Hong Kong Day 3/4 – The Conference

Day 3 & 4 were workshop/conference days. This is a pretty typical conference with a variety of workshops. Much of my takeaways are resources to spend more time learning about.

My first 5 takeaways are from Ewan McIntosh’s session on collaborative planning.

  1. Trying to plan units with teachers in short blocks of time increased the amount of planning time overall that it takes to get the work completed, by 50%. Having longer blocks 1 ½ or 2 hour blocks of time could give your teachers up to 18 hours a semester back.
    1. I agree with this completely and think that it might actually be slightly longer if other elements are needed, for example, single subject integration.
    2. We have seen this in our school with our new schedule not allowing for the long block of time to effectively plan units.
  2. I need to consider whether I say “I” or “We” when I am presenting about my work since I almost never work in isolation.
  3. Could we take a suggestion from the restaurant Wagamama in the UK, about feedback? When a waiter stops you to ask if your meal is okay they put an X on your placemat. This tells the other waiters that you have been asked so that you can eat in peace.
    1. What if we were to develop similar systems with students. Even possibly ones independent of the teacher?
    2. I have tried this in the past with red and green cups or something similar, but I realize that one of the things that I had not done before was teach my students how to work independently in the first place.
  4. Ewan introduces ideas where he wants to receive feedback from colleagues by saying “this is a 30% idea”. He has found that this tells colleagues that it is an idea still in progress and that they can openly and freely give their thoughts on it, because they don’t feel that he is attached to it yet.
  5. Instead of always frying your steak, try making tapas or something small that makes you say “Ah”.
    1. He was making the connection that while there are probably hundreds of ways to cook steak, most people buy it, take it home and fry it.
    2. Why not try something new. It might work. It might not.
    3. Also, why not try little things like the way tapas allow you to try new dishes without too much commitment because they are small.

The following takeaways are from the rest of the conference.

  1. I need to look into change leadership PD.
  2. To test parent presentations on a small group of parents first. You may find that what you think that they want to learn about and what they really want to know about don’t match!
  3. Studies show that a teacher’s personal and professional personas are the closest of any profession.
  4. Identify teacher’s fears about change so that you can address them. In addition to that identify your own fears and share them with the teachers.
  5. Add Makers and Innovators to your school’s Artists in Residence lists.
  6. Meet with your facilities team. They are a valuable but generally overlooked resource.
  7. Find out more about the OECD

Always admit to your students and parents that you do not know something sometimes and it will be fun to find out. Teachers are human just like they are and they are also always learning. They did not come out knowing everything.

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