Trinity’s education programs inspire abroad

Trinity’s education programs inspire abroad

On many people’s bucket lists is to visit the Kingdom of Bhutan, a landlocked country high in the Himalayas where Gross National Happiness underpins many areas of life, including Education.

For a week in May, Trinity’s Director of Research, Dr Kimberley Pressick-Kilborn, had the opportunity to travel to Paro, Bhutan as an Honorary Industry Fellow with a small delegation of teacher education academics from UTS. While in Paro, Kimberley worked with colleagues from Paro and Samtse Colleges of Education, as well as teachers from Khangkhu and Tendruk Schools. Her role was to support the implementation of local school-based projects that had been designed when Bhutanese educators visited Sydney in February to complete a two-week program. This program involved workshops at UTS focused on inclusivity in education, as well as visits to local schools including Trinity.

UTS Teacher Education delegation to Bhutan at the Paro College of Education: (L to R) Dr Lauren Knussen, Dr Kirsty Young, Dr Kimberley Pressick-Kilborn and Dr Marie Quinn

“One of the highlights of my time in Bhutan was seeing the impact that visiting Trinity’s Junior School has had, in shaping the focus of the local projects,” Kimberley shares.

At Tendruk School, the teachers have established their own ‘Green Patch’, which they have called Phensem Dumra. In English, this translates to ‘The Benefiting Everybody Garden’.

The creation of the garden has brought students with special needs and their parents together with mainstream students, with the goals of enhancing children’s engagement with growing plants, promoting life skills through a cooking program and providing a space for parents to connect.

“I am excited to know that our Green Patch initiative is having a ripple effect internationally,” shares Melinda Bargwanna, Trinity’s Specialist Environmental Educator.

At Khangkhu School, the local project has focused on enhancing collaborative planning amongst teachers, with the goal of more effectively solving shared problems of practice such as teaching spelling across the curriculum. This project was inspired by conversations with Trinity Junior School’s Director of Curriculum, Merilyn Ormes, and has benefitted from Trinity teachers Miriam Cross and Alanna Hulstone sharing examples of how they document their planning.

Dr Kimberley Pressick-Kilborn with students from Khangkhu School in Paro, Bhutan

Since returning to Trinity, Kimberley has shared a short presentation with her Years 11 and 12 IB Theory of Knowledge (ToK) classes, which drew on ToK concepts of culture, power and responsibility. She also spoke with the boys about opportunities that they may have for short exchanges and study abroad during their future university degrees, emphasising the importance of international-mindedness.

“I am looking forward to being able to connect Trinity teachers and students with their counterparts in schools in Bhutan. As Melinda Bargwanna conducts her International Boys’ Schools Coalition Action Research Project, for example, there could be opportunities to connect her findings with those from the Phensem Dumra project at Tendruk School. A shared publication would enable us to disseminate the impactful work in these projects with educators more widely,” shares Kimberley.

This was not Kimberley’s first visit to Bhutan. She has previously been involved in UTS-led projects in 2017-2019, as well as accompanying a group of UTS student teachers to Paro to complete a two-week International Professional Experience Placement.

Her recent visit was a part of an Australia Awards Fellowship project, funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trading.

Publications from previous projects:
Hopwood, N., Pressick-Kilborn, K., Pant, B. P., Dhungana, P., Shrestha, D., Shahi, R., & Choden, S. (2024). School-University Partnerships on the Edge of Possibility: Expansive Learning and Practice Transformation Across Australia, Nepal, and Bhutan. In Creating, Sustaining, and Enhancing Purposeful School-University Partnerships: Building ConnectionsAcross Diverse Educational Systems (pp. 181-201). Singapore: Springer Nature Singapore.
Utha, K., Subba, B. H., Mongar, B. B., Hopwood, N., & Pressick-Kilborn, K. (2023). Secondary school students’ perceptions and experiences of learning science and mathematics: The case of Bhutan. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 43(2), 350-367.

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