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[22nd April 2015]

Raising a community of teachers and learners through the 2015 DEN Summer Institute
Andrew Phoenix at DENSI 2014

Raising a community of teachers and learners through the 2015 DEN Summer Institute.

While it may take a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to support teacher growth. No longer is teaching and learning about the individual educator; it’s now about building a collaborative community—a global community—to create a toolbox of strategies and a worldwide support system.

Discovery Education wants to support the village that inspires and supports thought-provoking conversations between teachers from all over the world; therefore, Discovery Education Community, founded in 2005, is hosting their annual DEN Summer Institute (DENSI).

Andrew Phoenix, Head Teacher of Hampsthwaite CE Primary School in North Yorkshire says, “We’re in shifting times in education and there’s a lot of emphasis now on schools forming their own collaborations, working as clusters, working as learning alliances and setting up their own structures […] we have to collaborate with other schools in order to stay in a position of strength in today’s UK education system.

With purposeful, thoughtful professional development, a community of like-minded educators, and some light-hearted entertainment, teachers can create this support system in order to continue learning and growing through DENSI.

Andrew was just one of the five UK teachers who attended the 2014 DENSI at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee (USA). The weeklong conference not only fostered a collaborative environment to create innovative ideas, but DENSI also provided Andrew and the other 150 attending teachers a welcoming, friendly setting to nurture relationships between schools across the world.

And because a worldwide family of teachers was born at DENSI, Andrew was able to teach global citizenship at his school. For instance, Years 5 and 6 used Animoto, an online production software, to make films about the World War II experience. Using the knowledge they gained from the unit, pupils used their summarising, analysing, and reflective skills to create powerful images to convey the significance of remembrance. These videos were then shared with the community of teachers Andrew met at DENSI and their students.

We’re not just learning about a global community but we’re being a part of a global community,” Andrew reflects.

All UK educators are welcomed to become involved in the 2015 DENSI to build a network of partnerships with other teachers.

To be considered for the all-expenses paid, weeklong professional development event in Washington, D.C. (USA), educators must share their best practices and how they transform teaching and learning in their school in a written summary and a two-minute video. Submissions are due by 29 May 2015 via

As Andrew exemplified, once an alliance of teachers is organised, they can then serve as models for their pupils, illustrating the importance of a global community. More so, the professional community will demonstrate to students that it truly does take a village to be a lifelong learner.


About Discovery Education

Discovery Education empowers teachers and captivates pupils by providing high-quality, dynamic, digital content to primary and secondary schools across the United Kingdom.

Discovery Education offers a range of services and opportunities for schools to meet the needs of students in the digital age. With award-winning digital content, interactive lessons, virtual experiences with some of Discovery's most talented presenters and contributors, classroom contests and challenges, professional development and more.

Discovery Education is a division of Discovery Communications, the number one non-fiction media company in the world, which includes the popular global television networks Discovery Channel, Science Channel and Animal Planet.

For more information about Discovery Education’s Professional Development Programme and other services and resources, visit