Round Square RSI Research Symposium Held at Harvard GSE

Posted: 10 August 2018


On 15th and 16th June, representatives from 12 Round Square schools came together at the Harvard Graduate School of Education for our first ever Research Symposium.

Participating in the Symposium were student and Teacher Research Fellows and Ambassadors from Aiglon (Switzerland), Belgrano Day School (Argentina), Buckingham Browne & Nichols (USA), Christ’s College (New Zealand), Colegio Los Nogales (Colombia), The Doon School (India), Hotchkiss School (USA), Ivanhoe Grammar School (Australia), Latymer Upper School (UK), YK Pao (China), St Constantine’s School (Tanzania) and Transylvania College (Romania).

The Research Symposium was held as part of a two-year study into how Round Square schools guide and support the development of International Understanding in their students. Both the Round Square Discovery Framework and the OECD PISA Global Competence Framework were used in developing the constructs for the research project, which is being led by Dr Christina Hinton at Harvard Graduate School of Education, and her team at Research Schools International (RSI).

The Symposium began with a reception at the Harvard Faculty Club on the evening of 14th June, including ice-breaker activities and welcome speeches. Over the days that followed, participants spent time working with the Research Team to learn, develop and practice a range of research skills and techniques such as interviewing, labelling and coding and thematic analysis. They then applied their newfound skills in conducting interviews, capturing and reviewing data that will contribute towards the ongoing research project.

Participants were also treated to a sneak-preview of some of the early findings of the research project, on strict instructions that they are not to be shared at this stage, as they are only interim findings for now. The full study will not conclude for a 9-12 months.

Commenting on the Research Symposium, students from Colegio Los Nogales in Colombia said: “It was particularly rewarding to learn about the various activities that other schools implement to achieve multiple levels of international understanding.”

The symposium also provided the schools with their own exercise in developing international understanding, as described by the delegation from Buckingham Browne and Nichols: “Being in an environment in which we interacted constantly with people from all around the world not only sparked countless conversations about different customs, foods, school systems, the differing college application processes, but was also very educational.”

The students from Transylvania College agreed: “This Symposium provided us with a direct experience of working in the spirit of international understanding through engaging with people from diverse cultural backgrounds towards a common goal and learning useful, valuable methodology to conduct professional research analysis, and we would like to thank everyone for making this experience so enriching.”

On the final day the students worked in mixed international teams to produce six excellent research presentations which they then presented to the Research Panel and fellow participants. Participants left with their final research assignment – to apply their newfound skills to research and author a paper on one of the 12 Round Square Discoveries. The resulting papers will be published on the RS Web Site and summarised in the Schedules to the published Research report.

“The Research Skills Workshop has provided us an opportunity to improve our coding skills, while deepening our understanding of themes related to international understanding and learning how to systematize qualitative data,” said the students from Belgrano Day School. “We were surprised at what we found out about each other, beyond stereotypes and assumptions, feeling immersed in a professional environment and a research team that has globally significant, long term goals and impact. This was an opportunity to connect the dots of previous steps of the project to what is coming next, broadening our own perspectives on international understanding.”

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