News release - Leading Remarkable Learning Conference
1 February 2017
Global education expert Sir John Jones identifies two crucial priorities for school leaders and teachers as they head into a new year. He also has some advice for parents.
“First, schools must develop learning environments that encourage the relentless pursuit of excellence.
“Second, they must promote a culture that not only questions the status quo but also invites staff to take risks and embrace change.”
Sir John is among a leading-edge group of speakers convening in New Zealand in March for the Leading Remarkable Learning conference organised by Westmount School. His presentations are motivational in their intention. He is concerned some teachers and schools are failing to change at the rate needed.
“For decades, education has taken the option of repeating itself, comfortable in a culture of standardisation and compliance.
“The curriculum we deliver today is almost the same as it was 100 years ago so, in effect, we are trying to prepare our children for tomorrow by using a system designed for yesterday.”
At the Leading Remarkable Learning conference, Sir John will call on teachers to break free of their comfort zones and let go of traditional methods on the journey from controlled to free, self-directed learning.
“Quoting writer Thomas Friedman, ‘what we need is to develop the four qualities of creativity, ingenuity, portability and flexibility'."
Parents have a key role in enabling change, says Sir John. Drawing on the “Growth Mindset” research of Dr Carol Dweck, he urges parents and teachers to adjust their thinking on high performance.
“Some years ago, as a young teacher and parent, I thought being clever was more important than working hard; ability was fixed; being correct was good and failure was bad and; you are who you are and changing is difficult. I was comfortable with words like gifted, talented, natural and prodigy.
“How wrong I was.
“Now in my sixth decade, I have come to realise that effort and hard work should be praised more than being smart; that learning how to handle failure is a key life skill; that all of us possess that inner spark and that finding your genius is more important than being a genius.
“In the right political system, in great schools, working in new ways with brilliant teachers and supportive parents, anything is possible - for all.
“It’s called ‘learning without limits’.”
Leading Remarkable Learning has been convened by Westmount School to share the opportunity for advancing knowledge, skills and expertise in delivering learning that is available to all students.
It will present and interpret the latest research and technologies in key areas of 21st century learning:
• Self-organising learning environments
• Schools in the cloud
• Designing schools as incubators
• Developing teachers as coaches and facilitators
• Cross-curricula, cross-continent collaboration