I love attending Educon! It’s exciting, inspirational, reassuring, challenging, fun, and much more. The conversations (both organized and informal) open up so many possibilities. Many of these possibilities are all the more realistic because the Science Leadership Academy not only talks the talk, but also walks the walk. The proof is evident throughout the conference.
The conversations at Educon push my thinking. Engagement and empowerment are words that often come up at Educon. However, Bill Ferriter challenged us to think about these words a bit deeper. ”Should we be engaging or empowering learners?” Once I thought about this a bit, I felt a pang of guilt, because my work lately has focused on student engagement, but clearly much of what I’m drawn to at SLA revolves around student empowerment. In a Conversation on student engagement, Gary Aungst brought up Logan LaPlante, the 13-year old whose TED talk, Hackschooling Makes Me Happy, is perhaps the epitome of student empowerment.
And yet……the question still looms: What do I do Monday? How do I take these ideas, or pieces of them, back home and APPLY them? Student empowerment and Hackschooling are exciting to think about, but how do they fit into a “regular” public school? How can we reconcile Educon ideas with federal, state, and local restrictions, with unmotivated students (we don’t have the luxury of an application process), and colleagues who have different philosophies on teaching?
This year I was lucky enough to attend Educon with several other teachers from my school. While it is always informative and inspirational to talk to people from other schools, it was incredibly powerful to be having those “Educon” conversations with my own colleagues. I am hopeful that we can take this Educon energy and translate it into some substantive changes in our school and have some real answers for “What do I do on Monday?”
“What Do I Do Monday” is the title of a book by John Holt (Dutton, 1970, Heinemann, 1995)