The learning must go on: How ISD turned the pandemic into an opportunity

The learning must go on: How ISD turned the pandemic into an opportunity


What does learning during lockdown look like in a school renowned for its future-oriented thinking? And how does the motto “No fitting in required” translate into school life for students and their families? Frank Tschan, the director of the International School of Düssldorf, explains. 

At ISD, technology was already an integral part of the learning experience well before COVID-19 arrived. One of the school’s most important goals is for every student to be a responsible, global digital citizen who can safely and confidently navigate online spaces, and use digital tools to enhance their own learning. 

Thanks to this existing digital learning infrastructure, ISD’s teaching teams were able to immediately implement a versatile remote-learning programme across all grades. Families, too, played a significant role, supporting their children to negotiate this uniquely challenging experience. Together, the entire learning community was able to approach the challenges presented by COVID-19 with creativity and resolve.  

Technology was integral to the learning experience at ISD well before COVID-19 arrived.

Enriching learning with technology

For example, virtual workshops with visiting artists enriched visual and performing arts programmes; the school’s physical education and outdoor learning classes were able to move seamlessly to gardens, balconies and living rooms, while kitchens and bathrooms became the new science labs. 

The majority of after-school activities were able to continue in the virtual domain, while student athletes were supported as they switched to individual training regimes; student progress conferences transitioned smoothly to an efficient online model; and community engagement continued, with online workshops, fireside chats, and individual and family challenges. 

In short, school and community life continued to thrive, despite the unprecedented challenges, and not a minute of learning time was lost.  

Flexible learning in an ever-changing world

However, COVID-19 wasn’t all that the past 12 months have thrown our way: natural disasters, and a widespread demand for social change have reminded us that the world our children will inherit, and the opportunities and challenges they will encounter, will not always be easy to predict.  

Amidst such volatility, the value and relevance of an international education - one that promotes kindness, positive leadership and a love of learning - cannot be overstated.  

At ISD, there is no ‘one size fits all’. The school welcomes students with different interests, talents, and abilities, and supports each and every one of them to become the very best version of themselves they can be. This is reflected in the motto “No fitting in required”. 

Flexibility is therefore a hallmark of learning at ISD, where learning environments are adaptable and dynamic; where interdisciplinary units allow students to develop creative solutions outside the bounds of a single subject; where supplementary “elective” courses provide opportunities for students to forge their own path, and where Additional Learning Opportunities (ALOs) allow students the freedom to be curious, and to discover connections between their passions and their talents. 

Crucial to this flexibility is the school’s talented teaching staff. Recruited from around the globe (currently over 35 nationalities are represented) they bring an abundance of knowledge and experience, as well as a wealth of diversity to classrooms. Working collaboratively, they provide a challenging and supportive environment for all students. 

For many parents and students, ISD becomes a home away from home.

Community at ISD

Families are another key partner in the learning journey. At ISD, parents enjoy ample opportunity to engage in school life, as well as ready access to their children’s teachers, support staff and leadership. Such broad community engagement exposes ISD students to different expertise and more varied learning opportunities and is an important part of what makes learning at the school rich and authentic. 

In fact, the idea of the “ISD family” is a defining feature of ISD culture. As an international community, they place great emphasis on inclusion. New students, and their families, are warmly welcomed and carefully supported to integrate quickly into the school community.  

For parents, there are a myriad of opportunities to become involved through community enrichment and volunteer programmes. For many, ISD becomes a home away from home, where lifelong friendships are forged. 

Future-proof education

This, in a nutshell, is ISD: a school committed to providing an education that is relevant, today and tomorrow; an education that sees students flourish and inspires them to make a positive difference in their world.  

This is what makes this school, and its community, unique. 

If you’d like to find out more, visit the ISD website, enquire online, or contact the admissions team. They look forward to hearing from you.



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