Teaching Assistants Symposium (In-person Event)
Harrow International School, Shanghai
Saturday and Sunday, May 25-26, 2024
Theme: “Collaborative Partnerships: Empowering Teaching Assistants for Enhanced Educational Engagement”

This in-person symposium is explicitly crafted for teaching and non-teaching assistants, and co-teachers. It is also relevant to teachers who work with teaching assistants or co-teachers. The purpose of this symposium is to help participants to foster skills that enable them to become collaborative partners in education to assist students in achieving their full learning potential. Hosted at Harrow International School, Shanghai, our sessions are conducted in either English or Chinese, depending on the presenters. There will be at least one English-speaking and one Chinese-speaking session on every timeslot.

Target Audience

Teaching assistants, learning support and library assistants, arts/music/PE assistants, lab technicians, child-care assistants, co-teachers, and teachers of international/bilingual schools.

In the ever-evolving landscape of education, Teaching Assistants play a role that extends beyond traditional instruction. While hard skills are undeniably crucial, we often overlook the importance of cultivating soft skills such as relationship-building, effective communication, and collaboration development. This conference theme is dedicated to recognizing and fostering the essential skills that enable Teaching Assistants to become collaborative partners in education.

We invite you to join us as we delve into the transformative power of collaboration between teaching assistants and various stakeholders with the educational ecosystem. From teachers to students, parents to academic administrators, and non-teaching support staff, this theme emphasizes the significance of nurturing synergistic relationships that create a truly inclusive and engaging learning environment.

Symposium Format

Conference Time: Saturday, 8am to 6pm. Sunday, 8am to 12pm.

Thematic Keynote Speeches

The daily symposium starts with thematic keynote speeches covering topics such as effective communication and shared planning between teachers and teaching assistants, promoting student engagement through collaborative projects, strategies for building strong home-school connections and leveraging parental involvement, and the role of academic administrators in facilitating collaboration between teaching assistants and other stakeholders.

Multiple Elective Sessions

The latter part of each day’s sessions will consist of peer presentations. Experienced teaching assistants will share their knowledge and skills that are relevant to teaching assistants across four different strands: teaching strategies, classroom management, communication & collaboration, and special needs support.

Panel Discussion

This dynamic forum is not just an event; it’s an opportunity for participants to connect with seasoned TAs and fellow attendees on a journey of shared learning and growth. Dive into designated topics crucial for teaching assistants and co-teachers, where participants will have the chance to ask questions, share their insights, and gain valuable strategies to propel their professional journey forward.

Social Function

The social function between 5 pm and 6 pm on Saturday offers a great chance to network with colleagues from different schools in a relaxed setting. Don't miss out on this valuable chance to expand your professional network and contribute to a vibrant community of educators striving for excellence.

Peer Sharing and Learning Session

Concluding the conference, this session presents an excellent opportunity for education professionals with similar job responsibilities to share resources, exchange information, and engage in discussions. It serves as a platform to broaden perspectives, share valuable knowledge, and foster regional networking among participants.

Keynote Speakers


Simon Probert

Years in China

16 years


Deputy Head, Publisher for International Magazines/Journals, Doctorate

Simon Probert is Deputy Head at Harrow Shanghai. He has been based in and around China since 2008, and alongside an interest in Chinese culture and language, has developed a strong interest in ways in which the values of international schools are reflected in the cultural contexts in which they operate. This has been the focus of his doctorate which has examined student perceptions of internationalism in international schools, as well as his professional role where he has spent time reflecting on ways how local values and culture can be integrated into the curricula and ethos of the schools he has worked in. He has published a number of papers on this, including two in the Journal of Research in International Education, and a short article in the most recent edition of International Schools Leader Magazine.

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David Shirley

Years of Experience

30 years


School Leading in Australia, China, and Hong Kong. Current Head of School at Shanghai Singapore International School.


David is an International Educator from Australia. He is a Community Builder and Dedicated Leader with a master’s degree in educational leadership and management coupled with 30 years of experience working in State, Private and International Schools. Experienced in implementing whole-school educational change, student well-being, staff development, professional learning and curriculum design and review. Experience leading schools in Australia, China, and Hong Kong. He is currently the Head of School at Shanghai Singapore International School.

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How Will I Learn?

Based on extensive research, we have developed a model for professional development that will:

  • Enable participants to enjoy a mix of content delivery methods to meet the needs of various learning styles and preferences, including but not limited to lecturers, case studies, role-plays, discussions, and video showings.
  • Challenge participants to apply knowledge and tools introduced throughout the conference to their own working context.
  • Connect participants to process content collectively and share unique experiences and perspectives in small and large groups.
  • Allow participants to review the presentations at their own convenience for 12 months after the conference to reinforce their learning.

Certificate Course & Registration Fees

A certificate of participation will be awarded.

Registration Fees

  • ACAMIS members: USD 200 per participant
  • Non-members: USD 240 per participant
  • Approved Peer Presenters: USD 120

Accommodations & Transportation

Holiday Inn Express Shanghai Jinqiao Central

Address: No. 1359, Jin Qiao Road, Pudong New Area, Shanghai, SH 200129 Mainland China

Email: reservation.jqc@jqcexpress.com

Book a reservation: 1 800 007 697

Contact Front-Desk: 86-21-50619900

Note: A free shuttle service will be provided between the hotel and the host school.

Host School

Harrow International School, Shanghai opened in August 2016, and has students from Pre-Nursery to Year 13 on its bespoke campus in the Pudong district. Students at Harrow Shanghai experience an inclusive curriculum which links to our wider family partner schools throughout Asia, as well as Harrow on the Hill in London. Higher up the school students take IGCSE and A-Levels, as part of the Cambridge programme we follow as a school. At Harrow International School Shanghai, the whole journey and experience of the School has been designed to ensure that students are taken outside of their comfort zone, and are challenged in a supportive environment to become a stronger person. Our aim is for our students to go into the wider world as leaders to make a genuinely positive difference with a strongly embedded framework of values to guide them.

Address: No. 588 Gaoxi Road, Pudong Shanghai 200137
Telephone Number: +86 21 6881 8282