Saturday, April 30, 2011

Emerging Leaders Conference

It was wonderful to be able to attend the Emerging Leaders Conferences organised and held at Albany Senior High on Thursday and Friday last week. There were many highlights, I have reflected a little further on the format of the two days.
The structure and dialogue techniques used throughout the 2 days were incredibly engaging, far more than the many conferences I have attended that present at you. I found I left the two days sincerely knowing participants at a deeper level and now feel more inclined to continue the contact and networking due to the nature of the conversations that were encouraged. There were unconference sessions (opportunities to share and dialogue on topics on shared interest, pecha kucha technique, and what Albany Senior High terms 'Speed dating' (a way of talking one on one about the challenges, thoughts and reflections individuals had following the pecha kucha presentations. I also lost time dialoguing with many interesting and knowledgeable people from different sectors during the 'World cafe' session on effective leadership. I can see many uses for the 'World cafe' and are keen to try it out with our staff and students.
Why is it that so many conferences seem to talk at participants yet we know the brain learns best when being active participants.

Just wanted to say thanks to all the people at Albany senior for making it happen.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Future Learning Spaces - The benefits

We have been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting throughout the term to surface what are some of the added bonuses of having more open, fluid and social learning spaces. There have been many positives, however one that was not necessarily realised as being so powerful was the incidental professional learning that occurs within the space that two or three teachers reside in. The daily ongoing professional learning is becoming more apparent as the learning is so visible throughout the space. One teacher might be a support teacher in a learning session and one taking more of a lead role the bouncing off one another is wonderful to watch. Teachers are openly learning from one another as they for example watch how a shared book is introduced or observe their peers questioning. It is a powerful learning environment for not only the students but the teachers themselves.
Another positive bubbling up from working within more open and agile spaces is this notion of 'they've got my back'. Teachers say they feel more supported in the space as there is always another adult if needed. Be it an individual who needs that little extra one on one learning time or an individual you can't quite get to the bottom of a learning need, there is a community approach to inquiring into what the individuals next steps might be.
Pooling teacher strengths and talents is another positive - in a space students get the best of both worlds as they are taught be any of the two or three teachers in the learning hub in a given day.
There are some key structures and scaffolds that sit behind the design of the learning hubs to ensure their success. More about that next time.