The DSC National Conference—Sparkled with Brilliance
I have been fortunate over my career to attend numerous conferences but I have to say that the DSC National Conference, Innovation in Education, was truly one of the best for me! The collegiality, the time to collaborate with and learn from other educators, the uniqueness of the sessions, along with the commitment to grapple with what matters in education were some of the brilliant reasons I left the conference energized.
Along with attending conferences, I have heard my share of keynote speakers. I had given up on being dazzled in an authentic way by the keynote speakers' commitment and attention to the educational community and current issues. Well, I have to say that I was completely surprised and impacted the keynote provided by Tim Shriver.
Yes, that Tim Shriver of the Kennedy clan. Also, he is the CEO of the Special Olympics and Chairman of the CASEL Board of Directors. With a doctorate in education, one of Tim Shriver’s descriptions of himself in his twitter bio line is “teacher at heart."
This stance as educator was evident in his keynote speech.
Below are some of the Tim’s words that resonated with me:
- Implications to development of the students: Consider the behavioral, social, emotional, and academic aspects of teaching and learning.
- We need to ask the question to the country: What matters? We, as educators, are not in the big discussion about defining what matters in education. The question is then: How do we, as educators, have that voice and truly engage with the country in what matters in education?
- In order to discuss what matters, we need to engage in changing behaviors and changing attitudes. It is risky and hard to actually change.
- Most people don't understand the complexity of social, emotional, and academic change.
- We need to consider that we are confronting a generation of students who don't have dreams.
- The best way to prevent bad is to promote good. Prevention is coordinated developmentally appropriate strategy integration of social emotional learning (SEL) curriculums.
- Implementation of SEL skills needs to be rigorous, research-tested, and make a case that this is education. SEL is real. School reform should focus on SEL learning.
- A cultural problem needs a cultural solution. Currently we are in a culture of: blame, pressure, narrowly defined accountability, empowerment, and crisis-level resources.
- Can the Common Core State Standards help? There is an opening. Standards have to promote change—change in which the learner is responsible for learning—toward the construction of knowledge.
My colleague Peter talks about the intentional planning of lessons that sparkle with brilliance to engage the learner in the think and construction of learning. I have to say that the intentional engagement of the learning at the conference sparkled with brilliance for me as I engaged in thinking about and pondering the educational issues before me as I plan to embark on another school year.
If you attended the DSC National Conference, what part “sparkled with brilliance” for you?
Gina Zugelder is a National Education Consultant for Developmental Studies Center