Walk the talk…

I just returned from the IBAP conference in Singapore.  The theme was ‘Unlocking the Treasure Within, focusing on the challenges and successes of educators around the world, who strive to promote broader knowledge, deeper understanding and meaningful action.’

There was a great deal about the conference that was interesting and thought provoking. Amongst the keynote speakers, stand-outs were Wade Davis, explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic with his stunning photographs of different cultures and Professor James Tooley, who talked about his research into low cost private schooling in developing countries. There were some breakout sessions that got me thinking, such as James McDonald on the challenges of educational change and Seetha Murty who described the transition from a conventional to an IB school in India, against the flow of the prevailing educational system and beliefs.

I was exposed to new ideas and I made connections.  But I have to wonder about the fact that in 2010 you can attend a conference with 800 educators and every single session involved sitting in lines facing a lecturer.  The only form of engagement with the subject matter was Q & A at the end of sessions.  There wasn’t even free wireless internet.  I couldn’t help but wonder…  if this is how educators themselves present new learning, how will education ever change?


8 thoughts on “Walk the talk…

  1. Great point, how do we expect education to change if educators aren’t engaged in their learning the way that we hope for our students to be? I would love to see more conferences that look like your comic strip.


  2. So true. So true.
    I think conferences still have a place in helping us learn … but usually in the informal sessions (in the bar?) afterwards when we chew over with friends and colleagues what we heard the speakers say. Perhaps the backchannel allows us (and those not present) to do that ‘live.’

    The question is then, how do we allow our students to do the same? Give them the chance to deconstruct and reassemble what they’ve experienced that is, not meet up in the bar of course! 😉


    1. Good point. They definitely need that opportunity to de-construct and reconstruct meaning for themselves. I know I often do this best when talking it through with others, so why shouldn’t students? How some teachers can insist on a quiet classroom, I just do not know!


  3. HI Ed,
    Yes we were at the same conference and since we came back the whole idea of different ways of being and understanding and thinking about the world has been swirling around in my head.
    As always, you start on a “thinking journey”, then you find multiple avenues and people who are thinking the same way and add to your understandings. Wade Davis really made me think about how I see the world and how limited my view is.
    Would you believe it today in the Age newspaper, (read over my morning coffee as it is holidays) there is a whole article on indigenous wisdom.
    Yes … to bring indigenous knowledge to our teaching so the children see multiple ways of relating to their world.
    I know how limited I am at the moment but my journey has just begun.
    Science through stories and dance… in other cultures… history through living people.. medicine through ancient healing . I am so looking forward to my new learning… and know how much I have to let go old mindsets, to view the world through different lenses.


  4. Yes, adults and children do learn differently, but we also share many things too. There have been times when I know for sure presenters haven’t taken any notice of Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs, when participants have been too uncomfortable for learning to take place. Effective communicators are also better at transmitting messages than ineffective ones. As an adult learner, I was recently reminded of this fact yet again.


  5. I agree and it puzzles me that we are still teaching in such a static fashion. What is more boring than having to sit a certain way, and listen to someone talk at you all day – only relieved by moments of terror when the teacher checks you for ‘understanding’?

    I want to be up on my feet,doing stuff. Why is this so hard to institute?


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