Our teachers and staff are at the heart of everything we do at ISN Nice. Our 'spotlight series' is designed for the ISN community to learn more about our teachers and staff, with information on their backgrounds, their teaching philosophy, and the creativity and innovation that's taking place inside their classrooms.
Please could you introduce yourself and your role at ISN?
My name is Marlo Mattioli, and I currently teach Grade 4. It is exciting to be a Primary Years Programme teacher because not only do we teach Language, Maths, Social Studies, Science, Drama and Art to support the PYP model of transdisciplinary teaching, but also coding and information technology skills. In the Changemaker sessions I teach Mindfulness, Happy Feet, Creative Movement and Team Building. Last term, I also started taking classes in Grades 3, 4 and 5 for sessions in our beautiful, new library.
Tell us more about your background
Growing up in the United States holds many fond memories for me including fishing, hiking, camping, dog mushing, and ice skating in Alaska; swimming, surfing, and biking in Hawaii; and exploring numerous state and national parks with my parents and grandparents. I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and previously worked for Crisis Intervention Services, conducting play therapy sessions for children who have experienced trauma and loss. Following this rewarding experience, I went back to school for my teaching degree. My first teaching job was at North Pole Elementary School in Alaska. I also taught English, World Cultures, and Leadership for grades 6-8 in Austin, Texas for 8 years. Schools that I taught at in France include the Institut de la Tour in Paris and ICS Côte d’Azur in Valbonne.
How would you define your approach to teaching and learning?
My approach to teaching and learning is a student-centered approach that instills a love of learning, exploring, and creativity. I aim to create a stimulating learning environment to encourage my students’ curiosity and intrinsic motivation to learn; a place where students develop their critical thinking and problem solving skills, communication skills, social skills and perseverance.
If we stepped into your classroom, what would we see?
You would see a collaborative environment which encourages questioning and the development of new ideas. You would also see children working in pairs, or small groups problem-solving together and communicating with one another.
The children participate in outdoor learning lessons as much as possible and we include many hands-on learning experiences. You would also notice that students are encouraged to learn and grow from their mistakes, and to reflect on their learning. Finally, you would see a supportive group of kind students who care about each other, their classmates, their teachers, their families, their school, their community and the environment.
How would you define the community at ISN Nice?
The students are at the centre of everything we do at ISN Nice and all of the staff members and their families have the students’ best interests in mind at all times. We are an international minded community, who work to create a warm, caring atmosphere that is stimulating, encouraging and adaptive to the varied needs of all of our amazing students. Speaking of the students, I am so proud of our vibrant, talented, and empathetic students who constantly astonish me with their resilience, perseverance, and creativity.
What is your proudest achievement?
Being a mother is the proudest achievement of my life and has profoundly impacted how I teach. I know I always wanted my children to have positive, enthusiastic teachers who truly cared about them and were unabashedly supportive of them, and I strive to be this type of teacher for all of my students.
In your field, what innovative developments have you witnessed for this next generation of students?
One innovative and exciting experience, that our two Grade 4 classes had the opportunity to participate in, was a research project with The University of Oxford. The title of the research project was Promising Practices: Curiosity and Creativity and our students were invited because the University of Oxford researchers were interested in better understanding how curiosity and creativity is encouraged and demonstrated in IB schools with a Primary Years Programme. The children used the large LEGO bricks in the Maker Space to demonstrate how they could create characters and a setting for their unit of inquiry about stories. I was so impressed with how they children spoke with such confidence and poise whilst being interviewed by the researchers from the University of Oxford at the end of the research project. The study really inspired me to think and reflect about how to best encourage creativity and curiosity when planning lessons and to use our new innovative Maker Space on a regular basis.
What inspires you?
I have been so inspired by all of the community service projects that all of our ISN Nice students have been involved in and would encourage them to continue with these projects throughout their lives. Some of my most valuable learning experiences have been volunteer projects that have included building a school in Monteverde, Costa Rica and exploring the Children’s Eternal Rainforest with local students, working with the Nature Conservancy in Péten, Guatemala and volunteering as a docent at the University of Alaska Museum of the North to teach children about Alaskan Native Cultures, the aurora borealis and the flora and fauna of Alaska. If any of our students need help finding an experiential community service project that they are passionate about, I would be happy to help brainstorm ideas and help them get started.