2017-18 Adaptability in a Changing World

The 2017-18 Action Research cohort is researching the topic Adaptability in a Changing World. The teams met for training in Baltimore during June 2017, and are proving to be a stellar collection of researchers! They are deeply engaged in sharing ideas across the globe, using Skype and Whatsapp groups. Research proposals have been finalized, and the literature reviews are already in place. Projects are already well underway and the groups look forward to presenting at the 2018 IBSC Annual Conference in Australia.

The array of topics is exciting. To whet appetites, review these four research project examples — one from each of the four teams:

  • Liz Evans (Rathkeale College, NZ) has some great ideas for her project on fostering a growth mindset in Year 12 boys. She will be implementing focused, facilitated reflection through daily video booth recordings and reflective journals on their school's Odyssey (a 7-day adventure). The facilitated reflection will focus specifically on the development of a growth mindset in the Odyssey participants.
  • Nickie Slater (Wellesley College, NZ) is hoping to develop academic resilience in her Year 6 boys through the implementation of the Learning Pit Model (TLP) during multiple content-based units of study. TLP takes boys through 4 learning stages: 1) focus on a concept, 2) deliberate injection of a dilemma to promote cognitive conflict, 3) synthesize information and contrasting ideas to construct new strategies to get past conflict, and 4) reflect on their journey through the Learning Pit and consider how their thinking has adapted, grown or been reconstructed.
  • Gord Wotherspoon (The Crescent School, Canada) is introducing essential questions to help boys develop multiple perspectives within a Grade 6 social studies class. The boys will explore an issue (e.g. immigration) from various angles, thereby expanding the way they understand each issue.
  • Niav Fisher (Dulwich Prep, UK) is creating an 'Everyday Hero' program for her Gr2 boys to have them identify and appreciate qualities in a hero that they can learn how to respond and apply to challenging everyday situations in a positive and productive manner.

2017-18 IBSC Action Research Topic:
Adaptability in a Changing World

Adaptability requires flexibility and the ability create a new plan when things change. Adaptable people are often creative. They are willing to learn new things and try different ways of solving problems. They work well independently and happily take on new roles and challenges, but also perform well in teams because they are open to other people’s ideas. Resilient by nature, they persist through difficult situations; failure does not discourage them. Because they are flexible, they are far more likely to be happy and successful in the long term.[1]

However, with the many pressures facing boys in our schools today — such as the focus on high academic achievement and university admissions, local and global competition, the need to be “the best” in sporting and cultural activities, conforming to the stereotypes suggested by the world of social media and advertising — it can be difficult to focus on important “soft skills” like creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration (the 4Cs)[2]. As boys study or train for longer hours, juggle extra lessons to improve academic performance, or spend time on additional coaching in sports and cultural activities, there is little time for the very things that develop adaptability — like exploring and experimenting through creative activities, taking risks and failing, growing resilience, and taking time to be mindful and reflect.

After attending an orientation and training program prior to the 2017 IBSC Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, United States, these researchers commenced their research prjojects. In July 2018, researchers will attend the 2018 IBSC Annual Conference to present their research findings. They will participate in poster discussion sessions, and report on their projects in workshop sessions.


[1] Kang, S.K. (2015) The Dolphin Parent. pp. 85 - 94 Toronto: Penguin

[2] Framework for 21st Century Learning. Retrieved from P21 Partnership for 21st Century Learning http://www.p21.org/our-work/p21-framework

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