Mr. Diego, poetry contest

This month Mr. Diego Encinas Colilla, SEK Qatar’s PYP Spanish teacher, had the opportunity to participate in a poetry contest organised by the Qatar Poetry Center (@Diwanalarab_qa) and the Spanish Embassy in Qatar.

The topic of the contest was “The importance of living in society”, and Mr. Diego focused his poem on how he feels about Qatar, it’s culture and people. We are very excited to share that Mr. Diego’s poem has been chosen amongst many and he was the winner of the poetry contest.

SEK showcases its future education model and learning technology at World Education Week 2020

SEK Education Group has taken part in World Education Week, an international event on education that was held, virtually, 5 to 9 October, with the participation of SEK-Qatar representing SEK Group.

SEK-Qatar, selected as one of the 100 schools that was represented at this event, gave several presentations including those by Verónica Sánchez – Head of School at SEK-Qatar, Daniela Kemeny – Deputy Director of SEK Schools, and Joaquín Rodríguez -Director of design, innovation and educational technology at SEK Group, with the shared theme of “Promoting the Science of Learning and Teaching”.

Agency, Co-creation & Self-directed Learning

Daniela Kemeny spoke on the benefits of giving students the ability to choose and direct their own learning. At SEK Education Group, as Kemeny stated, “we have implemented self-directed learning by students, where we aim for students to take the initiative, choose how they are going to learn, follow their interests, explore their talent and ambitions and set their own educational goals.”

Speaking about the role of students in shaping their learning, the Deputy Director of SEK International Schools said that “it is important to create an educational community in class, in which students are just as important as teachers when it comes to identifying what they know, what they can and what they want to do with their learning and actively participate in its design”.

The importance of implementing a Collaborative Planning & Professional Learning model for teachers  

Verónica Sánchez, Head of School at SEK-Qatar, explained during her panel that, as part of the SEK International Schools educational model, both students and their teachers are responsible for learning and teaching. “All the members of SEK schools learn and lead learning at the same time, not just the teachers,” she asserted.

As Sánchez reported in her presentation, at SEK-Qatar, time for professional learning has been implemented since last year within the school calendar. Three days a week have been set aside for this, and each Thursday two hours are used for professional learning and collaborative planning.

As the Head of School at SEK-Qatar said, “learning occurs in optimal conditions as a result of the development of a community of learners who interact with each other, not as a group of people who simply attend classes, workshops or courses”.

The teaching model being used by SEK Education Group, in the words of Verónica Sánchez, “encourages teachers to be researchers, to work together and collaborate with each other to improve the quality of teaching. All the discoveries that result from these enquiries are shared with the rest of the teachers so that everyone can benefit from them”.

The importance of technologies to enrich learning, collaboration and communication

Joaquín Rodríguez, Director of Design, Innovation and Educational Technology at SEK Education Group, outlined in his presentation how “technology helps improve creativity, communication and collaboration.” As Rodríguez explained in his panel, five years ago, the SEK Group began to imagine how lessons would be in the future, and following a Design Thinking process, they designed four principles on which classrooms would be based in the coming years.

“The first principle is that any student can learn anywhere and at any time; the second, that any student should have access to the tools and content necessary for their learning; the third, that any student should have continuous contact with all their classmates to develop real collaborative work; and finally, that every student should have tools on which to reflect on their learning process and the results of it”, said Joaquín Rodríguez.

The role of technology in this process is key, as Rodríguez says, and that is why the SEK Group has created MySEK, a digital ecosystem with several personalised applications for all members of the educational community. “With the advent of the pandemic and lockdown, all the advances we had made proved extremely useful. We had provided our community, in advance, with an answer to a question that they had just asked us,” he says.

This ecosystem, as Rodríguez explains, currently contains tools for videoconferencing; for collaborative work; for educational challenges and projects that can be used by both students and teachers; immediate access to the physical and digital catalogue of school libraries; personalised access to textbook content; digital notebooks; and even a video platform with recorded classes and support webinars.

“We have to use educational technologies to improve analysis, critical thinking, collaboration and self-directed work. We must bear in mind that technology is, at the same time, a tool that facilitates and supports our work, but also helps us to generate new ideas to create and develop our educational process”, concluded Joaquín Rodríguez.

First day of school begins as a complete success!

To everyone’s delight, we received our first group of students to inaugurate the opening of our school after almost 6 months of closing our doors due to COVID-19. What a long time it has been, and how we have missed having our students’ lively energy with us!

