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The Educator     Jan. 18th, 2008



Karin Caffin

Head of School   

Happy New Year!

Welcome back to school! I trust that everyone had a good winter vacation and managed to spend time with family and friends. I have just returned to school as I spent last week in Bangkok at a Teacher Recruitment Fair. I am aware that I have not written about the teacher recruitment process for a long time, and will do so now. 

Our school is registered with several recruitment agencies. They are International Schools Services, Search Associates, Council of International Schools, and Teacher Recruitment International. The advantage of being registered with them is that they establish a data bank of teachers who have to satisfy certain criteria before they can be registered, and they also contact previous employers for confidential references. 

The agencies work together to schedule recruitment fairs all over the world, and schools apply to attend, as do the teacher candidates. Vacancies and candidates are listed on secure websites, and the administrators can check who will be in attendance at the various fairs. Likewise the teachers can check which schools will be at the fairs so they can choose the fair that most meets their needs for schools. 

On the first day of the fair, the administrators who are recruiting search the data base, select the candidates that they wish to interview, check the confidential references in the files, and begin to check on referees, either by telephone, email or in person if fellow administrators are attending the same fair. The candidates also have the opportunity to check the vacancies and salary and benefits information for schools in attendance.  

The second day of the fair is sign-up day. Administrators from the schools are arranged alphabetically around the ballroom, and their vacancies are listed on the wall behind them. Teachers then come around and line up to sign up for interviews. The next three to four days are then taken up with interviews in the recruiters hotel rooms. The process can be quite stressful for both schools and candidates, as there is competition to get the best candidates and the best jobs.

OIS usually attends the fairs in Bangkok, USA and London, depending on vacancies. The recruitment of teachers is becoming more and more difficult as there is a shortage of teachers in the world. This is due to an aging workforce, the explosion of International Schools around the world, and the fact that in some countries the salaries of teachers have become more competitive and those teachers do not leave for overseas. At the Bangkok fair there were about 95 schools from 40 countries recruiting, with approximately 900 positions to be filled. There were 300 candidates in attendance. Many schools were not able to fill positions and they will need to go on to the recruitment fairs that are planned over several months from now. 

In the International School system all schools try to find teachers with several years of experience but that has already become difficult. As teachers become more difficult to find, salary and benefits will need to be increased so that schools can attract the best teachers to be able to maintain a high level of teaching. The explosion of international schools has meant that the choices for teachers and parents in the world are greater, and the challenge for schools will be to maintain the highest possible standards in teaching and learning.



Gwyn Underwood

Middle and High School Principal

Happy New Year everybody. I trust you had a relaxing break for the rigours of your work, and got in some good family time! I am happy to be able to say both students and faculty seem rested and ready for the next stretch of the year! 

I would like to extend a warm welcome to our two new teachers. Mrs. Caroline Rennie will be teaching grade 7 English and Humanities, as well as taking on the MYP Coordinator and Academic Director duties. Mrs. Geraldine O'Connell will be joining the ESL department to help with the upper elementary/middle school ESL. A number of families have also joined the school recently, so we also welcome Xiao Yan, Yusuke and Ryan and their families to our learning community. 

All families should have received an information letter last Friday regarding the upcoming Parent-Teacher Conferences, so I hope you have all planned to attend next Monday 21st, 4:00-7:45 pm and Tuesday 22nd, 8:30-11:45 am. If you cannot make the conferences, please make use of the contact slip attached to the letter to request a time to contact your childs teachers for an update. Please note these conferences are held in lieu of the written progress reports we send home mid fall and spring trimester, with the exception of PE, who still give a report as students change sports and teachers at this point.  

Winter Focus on the Approaches to Learning (AOI)

You will likely have heard mention of the five AOIs used in the Middle Years Programme (MYP), but some of you may not be sure exactly what they are, or why they are used. The following is a very brief outline, focusing on one AOI to give you a more detailed understanding.

  One of the three fundamental concepts of the MYP is Holistic Education, and the AOIs are the main vehicle used to facilitate reaching this goal. Intercultural Awareness and Communication are the other two fundamental concepts if you were wondering!

  The 5 AOIs provide a way to develop links between all MYP subjects. They help focus on important concepts, encourage students to embrace and understand connections between the subject material and the real world; and facilitate students becoming critical and reflective thinkers.

