Developing Creativity in International Schools:

Nurturing Students in Transition

13-18 July 2014 in London


‘What an incredible and innovative vision Mary Langford, Kyung Hee Kim, and Debra Rader have for proactively seeking to develop the potential for creativity in those who have an internationally-mobile childhood.  As they bring together their vast professional backgrounds and knowledge in the areas of education, research, creativity and transition, they will lead the way to new thinking about how transition can spark a wide range of creative patterns.

It gives me joy to think of how their program will help TCKs, ATCKS, Global Nomads and others with cross-cultural backgrounds to build on the often inherent skill sets of negotiating cultural worlds and thinking “outside the box” that their life experiences have given them. Learning to leverage the gifts of a globally mobile childhood is good not only for the individual, but also for helping us all meet the new challenges and use well the opportunities in today’s globalizing world.’

 Ruth E. Van Reken, Co-author, Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds


Creativity is at the heart of what it is to be human, and transition and change are very much a part of our human experience. The natural link that exists between creativity and international transition, when cultivated with intentionality, can nurture our international school communities.

Transition and international mobility are increasingly understood as unique features of international schools, and recent research suggests that creativity, recognised as a 21st century skill for all individuals, also has particular relevance to the international school context.

Drawing on the internationally-acclaimed research of Dr Kyung Hee Kim (College of William and Mary) in the field of creativity, research on the traits and characteristics of internationally-mobile students (Third Culture Kids or TCKs), and on theory and practice surrounding Transition Education, we will explore and apply Dr Kim’s findings to enhance our work with international school students. We will examine creativity in the context of transition and mobility, and consider how to help all of our students develop strategies that they can continue to use to nurture and express their creativity throughout their lives.

Participants will actively engage in collaborative learning through a range of activities throughout the week. They will draw on the collective experience of the course participants and presenters.

The Institute culminates with the development of strategies and a plan to take back to their schools to nurture creativity and provide transition support for all members of the school community.

Click here for flyer to download


Purpose of the Institute

Our aim is to explore the unique qualities of TCKs and further develop a creative attitude to help them and all international school students, maximise the benefits and address the challenges of transition and international mobility. This course is designed for all educators working in international schools or highly mobile and diverse school communities including:

  • teachers
  • administrators (leaders)
  • curriculum coordinators
  • guidance, university and career counsellors
  • admissions staff
  • board members and proprietors
  • parent association volunteers


Participants will:

  • Develop a greater understanding of the characteristics of creative individuals
  • Consider ways to nurture creativity in our international and diverse schools
  • Develop a greater understanding of international mobility, the transition experience, and the Third Culture Kid (TCK) world
  • Develop transition programming and acquire effective strategies to support their students and their families, their colleagues and themselves through the process of transition


As a participant you will develop understanding and expertise to help facilitate change in your school as we explore and develop ways to best support and nurture TCKs and others in transition. You will gain knowledge, and develop skills and ideas to use in your classes and school communities.


The Thinking Behind the Institute

Kyung Hee Kim, Debra Rader and Mary Langford are three women who share an understanding of transition and mobility. All three are living and working outside of the country where they were born. Kyung Hee, Debra and Mary all understand the effects of transition and mobility on children: Kyung Hee and her two children moved from South Korea to America; Mary first moved internationally at the age of two; and Debra has worked as an international school teacher and principal with hundreds of children who have moved from country to country. Kyung Hee, Debra and Mary all share a passion for education, and as trainers and authors share their passion and expertise with educators.

When Mary first heard Kyung Hee’s keynote address on the characteristics and traits of creative children at the ECIS Conference in Istanbul, she was struck by the similarities to those of Third Culture Kids, and a professional relationship and creative pairing of ideas evolved. Kyung Hee, Mary and Debra later met to share ideas which led to inspired conversations and the planning of this Institute. We now look forward to sharing our knowledge and expertise with like-minded colleagues who are invited to contribute their own ideas and experiences at our first Creativity and Transition Institute.


Learning Outcomes

Participants will:

  • Recognize the traits of creative individuals and how these apply to international and mobile students
  • Gain a greater understanding of international mobility and the transition experience, and how it affects all students and other members of the school community
  • Identify and understand the common characteristics of internationally mobile children and adults (TCKs, ATCKs, Global Nomads, CCKs)
  • Explore effective strategies to maximize the benefits and address the challenges of transition and international mobility, and support students, families and colleagues in our schools
  • Gain intercultural understanding and awareness, and promote the development of  intercultural skills
  • Begin to develop or enhance transition programming for their school community
  • Explore a model of transition education and develop ways to integrate it into their curriculum and the life of the school
  • Consider how technology integration and digital tools can be used to support mobile families and colleagues, and enhance transition education
  • Explore ways to value and utilize the cultural and linguistic diversity in their schools as resources


Essential Questions

  • What is creativity and what are the traits of creative individuals?
  • Who are Third Culture Kids, why are they unique and why is this important in our schools?
  • How can we help our students optimize the TCK experience?
  • How can we nurture creativity in our schools and classrooms to support TCKs and all of our students?
  • What are the stages in the process of transition and how can we support our students and their families, our colleagues and ourselves through them?
  • What is transition education and how can we implement it in our classrooms and schools?
  • How does a child’s cultural past and identity contribute to his or her creativity, and affect and enrich the classroom and the school?
  • How can we use technology effectively to support internationally mobile individuals and school communities?
  • How can we help develop effective transition programmes in our schools?


Instructional Schedule and Information

Sunday, 13 July – Welcome Reception
Monday-Friday, 14-18 July – Institute runs from 8.30-17.30
Tuesday, 15 July – An evening excursion to ‘Creative Hampstead’
Thursday, 17 July – Farewell Reception

Pre-assignments will be sent prior to the start of the Institute.

Wifi is available and participants are welcome to bring their own portable devices.


University of Bath students registered for MA in International Education:

For  information on applying the learning and experienced gained at the Creativity and Transition Institute towards MA module credits, please contact  mary@langfordiec.com.




Our Creativity and Transition Institute Partners


FIGTUK-Affiliate_logos1We are delighted that Families in Global Transition (FIGT) and the FIGT UK Affiliate have endorsed the Developing Creativity in International Schools: Nurturing Students in Transition Creativity and Transition Institute.

Families in Global Transition (FIGT.org) is the global leader in research and cross-cultural education and training to support the entire expat family.

FIGT offers information-packed conferences and year-round benefits through its Membership Programme and expanding educational website. Through its global network, it promotes the positive value of the international experience, and empowers the family unit and those who serve it before, during and after international transitions.

FIGT UK is the UK Affiliate of FIGT. Launched in 2012 in Oxford, FIGT UK brings all FIGT’s good work to British shores by providing support, education and research to the UK/EU global transition community.

This endorsement from FIGT and FIGT UK of the significance of this Institute demonstrates the importance of a collaborative approach in supporting Third Culture Kids and all those in transition.

Registration for the Creativity and Transition Institute is now open.

(Photographic images courtesy of London & Partners who hold the copyright)