The Leading Remarkable Learning Conference

Monday 27th March, 2017

The Leading Remarkable Learning Conference was held in Auckland and Christchurch. OneSchool’s Westmount Regional Principals Phil Muir, Jon Bowen and Hugo Vaughan give their feedback on the event. 

More than 200 teachers from Australia and New Zealand attended the Leading Remarkable Learning Conference in Auckland and Christchurch, including members of OneSchool Australia’s faculties.

The conference came about after OneSchool’s New Zealand-based Westmount School was approached Rapid Relief Team (RRT) director Daniel Steele. Daniel, who lives in the Auckland suburb of Papakura, wanted to do something to help staff and students facing challenges in schools that are struggling due to economic and social issues within the community.

The aim was to redefine and refresh views of education, and to inspire the education community for the future. The conference featured New Zealand and international experts in education leadership and innovation.

Guest speaker Sugata Mitra is a professor whose research has led to the creation of a global network of Self Organised Learning Environments (SOLEs) and a ‘School in the Cloud’, talked about how technology enables us to think and learn in a more meaningful way.

His common sense approach and thought-provoking insights into what motivates learners to be self-directed was inspirational. He told delegates of his recommendations around using devices in group activities and how best to ask big questions to unlock rich learning, great thinking and problem solving.

Then there was Mark Osborne, who is an expert in leading change management, with a special focus on learning environments. He spoke of the reasons why schools needed to be growing learners in modern learning environments, and using the learning styles that accompany these physical spaces.

Mark reminded us of the forecast for the job market and how so many current jobs would be phased out with technology over the next few years. He also stressed the importance of future-proofing our students moving into the next phase of the world of work.

Frances Valintine, an educational futurist, outlined the pressures both on the education system, and the future of jobs. One impact of changing technology was on traditional tertiary institutions, which were being challenged by online learning forums that gave learners the skills and knowledge they needed quickly and cost-effectively and are often free. This meant they would no longer need to take the risk of incurring huge debt, potentially for jobs that would not exist by the time they graduated.

European OneSchool Regional Principal, Gordon Poad, explored the importance of teachers leading with their hearts, as well as the thought of “grab an opportunity, have a go and see what the impact is”.  Gordon also stressed the importance of giving teachers time to collaborate.

Finally, we were treated to the services of a genuine knight of the realm – Sir John Jones. Sir John took us all on an emotional rollercoaster with stories and lessons from his life in education. Sir John reminded us about why we teach – and why it is an honourable and important profession. He offered simple but sound advice around selecting and developing staff, managing students, and creating schools as positive, caring, vibrant centres of communities.