The Learning Institute at ASL

Inspiring excellence in teaching: professional development in the heart of London. 

Completed courses for 2017 are listed below. Upcoming professional development opportunities can be found on our professional learning page.

The Institute provides world-class professional learning opportunities for educators in the heart of London. Our courses are handpicked to reflect the most current educational trends and research.

The mission of the Learning Institute at ASL is to inspire excellence in teaching and learning through innovative, research-based professional development opportunities for educators world-wide.

Completed courses from 2017:

ECIS/ASL Middle Leader Program and Certificate: Leading Professional Learning: 19-20 June

Course dates: 19-20 June

This course is part of the ECIS/ASL Middle Leader Program and Certificate. Full details and registration information available at the ECIS/ASL Middle Leader Program and Certificate page.

In this two-day course, these questions are explored:

  • What does research indicate about the best practices for the most effective teacher professional development?
  • How can a leader implement ongoing reflection, goal setting and action, with a view to personal and group professional development?
  • How can teacher leaders model excellent ongoing professional learning and practice?
  • How can teacher leaders support the growth of the adults in the building?

Adaptive Schools: 20-23 June

Course dates: 20-23 June

The goal of Adaptive Schools Seminars is to develop the collective identity and capacity of organization members as collaborators and inquirers.


Human organizations and individuals can be adapted to a specific niche or can become adaptive, flexing to meet the challenges of a changing world. To be adaptive means to change form and clarify identity. Form can be the ways in which we structure our organizations and how we do our work. New challenges require new and increasingly flexible forms. Identity is about who we believe we are as an organization and as professionals.

School-wide improvements in student learning accrue in schools whose work cultures are collaborative. The growing body of work on the impact of collaborative adult professional cultures in schools offers a positive and productive means for organizing the work of on-going school improvement. In such cultures, professionals learn to talk about the hard-to-talk-about details of learning, teaching, assessment and the cumulative effects of their work with students.

Productive teams are developed, not born.

About the training

The course presents a productive, practical set of ideas and tools for developing collaborative groups to become better equipped to resolve complex issues around student learning. The training not only explores what makes teams effective, but how to develop skills as facilitators and informed group members in informal and formal settings, in small and large groups. It takes participants beyond the idea of professional learning communities to the actual implementation, describing specific ways to weave the collaborative fabric of a faculty, develop group member skills, and acquire the principles and understandings to engage in a continuous cycle of team and individual improvement. Adaptive Schools is the “how” of professional learning communities: how to behave in groups, how to lead them, and how to facilitate them for improved leading, teaching, and learning.


Participants develop:

  • An increased capacity to initiate, develop and sustain high functioning groups

  • New lenses for diagnosing the stages and phases of group development

  • An expanded repertoire of practical facilitation tools

  • Understandings of when and how to engage groups in dialogue and discussion, the limitations, forms and values of each

  • Skills to move groups beyond consensus to common focus

  • Ways to value and use dissension, argument and conflict

  • Strategies for keeping group members on track, on topic, energized and resourceful.

Registration cost
  • ASL participants: £700

  • Non-ASL participants: £850

Presenter bio

Carolyn McKanders is the director of Organizational Culture for Thinking Collaborative, the home of the Adaptive Schools Seminars and the Cognitive Coaching Seminars®. She is former co-director of the Center for Adaptive Schools. As an educational consultant, Carolyn specializes in individual, group and organization development. Her passion is promoting quality human relationships through communication, collaboration and leadership skills development. Her background includes 28 years of experience in Detroit public schools as a teacher, counselor and staff development specialist. Currently, Carolyn presents seminars internationally on developing Adaptive Schools, enhancing presentation effectiveness, and facilitation skills. She also provides Polarity Management® training, which supports organizations in identifying and managing competing tensions inherent in social systems. Carolyn has extensive experience in group facilitation. She has successfully helped groups to clarify vision and work collaboratively to achieve professional community and desired results. In addition to her work in educational settings, Carolyn is a family and women’s counselor. From her counseling experience, she brings to her work a deep belief in the unlimited capacity and resilience of the human spirit. Carolyn holds a BS in child development and education from Michigan State University, an MA in counseling and education from the University of Michigan, and an MSW (master’s in social work) in family and children services from Eastern Michigan University.

ASL hosts Responsive Classroom: 20-23 June

Cancellation policy: 50% of the registration fee is refundable if you submit your cancellation in writing by 1 May 2017. After 1 May 2017, there are no refunds.

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