FISA BC Anniversary Convention 2016

FISA BC Anniversary Convention 2016

February 18, 2016
By
Sarah McLeod

FISA Conference 2016 Summary 
Leading Forward – Learning Together
 
As we lean toward the implementation of the BC Education Plan the message that was made clear throughout the presentations at the FISA conference in Vancouver on February 4th and 5th was that a growth mindset is imperative.  The diverse backgrounds of the speakers at the conference brought a variety of perspectives expressing the importance of embracing global educational change.  The staff at St. Margaret’s was so fortunate to attend and we are poised to work as a community of learners. Together, we will embrace what we know is best practice based on research and on our wealth of experience.
 
“Put your helmet on…”
 
Daniel Pink described three important qualities to persuade others to follow. The keys were:  perspective, buoyancy (for there will be an ocean of rejection) and clarity (separating the signal from the noise). Pink emphasized giving the ‘why’ behind the change and celebrating the small ‘wins’. Why is this important? Traditional schooling is what communities know but this model is not effective due to the speed at which our world is changing.
 
Yong Zhao stressed celebrating diversity.  He mentioned the importance of being entrepreneurial, creative, unique and willing to learn from others. He stressed enhancing our student’s strengths but also allow them to fail and fail early on. This develops what researchers have coined as ‘grit’.
Alan November reiterated John Dewey’s belief that “education is not preparation for life; education is life itself”. His Digital Learning Farm model discussed allows students to operate as tutorial designers, scribes, researchers and global communicators and collaborators. It is a learner-centred approach that will allow students to take ownership of their learning.
 
Amy Burvall celebrated daily creativity. She shared a wealth of strategies and interdisciplinary ideas. It is this ability to think creatively and critically that will enabled students to embrace uncertainty.  We are preparing students for jobs that we don’t even know exist yet.
 
“Our spaceship knows which way to go…”
 
Educators and FISA graduates spoke of the importance of supporting risk-taking, sharing, connecting, supporting strong connections, providing an interdisciplinary approach yet still realizing the importance of building a strong foundation of skills. Minister of Education, Mike Bernier reiterated these messages and stressed the importance of BC educators to be engaged, connected and collaborating.
 
“Now it’s time to leave the capsule if you dare…”
 
Charles Fadel described our world as VUCA: volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.  It is important to give students the skills, knowledge, character and meta-cognition.  Technology has zoomed ahead of education and therefore we must make education relevant.
Finally,  Chris Hadfield challenged us.  He asked, ‘how do you get communities ready for change?”. He responded that it all starts with education. He emphasized that we  try to change just one thing a day, embrace genius everywhere and bring out the best in the people around you.  He stressed the importance of providing ‘enabling education’ for it is learning that builds capacity. Hadfield challenged us to ask ourselves, ‘what don’t I know about?” and seek answers.
 
The conference was a wonderful opportunity to connect and collaborate with colleagues, it provided exposure to a variety of perspectives on embracing educational change and  21st learning and  it emphasized on the important role FISA has as a leader in educational change in British Columbia.
 
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to attend! Thank you to Cathy Thornicroft, our SMS head and to Darlene Demerchant, our Director of Curriculum,  for organizing the whole staff to attend as it was a wonderful segue to rich and powerful conversations which will bring a community together to collaborate and connect. As Chris Hadfield said, “commonalities of our communities are the same, genius is everywhere and the opposite of fear is education”. The conference gave us the opportunity to begin conversations with those we may not have had the opportunity to connect with. It provided us with the time to have thought provoking discussions with other educators and it solidified that learning builds capacity.
 
“Commencing countdown, engines on”!
 
 
Written By: Sarah McLeod
BA, B Ed, Diploma in Library Education, M Ed
Teacher Librarian & Literacy Leader
St. Margaret’s School
Confident girls. Inspiring women.