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ICS educators present practical pedagogy at int'l conference

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Karla Cienfuegos, Suzy Maben, and Jeff Wood pose at front of ICS

Karla Cienfuegos (G1) (left), Suzy Maben (MS/HS Social Studies), and Jeff Wood (Athletics Director) represented ICS Singapore at ICEC Asia 2021. 

The International Christian Educator Conference (ICEC) Asia 2021 took place virtually from the 25 to 26 of November, with a select few ICS educators chosen to speak at the event—Karla Cienfuegos (G1), Suzy Maben (MS/HS Social Studies), and Jeff Wood (Athletics Director). By addressing the need to remain flexible in an ever-changing world without compromising on academic rigor, the topics they presented on fell neatly into place amidst the state of international education in 2021, and more specifically, the conference's theme, "Every Good and Perfect Gift: Leaning Into Change." These topics included: leveraging neuroscience in "The Transformational Power of Connection" (Ms. Cienfuegos); fostering higher-order thinking and problem-solving in "Can my students think?" (Mrs. Maben); and crafting alternative methods to team rules in "Athlete-Created Core Covenants" (Mr. Wood). 

"Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
- James 1:16-17

The event comes at a critical juncture in international education, with the COVID-19 pandemic driving levels of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual distance and isolation to new heights on a seemingly daily basis. In spite of these difficulties, ICEC Asia 2021 showcased why the proof is in the pudding for so many educational professionals across the region.

In a "time of global and personal testing," in which "Christian schools have been challenged by shifting requirements and Christian educators have been pressed to make significant adjustments not seen before," speakers and attendees alike spent the two days in fellowship—learning from, and growing alongside, each other, regardless of whether they were from Tashkent or Bishkek, Tokyo or Seoul, Phnom Penh or Singapore.1 

Karla Cienfuegos presenting her workshop on the "Transformational Power of Connection"

Karla Cienfuegos gives a breakdown of her presentation to fellow colleagues Suzy Maben and Jeff Wood (not pictured on right).

On her workshop of choice, Mrs. Maben commented, "In my last 17 years of teaching humanities, I noticed that even though we encourage our students to be curious learners of the environment around them, there is a general tendency to refrain from questioning the accepted paradigm. Additionally, the prevailing culture prefers conformity over independent thought. So, how do we help our students to think independently yet navigate accepted social norms? How do we develop students to hold profound discourses and thought-provoking?"

In the same vein, Ms. Cienfuegos addressed the need for flexible, independent thought in her students, especially in an age where technology plays an increasingly important role in the classroom: " Technology is making learning dynamic but it is also disconnecting us from human interaction. When students are disconnected, their brains have more difficulty in learning and processing information. My workshop topic is crucial during this season of learning, whether students are doing Home-Based Learning or face-to-face learning at school."

1. ICEC Asia 2021

  • 2021
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  • association of christian schools international
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