The Hidden Curriculum of International Schools: Understanding the student experience & role of educators

This is the handout for the webinar presentation for the Teacher Session at KIS. It includes a list of resources mentioned in the presentation, the slide deck and additional resources.

Photo of a two way street with arrows pointing in each direction.
Photo by Marissa&Eric on Unsplash.

Core topics

  • Hidden curriculum
    What is the hidden curriculum? How does it show up in international schools?
  • Internalized racism
    How does the hidden curriculum impact students’ sense of self? What is internalized racism? In what way does it affect their relationship with their parent(s)’ language and culture?
  • Invisible diversity
    How does the hidden curriculum affect the way student diversity is perceived?
  • Role of educators
    How do educators contribute to the hidden curriculum? What can educators do to change the hidden curriculum?

Slide deck

The slide deck from the workshop is available in PDF format.

Main text

Growing Up in Transit: The Politics of Belonging at an International SchoolDanau Tanu, 2018. 

Resources in order of appearance

‘Third Culture Kids: The Return Home’.Tim Brantingham in Sandwich Parenting.

Misunderstood: The Impact of Growing Up Overseas in the 21st Century. Tanya Crossman, 2016. (See also

Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds, 3rd Edition. David Pollock, Ruth E. Van Reken and Michael Pollock, 2017.

Safe Passage: How mobility affects people & what international schools should do about it. Doug Ota, 2014.

Children At Promise: 9 principles to help kids thrive in an at risk world. Tim Stuart, 2003.

Isabelle MinTransition Catalyst Korea (TCK) Institute

Jessica Wei Huang –

The Strength of Weak Ties

Original study: The concept of weak ties was originally developed to study what type of networking is useful for job search

For well being: Investing a little time to develop weak ties with students may help them feel more ‘seen’ and help the campus feel more inclusive

For recruitment: The concept of weak ties has been widely applied to diversifying job recruitment pools

Organisation to Decolonise International Schools

ISC Research: The international school student profile – The 2021 Report

TCKs of Asia (Third Culture Stories podcast)

Association of International Educators & Leaders of Color (AIELOC)

ODIS logo
Organisation to Decolonise International Schools (ODIS)
anti-racism in international education - AIELOC Community Visioning
AIELOC Monthly Community Visioning

See a list of other relevant resources here.

Self-reflection: Being ‘seen’ (Breakout Activity)

Illustration copyright:
  • Q1. Describe a time when you felt seen by a teacher (or any adult). Why did you feel seen?
  • Q2. Describe a time when you did not feel seen by a teacher (or any adult). Why did you not feel seen?


Work in pairs. 10 minutes total.

  • Step 1: Speaker shares story (4 min)
  • Step 2: The Listener retell the Speaker’s story using ‘Active Listening’ skills (1 min)
  • Step 3: Swap roles. Repeat steps 1 & 2

Active Listening

Be neutral. Do not judge.
Be attentive (nod, etc), patient and don’t fill the silences.

Reflect back to the speaker what they said. Use their words as much as possible. Do not interpret. Do not add your opinion.