Past Staff Research Projects

Our staff action research programme began in 2015. Scroll down to see the numerous and diverse projects our staff have led.

Visit our Research Home Page or our Research Blog for even more information about research at ISP!



A list of 2020 projects is coming soon! For now, head to the DIRection Research Tools website to see the most recent research projects from both staff and students! 







Assil Charara and Marianne Freire
How is the "Human Library" a catalyst for inquiry?

Read the full case study here

Emma Ward and Cyrille Lavallé

How might we create and implement a sustainable development policy which is in line with the ISP Guiding Statements?
Laura Climmer, Mariana Martini and Olesja Agafonova

What can we learn from the creation of a Gardening Club?
Anna Jeziorowska

How will the SuperGym (10 week programme) impact student progress in tested skills? 
Emily Ashley, Raj Bolla, Clodagh Ryan, Selene Lourenço

How can we best support the Paris as a Classroom programme, both logistically and pedagogically?





Jo Perkins and Agustin Zuloaga

What happens if we give ISP students free time to do self-directed learning?
2018 Research Cohort

Harvard Project Zero: Understanding for a Complex World (Conference)
Assil Charara and Marianne Freire
How is the "Human Library" a catalyst for inquiry?

Read the full case study here





Barry Cartwright and Laura Climmer
Will providing students with more opportunities to engage with science vocabulary and with resources in their mother tongue increase their conceptual understanding in science?

#embracingchange, #studentengagement

Through literature reviews and student interviews, three specific intervention strategies were tried to increase student conceptual understanding: Word walls, modified rubrics, and resources in their mother tongue. Our support for these students in the science classroom did not provide the hoped for results in their science learning, perhaps because of other larger issues at play.

Michelle Metail and Fiona Symons

How can playing with our understanding of the Reggio Emilia approach impact on our PYP classrooms?

#embracingchange, #studentengagement

In 2016 we participated in a week-long study group in Reggio Emilia, visiting schools, the recycling center, and the Loris Malaguzzi International Center.

This provoked us to inquire into how the philosophy behind learning in the Reggio Emilia schools could impact on teaching and learning in our classes.

As we reflected on our practice and students, we felt that our teaching was content driven and the pace too fast. We were inspired by the learning, environment, documentation, the creative use of resources, and the way that the outside was brought in and the inside out in the schools of Reggio Emilia.

Monica Devos

How can I improve inter-generational activities in language class?

#embracingchange, #servicelearning

The purpose of this research is to analyze and improve ISP’s inter-generational activities in French class. These programs encourage students to practice the language of the host country beyond the class, to gain confidence in communicating with the local community, to expand their socialization and to help them to integrate into their new environment.

Assil Charara, Marianne Freire and Ling Lin

How can we use ICT skills to promote a culture of service learning?

#embracingchange, #servicelearning

Our action research was to improve the ways that students can use Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) as an effective tool in promoting a culture of Service Learning at ISP. The framework for our study also allowed us to explore the acquisition of certain ICT skills to address authentic community needs and to identify effective ways to encourage student agency.

Stephine Corso and Bérénice Loiseau

How does the choice of EdTech partners impact motivation in foreign language learners?

#embracingchange, #edtech

In an era where technology is ubiquitous, it is important to consider whether or not technological innovation can impact foreign language learners. It is also important to define innovation and to examine its potential impacts in other subject areas, in school-wide pedagogical decision making, or in school strategic development. This study examines a particular type of technological innovation, artificial intelligence (AI), by comparing the conception and function of two AI tools, and measuring the impact of one of these tools on motivation.

Elise Camy-Palou, Mylène Foucher and Tuija Wallgren

How can we enhance service learning throughout the school?

#embracingchange, #servicelearning

We aspire to create a continuum of service learning throughout our three-program, soon to be three-campus school. This study is an opportunity for us to try to clarify and harmonize the terminology that we use. Words carry a meaning and we wish to avoid misconceptions and miscommunication. We have also looked at how we can better promote our service learning program at the Secondary School and help our students take action.

Elisabeth Mailhac

Could more be done to shape the Learner Profile to ISP and fully embed the ethos across the community?

