School of Thought

Welcome to the podcast

where we talk all things education...

Welcome to the podcast where we talk all things education, covering every aspect of the learning journey and speaking to some of the leading voices along the way. Our aim is to uncover the hottest topics, answer the most pressing questions, and solve the biggest challenges facing learners, educators and parents today.

Entrepreneurship, creativity and problem-solving with David Harkin of 8billionideas

Every child has the power to change the world. That's the inspiring message of David Harkin, the CEO and co-founder of EdTech company 8billionideas. David is also an author, TEDx speaker, plus he's been described as a 'global disruptor in education' (in a wholly positive way, of course).

In this episode,  School of Thought host Hfu Reisenhofer speaks with David about the incredible work 8billionideas is doing in schools across the globe. About the importance of teaching students entrepreneurship, creativity and problem-solving skills. And about the need to let young people think freely, develop their ideas and follow their dreams.

How to take control of your finances with Andrew Hallam

School of Thought speaks to Andrew Hallam, the schoolteacher turned international best-selling author, speaker and journalist whose approach to finances, investment and how to accumulate money has inspired and changed the lives of countless educators and expats around the world. What's the key to taking control of our finances? How and where should we be investing our hard-earned money? What should schools be teaching children about financial literacy? Can we spend our way to happiness and life satisfaction? And how should we be defining success? Press play and find out!

The IB Uncovered: Gold standard among curriculums?

The International Baccalaureate is one of the world’s fastest growing curriculums. It's studied by just shy of 2 million students aged 3 to 19, with some 7,500 IB programmes taught across 5,500 schools in 160 countries across the globe.

Most people have at least heard of the IB, but not everyone fully understands it, and common misunderstandings about its approach persist despite its growing popularity.

What is the IB? How is it different from other education systems? What qualifications does it lead to and how are these viewed by universities and employers?

To answer these questions and more, Angela Roberts, PYP Coordinator at GEMS World Academy – Dubai, and Sandy Trull, MYP Coordinator at GEMS International School – Al Khail, join School of Thought host Hfu Reisenhofer for an in-depth discussion about what is arguably the new gold standard among curriculums.

Forest School: Is it time all schools offered outdoor learning?

Building dens, lighting fires, making mud pies, chopping wood, tying knots, feeding animals – these are just some of the activities involved in forest school, or desert school as it’s also known. Just a bit of fun? Just a fringe strain of education? Or does outdoor learning deserve a place in every school and curriculum?

From a host of important transferable skills to a wealth of benefits that promote well-being, fitness and mental health, not to mention the fact that all children seem to love it because it’s so much fun, there’s no shortage of positives when it comes to forest school and outdoor learning.

For this fascinating, eye-opening episode, School of Thought host Hfu Reisenhofer is joined by outdoor learning experts Claire Nami and Lewis Miller, whose passion for their profession is probably only matched by the enthusiasm of their students.

Claire is Foundation Stage Leader and Assistant Headteacher of Primary at GEMS FirstPoint School, while Lewis is Head of Department – Outdoor Learning and Digital Literacy Coordinator at GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis. Both lead the outdoor learning provision at their Dubai schools, proving that the forest school ethos can be successfully implemented anywhere – even in the UAE desert.

Climate Change | Part 2: The Students' Perspective

How do young people feel about climate change and how do they see the future? What are they learning about the crisis, what action are they taking and what are they willing to give up?

Part 2 of our extended episode on climate change sees four inspiring young minds voice their hopes, fears, anger and frustrations as they discuss the fate of our fast-warming planet. As representatives of the generation that's set to be hardest hit by the effects of climate breakdown, they all agree that much more needs to be done - and with far greater urgency than exists today.

Climate Change | Part 1: The Educator's Perspective

With wildfires raging, heatwaves setting new records, droughts and floods causing disruption, and time fast running out, the climate crisis has never been in sharper focus. Do we rely on governments to provide top-down answers, is it up to each individual, or does education have the power to drive the change that's needed?

In this extended, two-part episode on climate change, we examine the challenges and potential solutions from a variety of perspectives. Part One sees Asha Alexander, Principal of GEMS Legacy School and Executive Leader for Climate Change at GEMS Education, offer her views on the climate emergency and detail some of the work she's been doing with the UN to promote climate literacy in schools.

Exams: Are they fit for purpose?

Exams: for some they're easy, for others they're a nightmare. But no matter what the curriculum or which part of the world you're in, we’re led to believe that exams are unavoidable and an essential part of education.

Or are they?

Weighing in on the subject are two eminent school leaders: Nargish Khambatta, Principal of GEMS Modern Academy, and Matthew Burfield, Principal/CEO of GEMS Founders School - Dubai.

What they have to say may surprise you...

More to Explore

  • At some stage, all parents face one critical decision in their parenting journey: which school to choose for their child or children. It’s a difficult, sometimes confusing, but nonetheless important decision that impacts both your life as a parent and your child’s future.

  • When considering your child for a place at any of our primary and secondary schools, we may even conduct an age-related placement test as part of the admission process.
  • When it comes to understanding the price range within different academic grades in the UAE, it's important to consider the specific needs and goals of students at various stages of their education.
  • Whether selecting what subjects to take for GCSEs or the IB Diploma Programme, the pressure on students to choose the right electives that will carry them through the remainder of school and then into college is more or less the same.

  • As a GEMS parent, there are many ways you can save on your annual school tuition fees.

  • Our parent community are our best advocates and the Ambassador Programme is our way of saying thanks for playing an active role in our success.

  • We offer Academic Scholarships to students who have consistently placed at the top of their class in all their subjects for at least the last three years.

Our international education footprint extends to 49 schools across the UAE, Qatar and Egypt, delivering a consistent, dynamic, high-quality education for every child.
Find a School