In August I was invited to the Banff Centre, to mingle with about 450 teachers for 3 1/2 days, as they explored and developed a variety of education-related issues and ideas. They had asked me to speak mid-way through the session, and in light of the feedback, I want to share my thoughts with you. You can find them here.
The ATA’s Summer Conference is unusual, if not unique. The body that represents both the professional and economic interests of most teachers in Alberta brings together about 450 of its leaders and likely future leaders, for four days in a beautiful and stimulating atmosphere. A variety of ‘streams’ (political leadership, economic interests, practice and curriculum, future teacher leaders) explore and develop insights into and possible ways forward for a variety of issues. Outside of formal sessions participants interact across streams. Two or three times during the four days, plenary sessions bring everyone together for some common exploration.
The positive results include:
- an extensive common understanding of issues, directions, and goals;
- a better and broader understanding of the research evidence that supports certain positions and initiatives;
- a wider base of people who can communicate effectively to the broader membership; and,
- enhanced skills for deliberation, including conversations about contested matters.
I always enjoy my time with the A.T.A., especially in Banff. I’m certainly glad that a number of them found my comments provocative — in a helpful way. (To read the entire presentation, click here.)