Scottish Learning Festival 2009



Another really great SLF. It felt  really strange just walking around meeting people and enjoying the event without having any responsibilities.

I ended up spending a lot of time catching-up with old friends and former colleagues and for a change was not dashing off to chair a session or attend a launch.

Apart from the very important social and networking dimension of the event, it was a really good opportunity to find out what was new in the world of education and to be inspired.

It is always hard to pick out highlights but I enjoyed:

  • Prof Carol Dweck’s keynote – I think her research on growth mindset and fixed mindset is really important.  I was sitting on the balcony in the Clyde auditorium and the teachers sitting beside me all thought her message on how to use praise would change the way they work with children. I have posted in the past about Carol’s 2006 book Mindset and would recommend it to every parent and teacher.
  • Frank Dick’s keynote was a contrast in style to Carol Dweck’s. His background is in athletics coaching rather than academia but his messages for parents and teachers is equally important. He defines winning as ‘being better today than you were yesterday – everyday’. He takes the concept of the personal best and climbing what he calls ‘your own mountain not somebody else’s mountain from the world of sport and applies it to life in general.  ‘You are the best in the world at being you try to be better at it’. I also like his notion that sports coaches have 20-20 double vision – working simultaneously on today’s milestone and tomorrow’s dream. There is a close link for me to Curriculum for Excellence –  teachers should not only be planning  forward but also planning backwards from where we want every young person to be by the time they leave school.
  • Andreas Schleicher of OECD provides for me a really important perspective on Scottish education. His key message for me is that it is not enough for an education system to improve if others are improving faster. We really do live in a global economy and demand for jobs that are low skill, routine manual is declining. The future workforce needs to be able to compete for jobs which are non-routine analytical and interactive. The industrial model of schooling still prevails today. School as a sorting device is no longer fit for purpose in the 21st Century. It is no longer sufficient to remember what we have been taught we need to be able to apply, interpret, contextualise and extrapolate knowledge.
  • SLF LiveLTS pulled together a number of feeds from attendees who were blogging, tweeting and posting pics to Flickr. I managed to post a few tweets @laurieod and it was great way of keeping up with what was going on around the festival.

I am not involved in SLF10 but already have the dates in my diary. SLF is now without doubt the unmissable event in the Scottish education calendar.

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