This podcast series is devoted to sharing good teaching practice at Gardens Elementary School which is located on the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology campus in Saudi Arabia. At GES, our student population is multi-cultural, diverse, enthusiastic, engaging and confident. They are also fun loving and happy.

Through the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) we provide opportunities for students to develop an understanding of essential concepts, skills, knowledge, and attitudes that will enable them to be lifelong learners. Our students are actively involved in authentic inquiry-based learning across all the curriculum areas. They develop confidence in their abilities, think for themselves, question, express their opinions and respect the opinions of others. As students learn to reflect on their learning, they become critical thinkers. We encourage students to voice their ideas and to take action to improve the school and the community. Student achievement and progress is shared through regular assemblies, parent conferences, open houses and activities aimed at making the school a stimulating center for the community.

Episode Two is with Brad Traynor

Brad’s Bio:

Brad Traynor is an international educator in his 15th year of education. Brad has held positions ranging from JK through to high school and has worked in several classroom settings including alternative learning spaces for behavioural concerns. Brad is currently working as a grade 4 teacher and team leader at Gardens Elementary School in Saudi Arabia. Teaching has taken Brad from his roots of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada to Thailand, China, Switzerland and now Saudi Arabia. Brad continues to demonstrate an ongoing passion for teaching and learning by taking every opportunity possible to learn through collaboration with his colleagues at TKS and other educators around the world. He has also begun his leadership training at the Principal’s Training Center and takes IB online courses whenever he can. Brad and his wife, Leigh Ann, are in the 4th year at Gardens Elementary School and are soon expecting their first child.

Fostering Student Agency

In this episode, Brad dives into the role that critical self-reflection has played in helping him to not only refine his own teaching practice but to also examine how he can better design his own learning space in an effort to honor the unique ways that his students learn. Brad shares his own journey and how he came to the realization that he needed to give up control and traditional ways of that he had been teaching. Handing over trust to his students has helped to deepen agency and ownership over his students’ learning journeys in Brad’s class. Brad offers advice and insight into how anyone can change the learning space in which they teach. Every educator can benefit from hearing Brad’s story.

Connect With Brad

Twitter: @traynorbrad1980

Connect With Gardens Elementary School

Twitter: @GESatKAUST


Themes Discussed:

Student Agency, Autonomy, The Role of Self-Reflection, Redesigning Learning Space, Trust, Extending The Perimeters of Learning, Group Decision Making