The Portal Project empowers communities to listen, dialogue, reflect, and act as we embrace learning and growth in the journey through the Global Pandemic. The Project is inspired by two pieces of writing. The first is Arundhati Roy's article and quote regarding the pandemic: “Historically, Pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next…we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”

The second comes from the Big Questions Institute's free e-book, "9 Big Questions Schools Must Answer to Avoid Going 'Back to Normal,'" by Will Richardson and Homa Tavangar. We as a school have chosen five of these nine questions to explore this year, through these conversations.

AISC's Portal Project is committed to leading the conversations for and with local and global thought-partners and community members to facilitate imagining and acting into new ways of being.


March 30, 2023

Who is Unheard: Ethical Lenses for LGBTQ+ Decision-Making in International Education

International school educators are increasingly facing questions around LGBTQ+ equity and belonging in their practice, and may struggle to identify a position that does justice to the weight of the issues. Those with limited training and informed experience in LGBTQ+ equity work may find that relying on popular opinion or a search engine to develop answers feels unprofessional at best, and potentially dangerous at worst. Dr. Emily Meadows proposes, instead, a conceptual framework with which to consider four prominent ethical lenses that educators may use in evaluating LGBTQ+ matters: professional, cultural, legal, and health & safety lenses. In this interactive session, each lens will be laid out with relevant research and implications, and participants will be invited to practice application themselves through structured provocations. The framework serves as a practical tool for conscientious educators seeking guidance to carefully and intentionally address varying perspectives and community members around the sensitive and important topic of LGBTQ+ identity affirmation in school.


Events Schedule

Who is Unheard: Ethical Lenses for LGBTQ+ Decision-Making in International Education

Thursday, March 30, 6:00—7:15 p.m. IST

Emily Meadows

Who is Unheard? Challenging Notions of Power and Positionality within International Schooling

Participants explored the concepts of power and positionality. Specifically, together, and discussed how to challenge traditional hierarchies within the international school ecosystem that limit identity affirming communities. The objective of this session was to shift mindsets from "being a voice for the voiceless" to recognizing that "no one is truly without a voice, but our systems must shift to ensure everyone is heard."

ARE WE WELL?: Stretching at Our Edges to be Healthy, for Ourself And Others

What does it mean to work on your own emotional & psychological "hygiene" to be healthy for yourself and healthy for others? To build up your bandwidth and "stomach" to feel more comfortable with the ambiguity of your work? To manage your disappointment and sustain your commitment for the work ahead? What does it mean to "be well"?

Who Is Unheard: Disrupting Heteronormativity

What is heteronormativity and how does it show up in our learning spaces? What does it mean to truly disrupt heteronormative stances? Certain routines help cultivate an identity-affirming stance for all community members. This session will provide space to look critically at messages we've received as individuals, messages we can amplify as learning leaders and routines we can call upon for the greater good.

Asking the Right Questions: Exploring Global and Cultural Literacies

This session seeks to frame a dialogue around the question “Are We Literate?” by exploring evaluation strategies and collection development policies as pathways to providing literacy instruction in a multiliterate world. By asking the right questions, educators can successfully review, select, and promote inclusive texts that support diverse students as they learn about themselves and the world around them.

Kinds of Thinking that Serves Learning Well - Now and Long into the Future

As the world adapts and changes at breakneck speed, it is important that we ask ourselves: What do we value about learning that we can lean into in these uncertain times? Leaning into these values, of course, helps us to remain grounded to a vision of quality education that will have far-reaching impact long into the future. Our conversation will examine the kinds of thinking that serves learning well, in the here-and-now, and long into the future.

Nurturing Adult Learning - a Sacred Piece of Schooling

In this session, the Coaches and Curriculum Coordinator from the American International School Chennai (AISC) will share their experiences, passions and aspirations for the growing adult learning program at their school. Equipped with introductory research and anecdotal evidence supporting the impact of adult learning on both faculty and students, participants will gain a stronger understanding of why adult learning is sacred.