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International school teacher creates global curriculum text October 28, 2010

Posted by Alex, Managing Director in Independent Education, International education, New releases.
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Next week, when we take delivery of new author Briony Taylor’s new book, Empowering Kids to Shape our Future,  it will be something of a landmark for us here at John Catt Educational – the first time that we have published a curriculum textbook.

Traditionally, we have published school guidebooks, magazines for various membership associations, professional development books and, in the past, prospectuses for schools. But Briony’s book will be the first toe into the water of school textbooks.

It is another example of how John Catt Educational are continuing to explore new publishing avenues to support the international and independent education sectors.

Briony is a primary science teacher at the Collège Du Léman International School in Geneva, Switzerland.  In her book, she has created a series of lesson plans to help primary years teachers to fill developing minds with information, skills and procedures that can be applied to shaping our planet’s future. The aim is to teach children to become critical and reflective thinkers, cooperative individuals, lifelong learners and socially conscious citizens.

We asked Briony a few questions about the book and her background.

Alex, John Catt Educational editor: Briony, tell us a little about yourself and your background in education.

Briony: I come from a large family of educators and was very keen to become a teacher myself. As a child I lived all around Australia, in New York and Kuala Lumpur, which helped develop my interest in other cultures, adventure and travel. In 2004 I completed my BA in Primary Education at the University of Canberra in Australia. I was keen to teach abroad so I moved to London in 2005 where I worked in various teaching positions as a supply teacher which was an excellent introduction to my teaching career and also very eye opening.

In June 2006 I moved to Switzerland and realized my dream of working in an International School. I enjoy working in a multicultural environment and I am constantly inspired and learning from my international colleagues and students.

Alex: How did the idea for the book come about? Did you enjoy the process of writing a book?

Briony: I believe it is very important to teach primary school children about global issues. In my research I found that there were very few books on global issues targeted at primary school teachers so I created a lot of my own activities. I then decided to assemble the activities that I had been using into a book so that I could share them with other teachers.

I wrote the book during the summer holidays and found it a great learning experience. My brother Dan Jobson did the illustrations, which I think are amazing, he is a very talented designer. We both like to be creative so I got a lot out of sharing ideas and working with him.

Alex: Why did you feel the time was right for a book encouraging children to learn about global issues?

Briony: The world is rapidly getting smaller in the sense that issues that use to affect “others” now have important consequences for us all. The freer movement of people, international communication, the globalization of trade and technological advancements have all contributed to connecting us all and they continue to shape our world. Therefore, the time is right to teach children the skills and knowledge they need to live in the modern world where global issues seem to be escalating but not resolving themselves.

We will post the second half of the Q&A with Briony early next week.

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