we have also recognized that the school creates conditions for success. We have to own that and the work we have done to allow and enable their success. Again, they were accepted in and what’s great is that they received scholarships in different programs. One of our students received a scholarship in Singapore and was eventually given permanent residency there. This year, two of our graduates also received scholarships: One received an $80,000-scholarship from SCAD (Savannah College of Arts and Design) and the other in Germany on a 60% scholarship plus free housing. These student achievements are authentic. Students put in the bulk of the work to make it happen, but the most important to recognize is the amount of work that the school did.

Who is in charge of learning? First and foremost, it is the students themselves. What we have to do is we have to help students recognize that they are in charge of learning. The good news is that humans have been learning from the time they were born and, honestly, even before that. Have you heard of BabyPlus? While a mother is pregnant, there is this thing called the prenatal curriculum. It’s a little device strapped under the belly and beginning a certain week when the baby can handle the sound, the device starts to play a particular pattern. As a baby compares the simple rhythmic sounds of BabyPlus from those of the mother, 
learning and enrichment begin. 

The other group that has influence on student learning is obviously the school. The school plays an important role in student learning. But we are not going to be the only one. There is a space for another here. Who do you think it is? Home. That’s right. The parents. The home plays an important role as well in student learning. And so, what we have to do is to make sure that everybody is aligned to achieve student learning. One of the great things about this change in perspective is the change in the way the students accept a grade. Anytime anybody receives feedback, they can receive it in three different ways. The first way is positive feedback. They will receive it well. Positive feedback stays with us. The second one is to receive feedback and feel that we are being mocked. So I got a C while a friend got a B. I received that feedback as this person is better than me, even when this person is better than me at math. Notice the language—this person is better than me. Is that our practice in giving a grade? No. What we are saying is the student has to do more learning in math than you have because we grade student learning. It’s having the student recognize that, hey, B just means that the student displays more math proficiency than I do. It does not necessarily mean I am a lesser person than that person. This enable students to not take things personally and that’s what we are doing. Most of the time, feedback is given to improve the person receiving the feedback. Our biases and our fears about being ranked stop us from accepting feedback in a way that is destructive. This moves the focus away from student learning. It gives students a bit of distance so that they can have the reflection needed to understand the grade. It enables the students to see what they have to do to get that grade. 

With student learning in mind, every decision we do in school comes down to developing student learning. We manifest our mission and values in this way. The school will have a particular vision—a particular way to see things, and a mission—a particular way we intent to achieve our goals. We have vision and mission. From there, we have values and these values are nouns. Having clear vision and mission helps the employees and key members to make decisions easily. For example, the vision and mission of Google is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” It is super simple. So, think of Google values given that mission. Knowledge is a great value. 

Your school has its own vision and mission. The values are nouns. For example, integrity. Hang on to that because we are going to use that in our activity in just few minutes. We also have attributes. These are attributes a student got through the school whether that is a full year, 12 years, or two months. These are attributes that we want to develop. The attributes tend to be adjectives. For example, we want to develop lifelong learners; the key term is “lifelong.” Adjectives are important in this part of the activity. Another example: We want our students to be critical thinkers and we want our students to be involved citizens. So the adjective here is the key term for the attribute. 

From the attributes, we then have the outcomes. The outcomes are verbs because at the end of the day, it is actually difficult to assess involvement. Another example: it is hard to assess being critical, unless we use a particular verb. We can assess critical thinking through the verbs such as “analyze,” “evaluate,” or “synthesize.” The verb is something that we can identify because it’s an action and because it’s an action, it has external expression and we are able to assess it. We assess the verbs.