We are happy and proud to say that students, parents and staff collaborated to keep all safety procedures and protocols in order, ensuring an absolutely successful day.

Parents of the little ones were glad to see how all preschools students were welcomed and received at the main gate of the school by their teachers and teacher assistants, who guided them to their classes with umbrellas to protect them from the sun; and we are grateful and proud that students from grades 1 to 12 showed great sense of responsibility by going to their respective entrances and classes.

Throughout the whole day teachers made sure that students got familiar with the new “look and feel” of the school. We now have stickers that show the directions to walk, physical distance warnings, hand sanitizers all around school and posters that remind us all of the health and safety protocols we all need to follow.

Thank you so much for working with us as a big community. This fantastic beginning of the school year would not have been possible without your continued support!

And so it begins… We’re back at school!

After 5 months away from our desks and a particularly quiet summer vacation, our staff has come back to work in school premises, preparing everything for the comeback of students, and we are excited!

One of the most essential processes happening before children return to school is our induction programme. During the next two weeks, new teachers, returning teachers, admin and academic staff will take part in truly important sessions that work to set the cornerstone of everything we do along the year.

Everyday teachers and staff meet to create bonds that will enable teamwork and cooperation amongst them to continue with their own process of life-long learning. This is amazing, because by being a living example of how we can learn throughout our life, children discover and comprehend from their teachers that this is a never-ending journey!

Every bit of information our teachers learn about the IB curriculum, about how we work at SEK-Qatar, our mission and vision; and about the IB learner profile with all its marvelous qualities, helps our team to develop in our students the attributes that we want to root in their minds and souls. We place special attention to these qualities because we strive for our students to become citizens that stand out for showing international mindedness; for being risk-takers, reflective, knowledgeable people with a caring and principled nature.

This induction process is certainly being original and unlike anything we’ve ever done! A mix between online and face-to-face modalities with our teachers has taught us that, even under uncertain and stressful circumstances, with flexibility, optimism and support from your team, a great learning experience can be delivered and human connection can be achieved.

Wondering what to learn during the summer? We got you!

Yesterday was the last day of classes for our students at SEK-Qatar! COVID-19 has shown us that education is a team effort, and that the work teachers do is truly invaluable.

But during this 2020 summer we will still live with some restrictions for going out. We all need to keep being careful, so staying more time at home during the break (and even avoiding traveling at all) will be the reality for many families.

Learning new skills is definitely one of the best ways to go into this situation. You and your child can keep entertained, inspired and motivated by engaging in a few online courses and activities. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have each member of your family learn something different, and then share it with the rest of the family members over dinner, or by planning special workshops or exhibitions at home during the weekends? Parents and kids, all learning and sharing their newly acquired knowledge with cool projects. Yes, that sounds like something we want to do!

Here are some resources that you may find spark an idea to enjoy this summer with your people -you may even include grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and they can join online with you!

Summer SEK: SEK Education Group has opened 8 courses that our SEK-Qatar students can join, as they are in English and online, a wonderful thing to do to meet more members of the SEK community around the world! Find all about them HERE.

Microsoft Family Learning Center: Microsoft is always offering fantastic resources to families, and this is no exception. In HERE you will see games and activities that will give you and your child something to bond over. Here’s just a tiny taste of what you will find:

Online Summer Camps in Qatar: We have compiled a list of courses offered by some of our trusted external providers -universities included for MYP and DP students! Check them out HERE.

Qatar Museums: We highly recommend the virtual tours of MIA, Mathaf and National Museum of Qatar, which you can access HERE. Visit also the online activities and educational resources put together by MIA and Mathaf.

We hope you will find joy, amusement and inspiration from these and other activities to do over the summer. Remember there’s no need to rush, let’s strive to be grateful and caring during this time while we all adapt to how things will continue to work.

Have an awesome family time, and happy summer from all of us at SEK-Qatar!

SEK Qatar joins Safer Internet Day

February 11th was a special day as countries all over the world celebrated and continued to work toward a safer internet for our children -and for everybody! At SEK Qatar we took the occasion very seriously, for we know how the present times require all of us to be online at a certain degree. This online presence has a deep effect on our lives, which is why we want to truly educate our students, staff and families on this vital topic.

To join the global initiatives our ICT team prepared presentations for each year group. With these, PYP teachers held assemblies to expand on the topic, while MYP-DP students had the opportunity to share with their teachers discussions that sparked conversations on how to be free, respectful, responsible and careful online.

