IBSC Action Research Leadership
With a professional background that includes a certification to teach English, roles dedicated to teaching adults in corporate and educational environments, and several years working as an academic technologist, Laura Sabo now serves as librarian at St. Christopher’s School (United States). There she has the pleasure of teaching boys in grades JK-5 using a learning commons model, integrating technology, library, and information literacy skills in the context of classroom curriculum. Along with nurturing a love of reading in her students, she values the many opportunities for collaboration and professional development that this role entails. A strong believer in promoting a teacher-as-researcher culture, Sabo also works with the St. Christopher’s Center for Study of Boys. In her role as a Saints Action Research coach, each year she supports a cross-divisional team of faculty members as they conduct action research projects.
Sabo first experienced the IBSC Action Research Program as a member of the 2012-13 team, completing a research project focused on creativity, technology, and boys, in which students used multimedia digital tools to create social awareness posters. In 2014, she became an IBSC Action Research advisor, and she has loved every moment of coaching her international teams of educators. She values both the wealth of information and the wonderful relationships she’s gained through the process. She is thrilled to continue supporting teacher researchers in boys’ schools around the world as she steps into the role of program coordinator.
Trish Cislak spends her days as head of libraries at Crescent School (Canada). Her role encompasses leading a team of library professionals in the development of an information literacy skills continuum and team-teaching many courses with an inquiry-based approach, as well as, build a reading culture among the boys. In 2019-20, Cislak took on the role of director of research for the Crescent Centre for Boys’ Education. The research center focuses on teaching and learning best practices for boys. As part of this role, she leads an in-house action research program. In 2010, Cislak began her IBSC Action Research journey with a project examining the use of audiobooks to support reading habits in boys. She finds it very rewarding that Crescent continues to build its audiobook collection as a result of her action research project.
Cislak also fills her days as head of grade 9. She supports the transition from middle school and welcomes boys new to Crescent to ensure their upper school experience starts as smoothly as possible. She and her husband have a daughter graduating university in 2020 and a son, who is a Crescent alum in his third year at university.
She looks forward to her ninth cycle on the IBSC Action Research team for my 9th cycle—which she describes as the most enriching professional development experience for teachers interested in improving their practice. Cislak feels grateful for the ever-growing network of global colleagues due to my involvement with IBSC.
King Edward's School (United Kingdom) Head of Upper School Polly Higgins looks after the pastoral needs of boys in the school’s Divisions year. She also serves as a drama teacher, which also includes directing productions over the year and running the props department of the stage crew. Higgins also oversees the weekly student well-being blog.
Three years ago, she joined the IBSC Action Research family researching a project that explored how using digital, oral, or video reflection might help boys’ confidence in drama class. Investigating the topic “Adaptability in the 21st Century” proved an invigorating process both for the boys and her. She marvels at how much it has changed her teaching life! Her school has expanded the project across year 8 and is in the process of implementing it into year 9.
Higgins is delighted with this year's project topic, Boys and Technology, and looks forward to learning more from this year's team of researchers. She considers it a privilege to collaborate with teachers from all over the world. The IBSC Action Research Program has made a massive impact on her professional development and she keeps in constant contact with her cohorts and mentors—they have become great friends. Higgins looks forward to collaborating with the new team on the journey ahead.
Currently the director of enrollment at The Browning School (United States), Janetta Lien previously served as a member of the science faculty at Browning for seven years, teaching lower school and middle school science classes and an upper school science elective in geology and environmental studies. She first had the pleasure of participating in action research during the 2015-16 school year on the theme of global citizenship. Being a part of an action research team afforded Lien the time and space to plan, execute, and reflect on her teaching practice while seeking to develop transformative experiences for the boys on an important topic. She was also delighted to meet and work alongside a group of like-minded, caring educators from all over the world. This will be her fourth cycle as a team advisor and Lien looks forward to many productive and thought-provoking conversations!
Luke Rawle serves as the head of teaching and learning at Toowoomba Grammar School (Australia). In striving for best practice in teaching boys, his strategic role aims to cultivate a culture of improvement through pedagogical innovation and professional learning. He also serves as a history teacher and is actively involved in the school’s co-curricular and pastoral programs.
Rawle first got involved with IBSC when he presented the workshop Discovering the Power of Expectations at the 2017 IBSC Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, United States. He continued his association by participating in the IBSC Action Research Program as part of the 2019-20 cohort investigating the theme Developing Agency: Boy Voice and Choice. Rawle’s research transposed the traditional classroom dynamic in his Year 11 Modern History class, placing boys in the center of the learning experience through their role as tutors to younger students. His report found that peer-tutoring had a positive effect on increasing the boys’ self-efficacy in the skills of historical source analysis. Rawle believes the action research cycle has transformed his own practice, providing the catalyst for greater self-reflection on his pedagogy.
He feels truly excited to join the IBSC Action Research team, which provides him the opportunity to further develop personal and professional connections with those who are passionate about boys’ education throughout the world.