#embracingchange, #socioemotionallearning

As a new member of staff in a wellbeing capacity, I felt that the Learner Profile did not have a strong presence in the school. Whilst children were emotionally articulate in their interactions, there seemed to be little common vocabulary based on a set of values to shape their daily interactions.

By collecting pupil, parent, and staff voice, I gained a clearer picture of the range of understanding and everyday use of the Learner Profile at ISP. I also looked further afield to see how other settings, both IB and non-IB, embedded their own values and ethos. I am now exploring bespoke strategies for ISP, looking to deepen the understanding and use of the Learner Profile, making it more tangible in all our interactions across the school.

Kate Grant, John Hatch and Jacquelyn Todd-Morel

How might we enhance mathematical mind-sets?

#embracingchange, #growthmindset

Our purpose was to carry out action research in order to enhance mathematical mind-sets at ISP Primary. We noticed through reading Individual Learning Programs and in conversations with teachers that students and teachers who lack confidence in mathematics struggle to learn and to teach it. We think mathematical mind-sets matter!

We initiated the project by examining our own mind-sets and followed this up with designing small tasks and interviews for students and teachers in order to gather data. We explored mathematical mind-sets through a Stanford University course, ‘Youcubed’ and the book, ‘Mathematical Mind-sets’ by Jo Boaler which became our anchor text. Engaging in low floor high ceiling mathematical tasks ourselves helped our understanding of mathematical mind-sets, mathematics itself, and the diversity of approaches to problem solving to grow.

Jonathan James

How can I develop my feedback and instruction to improve my students' use of English grammar?

#embracingchange, #actionresearch

Anyone else afraid of the G word? After ten years of running away from grammar, this teacher seeks to improve the quality of students' writing (as well as their grades) by grappling with a topic that has been a turnoff for students and teachers across the world. He finds, to his relief, that the answer lies less in 'teaching grammar' and more in drawing students' attention to how sentences work and to the effect of their linguistic choices. Through understanding the ways in which writers - including themselves - use language to achieve a given purpose, students in grades 6 and 7 have made progress in their syntax and their use of narrative tenses.

Nina Wilson-Bury and Anne Bagamery

How can we improve the visibility of ISP at local, national and international levels?

#embracingchange, #actionresearch

Registrations in ISP Plus, the weekend and holiday extension program of the International School of Paris, were not meeting expectations. We believed that this was due to a lack of awareness in the local community, and that by raising awareness, we would see an increase in registrations. After some research and training in social media marketing, we decided to compare registrations before and after using some social media marketing strategies, including creating an Instagram account, cross-promoting social media feeds, and investing in paid promotional articles on online publications aimed at our perceived target market. When the first round of data showed higher awareness (measured in views) but not engagement (measured in requests for information or registrations), we further investigated our efforts with one social media channel - Facebook - and tried new approaches, including using video and a call to action.

Lenin Solano
How can we use literary creation as an instrument to achieve interest in reading?

#embracingchange, #studentengagement

The objective of this project is twofold: first, to foster the students' interest in Spanish literature. Second, it also intends to develop their vocabulary and writing skills during the creative writing process. However, the goal is not to make students feel 'forced' to read a book simply because it is a classic. The Argentinian write Jorge Luis Borges said "if a book does not catch you, it is not made for you; you should rather leave it as there are millions of books to choose from".

The 2017 Embracing Change Research Conference

Annually, ISP researchers present their work to their colleagues and to the Parisian educational community.

Sometimes, guests come from abroad. In 2017, ISP was thrilled to welcome Professor Sugata Mitra as keynote speaker. Watch the video or read the transcript (both below) to learn what he had to say about the future of education.

Click here to open the video transcript.


Embracing Change – International School of Paris Research Conference 2017

ISP's research conference was a three-day display of how action research can be implemented in schools, highlighted by inspiring conversations and an engaging talk by professor Sugata Mitra.

"I believe the process of education goes from disorder to order."
Professor Sugata Mitra, 2017

This statement, spoken by Professor Sugata Mitra during his keynote speech at the Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine on October 27, 2017, perfectly summarizes his own views on the future of education, as well as what ISP researchers learned during their year-long participation in the Leading Edge Action-Research Program.

