We recently had the opportunity to have our international recruiting colleagues from the BASIS International Schools in China visit the BASIS Independent schools in California. The team in China is tasked with seeking teachers in China that are a strong fit with the BASIS Model to fill roles in Early Education and the Primary grades, as well as Chinese language teachers for all grades in our Pre-K through Grace 12 schools there. Together we handle the recruiting needs of all the schools in China to find the best teachers from around the world to teach at the BASIS International Schools in China.
Because the BASIS Curriculum in China is primarily the same curriculum used in the BASIS Independent Schools in the U.S., a significant focus of the visit was to provide them a chance to see how the same BASIS Primary Model functions in the schools in the U.S. This gave them the opportunity to see how teachers interact, engage, and work together in the collaborative co-teaching format that has yielded significant gains in learning for the BASIS primary-aged students. Because co-teaching isn’t the typical model that most teachers learn about in their programs, it is unique and being able to describe why we use a co-teaching model, and how it works and looks in the classroom, is a critical part of what recruiters do when speaking with prospective candidates. We wanted the team to be able to see, understand, and explain some of the nuances of the model as they see it in China and how it operates in the U.S.
One main difference is that because most of the students in China are English Language Learners (ELLs), the teachers hired as Learning Expert Teachers in the Primary school are local, Chinese teachers that can speak with the students and communicate with parents in their native language when necessary to best support their learning needs.
Visiting BASIS Independent Fremont was energizing. There was a constant sense of urgency in the learning. One of the things I was most impressed with as we toured the schools and observed classes for two days was how engaged the students were in what they were learning about and their enthusiasm.
Another stand-out moment was when we visited one of the Connections classes (a cross-curricular class designed to apply knowledge from multiple subjects through scenario-based projects). We observed a third grade class that was applying lessons from a couple of subjects to work on a project dealing with data collection, analysis, and reporting through charts. I was rather impressed with their level of understanding as well as the creativity of students in working through their task. The assignment was to list five different animals, poll at least nine other students as to which was their favorite, then, using the data they collected, chart the results of what animals were the favorites based on the data they collected. I loved the range of animals that were selected from monkeys and parrots, to narhwals, giraffes, and rhinos. I particularly enjoyed the inclusion of unicorns, sasquatch, and the debate that ensued as to whether aliens were animals to be included in the project and if they were actually real. Such a lively discussion! I loved the creativity and the way they expressed their opinions as to why they thought they should be included or not. All this from third graders. It was great!
Seeing the way that the Learning Expert Teachers engaged students during instruction, as well as interacting with the Subject Expert Teachers to enhance the instruction of the class was insightful for our Chinese colleagues. They were able to see new ways that they can describe the role of a Learning Expert Teacher, confirm the types of questions to ask and how to asses a candidate to determine whether someone would be a good fit for a Learning Expert Teacher role.
The BASIS Primary Model is truly unique and takes the right types of teachers to make it effective. Having our colleagues from China observe the model in a different environment allows them to be even more effective in their recruiting through the conversations they have with candidates and experienced teachers. The visit also allowed our teams to strengthen our relationships and work more closely together to fulfill the hiring needs of the BASIS International Schools in China. We look forward to seeing the continued growth of the impressive teachers that work with our students in China.
The role of a Learning Expert Teacher at BASIS allows the teacher to fully focus on the learning of their students without having to set aside the significant time needed to prepare multiple lessons for various subjects. This results in individual student needs being met and their learning progressing faster than what is typical at an elementary level. For more information on the BASIS Primary Model and career opportunities with BASIS International Schools, visit our careers site.
Tim Smith is the Vice President of Global Talent Strategy & Acquisition for BASIS International Schools’ international teachers recruiting team.
It was educational and helpful for us to observe the classes and meet with the various Learning Expert Teachers and Subject Expert Teachers. Both of the schools we visited, BASIS Independent Fremont and BASIS Independent Silicon Valley, are different in their own ways and yet similar in their dedication to delivering the best academic results and creating intelligent scholars, just like the BASIS International Schools in China.
We met passionate teachers and leadership who believe the BASIS co-teaching model is one of the most effective ways to educate young minds, and contributes to the low faculty turnover when expectation is set early on. We learned the key qualities to look for when hiring potential LETs. We observed how the LET and SET complemented each other in a class when classroom management and subject lecturing were in harmony. We witnessed LETs and SETs as they both embraced their equal contribution to productive learning in their classes, and in collaboration through effective communication and flexibility in lesson planning. We know what the successful co-teaching relationship looks like, and the definition of the roles comes alive through these dedicated teachers.
This was a successful trip in terms of resulting in better international recruiting results and strengthening our understanding and belief in BASIS’s co-teaching model.
Celia Lee is Vice President of BASIS Global.
Our HR team came to visit the BASIS Independent Schools in California, aiming to have a better understanding of the BASIS co-teaching model. We really appreciated the chance to tour the schools, observe the classes, and talk with different Learning Expert Teachers (LETs) about their feelings and views in the role of the LET and co-teaching model.
The chance to observe classes and chat with LETs was meaningful to us, giving us a chance to think about what critical qualities a LET may need. Although these LETs are different in delivering their teaching skills and methods, they show great passion in education and being with kids, helping kids to remain focused and interested in learning, with a common goal to make sure students’ social-emotional development complements their academic development.
The BASIS Primary Model is unique and indispensable in our accelerated learning environment. The collaborative format at BASIS Independent Fremont enables us to see how LETs and SETs work together to better involve students in learning and stimulate students’ interests in study. This co-teaching model is not the model that most teachers learn from their schools or programs. While in China, we hardly find a potential teacher with homeroom teacher experiences, and most teachers in China are not that familiar with co-teaching models. It helps us to find a new way to describe the role of the LET, how the LET works, and what the BASIS Primary Model might look like in the classroom.
We really enjoyed the opportunity to visit the BASIS Independent Schools in California for a better understanding of the BASIS Primary Model. We hope this will achieve better recruiting results for us. We will be dedicated to seeing suitable teacher candidates in China who might be a good fit with the BASIS Primary Model to fulfill the LET roles in Primary Education.
Andrea Mo, Human Resource Department, BASIS International Schools in China