Friday, November 16, 2012

Reflections from the BCSSA Educational Leadership Conference Fall 2012

This week I had the opportunity to join a team from the Delta School District who were a part of 1200 attendees from across the province at the 2012 BCSSA Fall Conference: Partnerships for Personalization: Leading and Transforming Together.  The conference featured some of the lead thinkers in global education including keynote speakers, Ben Levin, Daniel Wilson, Andreas Schliecher, and David Hargreaves. There were also several excellent concurrent sessions from some leading BC educators who are forging ahead with personalized and inquiry-based learning. I look forward to some deeper inquiry into some of these projects in the days and weeks ahead.

I can't help but feel that this is an exciting time to be in education. From around the globe and across our own province, we are learning of promising instructional practices and innovative education design that is challenging our established beliefs and traditional models. Over the last two days, one can see that change is happening and feel that the momentum is growing about the necessity for change. Digital technology and social media has provided a platform for an emerging culture of sharing and collaboration. And as time passes, we are increasing our understanding and appreciation for the skills and competencies that our students will need for a world that is very different than the one that we graduated into only a short time ago. We're also discovering that we (and our students) have a voice, and that our ideas can be both a challenge and an inspiration to others.

And although there are some tremendous obstacles in terms of managing change,  looking down the road, we can look forward to the day when we will look back with great satisfaction ... knowing that we spent a career engaged in important and meaningful work.

As a student, my teachers were a tremendous inspiration to me. Their example influenced my decision to become a teacher. This was a source of pride for me and my family. Teaching gave me the opportunity to give something back and make a difference in the lives of my students. I recall looking at the vocations of my peers and proudly (but privately) thinking that as a teacher, I didn't have to sell things to people that they didn't need.

Somewhere along the way I started to notice that some of my thinking no longer held true. Perhaps it never was. Through conversations, observations, reading, and some compelling data, we are learning that many of the structures and conventions that we are used to, are no longer relevant and unintentionally damaging.  And while some practice should/must endure, there is growing agreement and learning about a number of emerging practices that should replace old.

I want to keep that feeling that I had as a beginning teacher, that the work matters and that I am expending my energy in ways that are meaningful and relevant to students now and in their future.

I feel that way tonight.

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