Brenna McNeil

Educator/curriculum leader, Kyoto International School
Kyoto, Japan

About Brenna

Bio

I enjoy tackling challenges, and am definitely a hands-on learner!----- I am currently very interested in learning more about early childhood pedagogy and practices----- I am fascinated by the history of world religions ----- I love traveling and eating good food ----- live music makes me very, very happy!------ I believe my primary role as an educator is to empower my students to dream big, and follow those dreams.

Areas of Expertise

health and social education , critical pedagogy, gender issues in education, curriculum development, IB's Primary Years Program

An idea worth spreading

The children and youth of the world are capable of amazing things- they just need the opportunity to show us.

I'm passionate about

Health and social education ----- recognising everyone's unique ability, potential and value----- developing curriculum for every learner----- traveling the world.

My TED story

I've been an avid TED and TEDx fan for years, and constantly fill up people's emails and Facebook walls with TED and TEDx links! With the help of my friend and colleague, Tosca Killoran, I planned my first event, TEDxYouth@BIS, in 2011. Since then, I have attended many TEDx events as an audience member. I am currently working on building a team for a TEDxYouth event in Kyoto, Japan for TEDxYouth Day in 2013.

Comments & conversations

109084
Brenna McNeil
Posted over 2 years ago
Larry Smith: Why you will fail to have a great career
Update..... I *did* take the job, and am staying on one more year! My relationship is still going strong, I am learning everyday, and I am enjoying the challenges of my new role. I just shared this video with a good friend who is trying to make a big 'life decision' at the moment. I hope it helps him as much as it helped me. Funny, I was drawn back to this video exactly one year after I first viewed and commented on it...... :o)
109084
Brenna McNeil
Posted about 3 years ago
How do you promote, model and scaffold sustainable action within your classroom?
@Fritzie- I believe there is a difference between 'action' and 'service'. In this context, I believe action is doing something that aims to result in a change to the benefit of the individual and/or a group. I like to help my students understand action as stopping doing something, starting to do something, or changing the way you do something. It might be as simple as starting to recycle at home, or walking to school instead of driving (both of these actions benefitting the Earth and, thus, people). I believe asking students, "What can you do for someone else this week?" would come under the umbrella of service. Perhaps this conversation needs to first define what action is, and what it isn't. Any suggestions, people?? :o)
109084
Brenna McNeil
Posted about 3 years ago
How do you promote, model and scaffold sustainable action within your classroom?
I believe the 'bake sale' mindset that many accept as 'action' is, whilst admirable, doesn't necessarily encourage meaningful or ongoing action in students' lives, especially elementary students. Likewise the forced community service many secondary students are expected to undertake in order to gain credit for graduation. Before expecting students to take sustainable action, the curriculum must be geared towards the students and their lives, it must be made personal and relevant to them. I think the best way to start is to encourage action that students will see immediate benefits from- affecting change at home, or at school via student council activities, or having a role in decision-making- will allow students to see how their actions can result in real change. Then, allow students to explore bigger ways of taking action, perhaps in their local community, or with causes they are especially interested in and passionate about. Ideally, this would nurture an attitude of service, activism, and positive power that students will carry with them for the rest of their lives without the need to mandate action and service in the curriculum. I do not believe action is entirely 'assessable', as the one doing the assessing- educators, mostly- may not ever see the action that students take. It may happen when a student doesn't even realise they're doing it, it may happen after the perceived period of taking action has taken place, it may not even be recognisable to the educators charged with assessing it. This is not to say that action is not recordable or observable. How would it be assessed, anyway? What would *that* rubric look like? We don't want students to feel discouraged if the action they take is not 'good enough' according to standards that come from.... where?!? To help students take poster-making and fund-raising further, educators should provide opportunities for personal action, support students when they wish to take action, and explore un/successful action.
109084
Brenna McNeil
Posted over 3 years ago
Larry Smith: Why you will fail to have a great career
Wow. This video came out just as I'm in the middle of an impossible decision- accept an offer of my 'dream job', one that I've taken years to realise I am passionate about and to actually find, that is in a different country to my long-term partner, or put my passion on hold for a few years until my partner and I can find 'dream jobs' in the same location. I've been agonising over this decision for a week. I am not scared of failing, I am scared of distance killing my relationship, which I treasure beyond words. This video brought tears to my eyes. It has made me realise I will be a better person, for myself and my partner, if I follow my passion. I am confident my relationship is strong, so I have decided to take the job! I am an educator, and I want to be a person who can say to my students, with authority, follow your dreams. Thank you so much, Professor Smith.