This year Safer Internet Day encouraged young people to explore how they manage their online identity and how the internet shapes how they think of themselves and others. The idea was, and continues to be, to use the internet to celebrate our differences all the while working towards creating a truly inclusive space where everybody feels free, welcome, included, represented and fairly treated.

Some of the queries students got to explore were: How do people express their identity online?​ Is the internet a safe and welcoming place for all?​ Do people feel free to be themselves online? Questions that, no doubt, you can expand at home!

If you’re wondering “What can we do?” here are some tips to become allies and fight for a safer internet for your kids and for your whole family:

  • Report negative comments/posts you find online.​
  • Reach out to your kids and loved ones when you see they’ve become isolated, sad, or are showing a distinct behavior -it might have something to do with online struggles.
  • Broaden your feeds, trying to include positive representation of different types of bodies, abilities, nationalities, cultures -our brains understand ‘different’ better when exposed to positive images of that which is different to us.
  • Think about what you share and how it might portray others.​
  • Make use of campaign hashtags and graphics to raise awareness and support for others.​
  • Tell your kids to come to you or a trusted adult when someone else online has worried or upset them, or has asked them for their personal information, photos or videos.

If you’d like to expand even more, you can visit https://www.saferinternetday.org/

Grade 10 students enjoyed a successful Personal Project Exhibition

Our grade 10 students have been working endlessly to complete their personal project, which represents the culmination of knowledge and skills gained throughout the MYP (Middle Years Programme), and this Wednesday, 12th February the students had the chance to display their hard work at the Personal Project Exhibition.

By sharing the steps taken to reach their goal, students and parents were enlightened by the achievements and learned about many topics such as first aid respondents, how to turn trash into treasure and developing more sustainable ways to use resources -all relevant to the global problematics the world is facing in the present.

It was a pleasure having parents and even siblings here supporting the students. We can say it was a time that really sparked everyone’s curiosity!

MYP-DP Sports Day was a win for everybody!

Today our MYP and DP students spent the day moving, cheering, playing and overall having tons of fun with their teachers and classmates during the 2020 MYP-DP Sports Day.

In total, the students had to go around nine stations to determine the winning house which, at the end, would go into the traditional battle with teachers playing tag of war. The nine sports stations were a 1km run, vortex throw, javelin, 100m run, vertical jump, high jump, shot put, broad jump and throw to win -a diverse and fun selection which made everything even more interesting and engaging.

A special recognition and thank you needs to go to our DP students, who organized this event with the mentorship of Ms. Canan as part of their CAS Programme; and to the teachers who gave their support and got involved in the activities: you are amazing!

And of course, a round of applause must go to the winning team, the Yellow Scorpions, who not only took the most points, but who also beat the teachers in the very anticipated tag of war.

We hope everyone had a great time today and that the Preschool, PYP, MYP and DP sporting events we celebrated the last two weeks serve as the perfect introduction to February 11th, when the whole country will move to celebrate Qatar National Sports Day!

SEK Qatar students in THIMUN Qatar Model United Nations Conference

From Wednesday, January 22nd to Friday, January 24th a group of SEK Qatar MYP and DP students attended the 9th annual THIMUN Qatar Model United Nations Conference, representing the delegation of Jamaica. It was our 3rd appearance at the conference and we’re glad to share that each year our delegation is growing.

Our students collaborated with students from 165 nationalities to discuss various global issues in relation to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of Health and Well Being. They vigorously negotiated solutions to topics such as achieving universal healthcare, measures to address drug control and crime prevention, and preventing contemporary forms of slavery.

We would like to congratulate students on their efforts towards building a cooperative community amongst today’s youth!

PYP Sports Day 2020

What an amazing and active morning! Today PYP students from Preschool 5 up to Grade 5 filled the school with enthusiasm thanks to the different sporting activities that were organized to celebrate Sports Day.

We had 5 different stations set up where students could practice their athletic skills. A penalty challenge, tail tag, tag of war, a race, long jump and basketball kept kids and their parents cheering on throughout the morning -the upbeat music and our wonderful teachers added on to the fun!

At the end of the day, these were the final positions for the 2020 PYP Sports Day:

  • 1st place: Green Oryx
  • 2nd place: Yellow Scorpions
  • 3rd place: Orange Falcons
  • 4th place: Blue Stingrays

Congratulations to all the houses for their great efforts and especially for having fun and working great as teams!

Last, but never least, we would like to thank the staff for the organization, and the parents who attended to support their children and witness this cheerful atmosphere. Keep on moving!