Education leaders would do well to remember Professor Michael Fullan’s sage advice in his updated foreword to BES School Leadership and Student Outcomes: “School leaders need to be proactive leaders of teacher learning as the latter affects student learning… effective school leaders do not just work on vision, acquire resources and manage the school; in addition they mobilize the group to get results… making progress is especially critical for the main goal of education; that is ‘to raise the bar and close the achievement gap’ for all students.” 

The upcoming Education Leaders Forum (ELF) – held in August in Rotorua – will focus, among other things, on how leaders can “mobilise the group to get results”.

Over the course of two days, an impressive line-up of speakers – including overseas experts, top researchers, education consultants, principals, and government officials – will spark debate and discussion on a diverse range of topics, from growing brains, to mobilising knowledge, to embracing disruption and fostering innovation.

Professor Toby Greany (pictured left) – who is Professor of Leadership and Innovation at the Institute of Education, University College London and Director of the London Centre for Leadership in Learning – will kick things off with a discussion around the impact of networks and collaboration. In conversation with University of Canterbury’s Dr Annelies Kamp, Greany will look at how to effectively align education policy, practice and evidence to develop great teaching.

And on the subject of great teaching, delegates will be treated to the insights of Massey University’s Associate Professor Roberta (Bobbie) Hunter of the famed “Bobbie Maths”. She will share why and how collaborative and culturally responsive teaching approaches can be so effective.

Another renowned education expert will also take the podium to discuss culturally responsive practices. University of Waikato’s Professor Mere Berryman will explore what a nationwide sample of senior Māori students said is required if schools are to achieve this vision of belonging.

School leaders will be also be intrigued by what Xanthe Sulzberger, principal of McAuley High School has to say about how online learning logs have helped shifted practice and outcomes for students and also helped remove the assessment logjam for teachers.

Technology will also dominate Vaughan Rowsell’s presentation. The founder of innovative point of sale company Vend and children’s charity OMGTech! will lead a presentation on growing NZ’s future inventors by creating the tech future now. Rowsell will then be ably assisted by some young participants in a school- oriented workshop demonstration.

The innovation continues in Education Consultant Mark Treadwell’s (pictured left) sessions, which will look at how learning environments and frameworks can lead to greater learner agency. He has developed a series of resources, in consultation with numerous schools in New Zealand, Australia and Dubai, that are underpinned by the neuroscience, sociology and psychology of how the brain learns. He will share how the resulting three resources collectively contribute to the Global Curriculum Project and how schools can apply these.

Delegates will also hear from Jackie Talbot, General Manager, Secondary-Tertiary, Ministry of Education, who will lead a panel on working together for children. As she says, “…the easiest bit is describing what the problems are – the hardest bit is trying to find innovative system responses as well as individual responses for each child and family.” Discussions will focus on the question: what is starting to make a positive difference to the welfare, learning and life course progress of young people?

And that’s just a sneak peek at what’s in store at ELF18.

Convenor of ELF18, Lyall Lukey, says it is definitely a meeting worth attending for current and aspiring education leaders.

“Downstream from the current Education Summits there are impending wholesale changes to New Zealand’s education system. Learning that really counts will continue to be at the retail level, with education professionals growing brains, opening minds and developing skills one learner at a time,” says Lukey.

“Busy education leaders need time away from the urgent to focus on the important. They will return from ELF18 refreshed, inspired and equipped with research-based ideas and resources for professional development in their own learning communities.”

Education Leaders Forum 2018 will be held Weds 8 & Thurs 9 August at the Millennium Hotel, Rotorua. Register Now. Mention Education Central when registering and qualify for the Group Discount- see here.

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