King’s Group is a collection of 9 British international schools in the UK, Spain, Panama and Latvia. The weekend of 28th-29th October was their Professional Development weekend where over 400 teachers from King’s Group schools and from COBIS (Council of British International Schools) came together in Madrid with the opportunity to attend a huge variety of workshops on a number of teaching topics.

Enabling Enterprise were delighted to be asked to run a series of five workshops during the weekend around the themes of employability, enterprise skills and the world of work in the classroom. The conference had a dual aim this year both to provide food for thought and practical tips for teachers to implement straightaway which was exciting for us as our sessions focused around discussion and practical strategies for teachers to take away.

It was a real highlight to discuss the need for enterprise skills such as teamwork, listening and problem-solving with the King’s and COBIS teachers and to find out that students in Spain, just like students in the UK, struggled with some of these skills and the teachers could really see the benefit of developing them in their own classroom. It was culturally interesting to note that whilst in the UK students often struggle with creativity, this was a skill that nearly all the teachers in our Madrid workshops noted as being a real strength of their Spanish students whereas listening often topped the list of skills they thought their students most struggled with.

Furthermore, a few sixth-form teachers noted the difficulty in securing work experience for their students in Spain and so the need to bring the world of work into the classroom is perhaps greater than in the UK where many schools have provision for this.

The Madrid workshops were a great reminder that whilst students’ context may be hugely different (age, country, cultural background), their need for skill development, to ensure they can succeed, is universal. Furthermore, the best placed people to ensure the development of key skills such as teamwork, resilience and sharing ideas are classroom teachers who know their students so well and can use their pedagogy not only to inspire and impart knowledge to their class but also to upskill them for future success.

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