I was lucky enough to attend this Australian Council for Educational Leaders Conference in Sydney last week with several colleagues from my school, and also met up with a bunch of Teacher Librarians from other Sydney schools. It was a most stimulating event with a few items seeming to resonate from multiple voices amongst presenters.
Perhaps the highlight was the much anticipated dual presentation from Andy Hargreaves and Michael Fullen. I think Andy hit the nail on the head when he noted having heard Kevin Rudd the day before pledge a Rudd Government to an agenda of improved literacy as a priority. Now literacy is of course A GOOD THING, but Hargreaves points out that Australia is second only to Finland in literacy, according to latest OECD Pisa results. So why is it that this is always the cry of the politicians and the media?
What is it that any Australian Government should be making a priority in education? My answer would be science (we do fairly well in scientific literacy in Pisa as well, but this doesn't transfer to science graduates), or perhaps technology infrastructure for schools, but presumably these would take a little more work to sell. What would be your educational priority?
Other high points for me included the presentations of Michael Furdyk - an inspiring keynote from a 25 year old Canadian entrepreneur; Peter Senge via video link from Boston; Heidi Hayes Jacobs from the US on curriculum mapping; Andrew Fraser from Parramatta Diocese on innovation in schools; and TLs Di Laycock and Linda Gibson Langford on teacher collaboration and online community building, particularly with reference to their coordination of CAR-TL for ASLA NSW.
To view many of the presentations go to the ACEL 2007 Conference Website.