The third cohort of ISP's action-researchers started 2017 with a process characterized by disorder: asking big questions, or, as defined by Professor Mitra, questions that don't yet have answers. These included: Can literary creation develop imagination and critical thinking? Can technology be used to promote a culture of service learning? Is it possible to enhance mathematical mind-sets?

After months of investigation, the 11 big questions asked by the cohort developed into thoughtful and structured research projects. The projects were presented to staff, parents, students, and external partners on Thursday, October 26 and on Friday, October 27, just before Professor Mitra's keynote. The lively interactions during the two conference days not only enhanced the impact of the 11 projects, but also raised more big questions to tackle in the future.

The most important of these new questions is perhaps: "What's next?" Professor Mitra, impressed by ISP's efforts to "do something about the future", has volunteered to keep close contact with the school as an editor of its published research journal, to be launched in 2019. In January, the 2018-19 cohort will start asking their big questions, all in preparation for the next conference, to be held at the new Cortambert campus.





Jenny Feinmann and Carla Bach
How can we diversify learning support?

The current model of learning support is restricted to a few fee-paying students. We trialed alternative approaches followed by structured interviews with secondary school students, parents and teachers to discover what they found most useful. Your ideas and perspectives will be welcomed to create a more flexible system of learning support across the school.

James Chedburn
How can we use the time allocated to meetings at the secondary school at ISP in a more effective manner?

My starting point is that we have often wasted the few hours we have available for meetings each month. We therefore need to create a more efficient way of using this time.

Raj Bolla, Marie-Cyrille Lavallé, Marie Lechantre
How can we introduce an internship experience into the grade 9 curriculum?

We wanted to see if it would be possible to successfully implement a meaningful internship program in grade 9. We wanted to change the focus of grade 9 and help them to begin thinking about developing skills that would be useful for them outside of school. We also hoped that this type of program might give them some direction in terms of IB Diploma subject choices and future careers.

Fiona Symons and Emily Ashley
How can improved parental involvement impact on young children’s reading?

We noticed that there was a discrepancy in reading between those children we thought were or were not receiving parental support. This encouraged us to intervene through a parent workshop, handouts, one-to-one parent meetings and recommendations to improve reading in young children.

Assil Charara and Marianne Freire
How can we refine our teaching practices and learning environments to better address our multicultural community?

ISP is a multicultural environment where students, teachers and parents come together from various places and backgrounds. We have inquired into some of our practices and environments to explore different possibilities that could further the inclusion of all members of our community.

Zoe Tarrach
Does mindfulness have a positive impact on the learning environment?

I wanted to find a way to create a classroom environment which is more focused on learning, and which encourages students to think and engage, rather than be in the ‘free time' frame of mind. I researched extensively about yoga and mindfulness in the classroom and introduced them to one of my classes with positive results.

Barry Cartwright
How can I improve the teaching of global mindedness in the Without Walls Program?

This project focused on the teaching of global mindedness in the Without Walls program in the secondary school. Students focused on producing a product based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Following the two and a half day project, I considered ways of assessing the impact on students.

Mariana Martini and David Nightingale

How can we use student learning journals to develop deeper understanding and to provide effective feedback?

We asked grade 6 students to complete learning journals in order to understand how they were thinking about science and math topics. We discovered that asking the right questions is an essential part of effective feedback to develop students' learning strategies.

Emma Dornan, Jenny Letard and James Morrist
How can we encourage ISP secondary school students to read more?

This project is an exploration of the academic benefits of reading for pleasure. We experimented with different methods of increasing the amount of reading among ISP students and evaluated the effectiveness of these various interventions.

Tuija Wallgren
How can student connections between schools help process complex world events and how might these connections be used to enhance learning?

My action research project focused on how the student connections between schools may help process tragic events in the world, and how they may be used to enhance learning, in both sending and receiving schools. My individual professional goal is to improve my understanding of how administration can better facilitate these connections.

Action Research Conference 2016

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Anna Jeziorowska, Clodagh Ryan and Hugo Sintra

How do we improve fundamental motor skills through skill-based warm-ups?
Genevieve McHoes

Can improving feedback on formative assessments help raise overall student achievement?
Tim Logan and Jo Perkins

Can we improve academic success by adopting a language of thinking well?
Chris Brown, Jenny Letard, James Morrist and Jo Perkins

How can we improve student writing at ISP?