Learning at Cayman International School


What is learning, how does it happen, and what does it look like? 

No set of questions is more complex and relevant in driving the work of our school. And while simple answers don’t exist, simple frameworks that can guide our inquiry do. To this end, CIS has adopted a concise framework developed by the Common Ground Collaborative to guide our ongoing inquiry into student learning and how we can best foster and grow it.

The framework begins and ends with a clear definition of learning: Learning is the ongoing process of growing and demonstrating Conceptual Understanding, Competencies, and Character in lasting, impactful ways. If we are serious about making learning the core of our school, it is essential that we work from a shared definition. Conceptual understanding has to do with “big ideas” that stick with students. Competencies are both content specific, as well as timeless, interdisciplinary skills than demonstrate understanding and prepare students for success in the world. Character refers to both personal values as well as to dispositions towards learning. These “3 Cs” are not causes of learning. Nor are they checklists that indicate learning. Rather, these three strands are conceptualized as intrinsic, interwoven, and interdependent features of learning.

To ensure our definition of learning is more than words on a page, we have to deeply understand the key concepts implicit in it. The CIS Learning Principles are articulations of the foundational concepts. Their purpose is to guide all of our work and provide clarity in important decision making.

Shared Learning Principles

At CIS we share foundational conceptual understandings about learning:

In the same way that compelling, important questions drive learning in the classroom, it is also true for our organization. In order to ensure we evolve as a coherent system that organizes all aspects of learning and teaching, we use driving questions to guide our learning as school, from the 30,000 foot view down to what informs daily lesson plans:  


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