Monday, February 14, 2005
The Magic of Teaching.
The 'Magic' of teaching.
I have just returned from a wonderful experience – attending the Magic of Teaching Conference held over the weekend in Ashburton.
It was a roaring success in every way. Great food, great company, great entertainment and great ideas shared both by invited speakers and local teachers. I was lucky to have been invited to present a workshop and a keynote. I am hoping that other areas will follow Ashburton lead.
It was special also because every teacher in the area was invited to attend and the number tasking advantage of the offer surprised even the organizers with over a 180 attending both days. Conferences without class teachers are only a partial answer.
All the keynote speakers focused on the power of magic of the classroom teacher. To add a touch of classroom reality two sessions of workshops shared idea from schools. These schools demonstrated in their own ways that, if teachers work together, sharing their visions, then all teachers grow in confidence.
The Conference meal and entertainment was spectacular. The committee really wanted to make the days worthwhile to those who had given up their time. Few who attended will never forget the droll but magic talent of ‘Len the Loser’!
The real magic however was the feeling, that at long last, real teachers are being seen as the focus for real educational change; not because of ‘research’ but because of common sense. The key to the future, as expressed by all keynote speakers, is to clarify ‘our’ beliefs and not to listen and meekly comply with those who appear to judge us.
Humour and the associated laughter was a feature of the weekend.
As an aside a Ministry Curriculum ‘official’ outlined the sad history of curriculum development since 1992 which has been one of trying to adapt ideas from outside of NZ. The Ministry is catching up with creative teachers at last! Now it seems we: need to clarify what is important and do less better; to focus on quality teaching; to strengthen school ownership; and develop partnership between schools, parents and the wider community.
Nothing new to those who remained true to the faith during the years of compliance, policies and clear folders!
The Ministry as well now has memorandum to talk to ERO!
Now if the Ministry could just provide directions and establish high trust conditions they could step back and let schools be the creative talent development centres they ought to be. That would indeed be magic!!!