  The 5 AOI are: Approaches to Learning (ATL), Health and Social Education, Community and Service, Environment and Homo faber.

  The AOIs are not assessed formally in subjects, but are an integral part of the personal project in grade 10.

  More details are available here.

 Homo faber encourages students to explore in multiple ways the processes and products of human creativity, thus learning to appreciate and develop in themselves the human capacity to influence, transform, enjoy and improve the quality of life. Actually, the IBO are planning to rename Homo faber to Human ingenuity which may help us understand the term better!

  As an example then, when planning a lesson on atomic theory, a science teacher may choose homo faber as a focus AOI. Within the unit, the class may be asked to explore the multiple effects the creation of atomic bombs has had on society, and if the world is any better off having developed nuclear technology. How can we improve the quality of our life without damaging the environment?

  An art teacher may decide to use homo faber as a means of highlighting aspects for appreciating different styles of a certain genre of art. Why do some people appreciate one genre more than others?

  A PE teacher may ask students to reflect on why we humans like to make up different styles of dances in a dance composition class. What processes do we consider when we want to make our own dance up? 

These are fairly broad examples, but I hope they give you an idea of how various subject teachers can make use of the AOI to enhance the building connections between the subject matter and the real world. This, research tells us, enhances understanding and remembering!

 MYP info source:



Simon Parker

Athletic Director

Happy New Year and a warm welcome back to everyone.

2008 promises to be a year of excitement and change for the Athletic programme here at school.

Our withdrawal from the APAC league will see our school moving some activities around and will also see us involved in some new and exciting events with different schools, both here in Japan and overseas. It is a challenging and exciting time and we are all looking forward with a great deal of eager anticipation.

But for now it is business as usual. To see all the details from the MS Boys Basketball Tournament held here last weekend, along with pictures from the MS Girls Soccer Tournament at CA and a full listing of all the upcoming events, just click here.

Go Sabers!



Lyn Melville-Rea

Community Service Coordinator

Thank you to all those who donated blankets, sleeping bags etc. to Sannoh Children's Center in Kamagasaki. Those living on the streets are very appreciative. 

One Saturday evening each month, OIS students join with children from Sannoh Children's Center to make onigiri and offer warm bedding to Osaka's homeless.  

If you would like to be involved, please email Lyn Melville-Rea, OIS community service coordinator <> 


Hiroshi Baba

Triathlon Club Coach

Date: Sat., February 9, 2008

Place: Minoh Shin-machi, (30 minutes from Senri-Chuo by Hankyu Bus)


1) Family 3km (Gr. 1-4 with guardians)

2) 3km (Gr. 5/6 and over)

3) 5km (Gr.7 and over)

4) 10km (Gr.7 and over)

Start: 3km -10:00 am

5km -10:30 am

10km -11:00 am

Entry fee: 300 yen/person or 500 yen/family 


January 21 to Mr. Baba (SIS Math Teacher) or directly to Dai 2 Sogo Undojo (TEL 729-4558)




MS/HS Parent-Teacher Conference, 4:00-7:45 pm @ Library 


MS/HS Parent-Teacher Conference, 8:30-11:45 am @ Library

 - MS/HS No School

 - ES School in Session


SATI & II Tests @ OIS 


PYP Parent Information Coffee,

8:30 am @ 3F Conference Room



MONDAY, Jan. 21

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce 

TUESDAY, Jan. 22

Beef Cutlet 


Hash & Rice 


Homemade Cheese Croquette 

FRIDAY, Jan. 25

Chinese Noodle Soup 

MONDAY, Jan. 28

Chicken Cutlet 

TUESDAY, Jan. 29

Udon (Japanese Wheat Noodle) 


Pork Cutlet & Rice with Demiglace Sauce


Salmon Broiled with Tartar Sauce 

FRIDAY, Feb. 1

Spaghetti with Basil and Tomato

Karin Caffin, Head

Gwyn Underwood, MS/HS Principal

Rod Adam, ES Principal

Patrick Stenger, Counselor

Peter Heimer, IB Coordinator

Mike McGill, Admissions Director

Jim Schell, Business Manager

Student Attendance




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