IBSC Action Research Leadership
An English teacher by trade, Margot Long has taught at nearly all grades in different schools, from year six to year 12. For the past 14 years, she has worked as deputy head of academics and staff learning at St. John's Preparatory School (South Africa). Long first experienced the IBSC Action Research Program as a member of the 2008-09 team, researching the topic, “How can programs that promote safe, just, and inclusive classroom and school environments improve the learning experience for boys?” Her research report focused on programs that combat bullying in schools.
Participating on the global research team proved such a wonderful experience and making so many new friends that Long decided to stay on, first as a team advisor and then as the program coordinator. She finds it easy to keep in touch across the world and says there is nothing better than hearing news from a team member or meeting up at the IBSC Annual Conference. The special friendships Long established with the other four team advisors and her mentor Di Laycock have enriched her life, both professionally and personally. She has also learned so much about the importance of action research in schools to enable us to continue reviewing best practice in educating boys.
With a sense of real anticipation, she looks forward to sharing the findings of the outgoing team researching Developing Agency: Boy Voice and Choice.
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!
Laura Sabo serves as librarian at St. Christopher’s School (United States), which enrolls nearly 1,000 students in grades JK-12. She has had 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. This format provides a wonderful opportunity for teacher collaboration and her team strives to design engaging, innovative, student-driven projects.
Sabo is thrilled to engage in her fifth cycle as a team advisor for the 2020-21 IBSC action researchers. Seven years ago she completed a research project focused on creativity, technology, and boys, in which students used multimedia digital tools to create social awareness posters. What an amazing experience! Sabo values the wealth of information and the wonderful relationships she’s gained through the process and looks forward to meeting and working with the new team of researchers this year.