Modelling change…

It was interesting to be part of a gathering of 1800 IB educators at the recent IB Global Conference.  The program included entertaining and thought-provoking speakers and sessions, yet I found myself wondering…

Since the theme of the conference was ‘Shaping the Future of Education’, why did it feel so similar to previous conferences? Why did the conference itself not model a different approach to learning?

What if the conference structure broke some of the traditional moulds of schooling?

What if the conference organisers modelled the kind of risk-taking and innovation we aspire to foster in our schools?

What if authentic educational challenges were posed (or identified by participants) and groups collaborated on designing potential solutions?

What if there was more exposure to the ground breaking experimentation and reform in innovative school contexts around the world?

What if more sessions had participants constructing meaning collaboratively, rather than listening passively?

What if more sessions involved opportunities for cross program, cross-disciplinary interaction and collaboration?

What if there were more un-conference sessions where participants raised pertinent issues for discussion?

What if the collective wisdom and experience  were drawn upon in sessions, so that everyone could be both teacher and learner?

What if participants were invited to put forward their ideas, challenges, successes, passions and wonderings in advance, and the conference was built around the needs of the learners?

What if ‘IB update’ sessions were presented in a ‘flipped classroom’ model, where information was disseminated in advance and the session time was used for engagement with the content?

What if, instead of announcing the proposed enhancements to the PYP program, participants were invited to engage with the proposals, give feedback and suggest improvements?

What if there were opportunities to apply the learning creatively in some active hands-on sessions?

What if time was allotted for reflection and ‘feed-forward’ on both the content and process of learning?

And finally… why has so little changed since I wrote this post?

7 thoughts on “Modelling change…

  1. Great observation and questions. Fully with you on the last question – “why has so little changed?” Perhaps doing what has been done is ‘safe’ and involves less risk, I find education is risk-averse. I would also claim that teachers are by nature and nurture a compliant bunch and are happy doing as told or ‘guided’ and this does little to engender creativity. Finally feeling ‘uncomfortable’ and out of your depth is an emotion many teachers as ‘masters’ of their subject have long forgotten and are now very uncomfortable with. Best to play safe, make people feel happy and have them come back again next year.

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  2. Brilliant and somewhat disheartening. Small steps I suppose will move us forward. So I will reflect on the small steps I can take with Ed students in university.

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  3. Your post reminds me of another one of Sam Sherratt‘s recent posts where he talks about inquiry teachers needing inquiry SLTs. I agree, it would be nice to see some of the things that are suggested at a conference modelled right there and then. And here is my wondering – why do not more IB teachers (including me) question this practice publicly like you have done several times. Perhaps that would be the way to bring on change?

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  4. It sounds like an idea gathering session would have helped shape the conference for change and exposed leadees to new ways of pd at tgeir own schools.

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

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