The Emerging Leaders Symposium organized by Albany Senior high school blew my mind. It's organisation was supreme, the structure was stunningly inclusive and the people were all magic.
The symposium assumed that we were all competent, that we brought with us our own strengths and that 'the answers are in the room'. The symposium was in stark contrast to traditional methods of professional development where hundreds of delegates are 'done to' by a bunch of 'experts' who very often don't work in school, let alone a classroom.
The symposium treated 'us' the way we should treat our children (assumed competence, valued our input, and developed meaningful relationships).
Efficiency doesn't work in learning, nor does bureaucracy (breaking down tasks into units). And the ELS brought this all to a head. Begone Henry Ford education!
I was a tad uneasy as a strolled through the Albany Senior High carpark. It looked like a shopping mall! But as the lift (yes they have lifts!) door opened I was greeted by the smell of freshly brewed coffee, and smiling happy people in an environment that made me want to smile too.
Proceedings started with a 'getting to know us' activity which was both nerve racking and hilarious. Within the first ten minutes, we had a fair idea where everyone was at. Throughout the two days meaningful reflection and sharing activities were created to ensure knowledge was distributed all around the room. Such strategies included the 'world cafe' and 'speed dating'. Around ten of us presented pecha kucha style presentations and all of us were given the opportunity to lead sessions and present to Karen Sewell.
Mark Osborne was on hand to tie everything together and all of the Albany Senior High staff were welcoming, gave tours of their amazing space, and ensured everyone was comfortable. Within 48 hours they had created an environment that ensured 50+ people left both knowing and respecting each other.
With no fixed agenda or direction the common theme of the conference was the importance of building relationships to create exceptional leaders of learning. I have been 'saying' those words for quite some time, but I can sincerely say that I left the ELS with a solid understanding of what that actually means, and how truly important it really really is. Incidentally if you do have these exceptional relationships the Henry ford style of education will disintegrate. And as the awe inspiring motivational Karen Sewell said,
"what's stopping you?"
Sometimes good thinks happen and sometimes bad thinks happen. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between the two.Some thinks need immediate action and some thinks may remain as thinks forever. Thinks can be angry and heated. Thinks can be joyful. Thinks should never be cold.These thinks are linked to many other wonderful thinks and I like to attribute these.These thinks do not necessary reflect those thinks of my employer.Think long, think on.