Sue Snowball, formerly Learning and Organisational Development Manager at Coleg Gwent and now lead organiser of ColegauCymru’s international teaching and learning conference, shares insights on the development and purposes of the conference.
When I was asked in November to help organise this event, little was I aware of just how educationally broad and globally representative the line up of speakers would turn out to be.
Leaders and expert practitioners from Finland, Canada, Thailand and the Basque Country will be taking to the stage. Further international teaching and learning inspiration will be shared by educationalists from Wales who are working with partners in the USA, Namibia and Bangladesh.
Not only that, but it will be the first national conference in Wales from and for such a wide educational spectrum. It will look at teaching and learning practice and partnerships that cover the primary, secondary, further and higher education levels.
I have been involved in the planning and delivery in a minor supporting role for this annual event for over four years now due to my passion for, and my work in, teaching and learning in further education.
The content, attendance and outcomes each year have been impressive, having a direct impact on teaching, learning and assessment in further education in Wales.
For example, the Geoff Petty ‘supported experiments’ conference in 2012 saw all colleges go on to work to embed a range of creative pedagogical methodology into lessons: work that is still continuing.
So when I was asked to manage this event, I was thrilled to be able to play a part in helping to make this year’s event an equally – if not greater – success.
Thanks in part to financial support from British Council Wales and the Welsh Government, we have secured a range of international speakers who have in their own countries, been as influential and thought provoking in developing and challenging education thinking as Geoff Petty has been in the UK. They have led exciting changes which have ultimately benefited a range of learners from the primary, secondary, further and higher education sectors across the four corners of the globe. A huge sphere of influence indeed.
Held at the iconic and well placed Hilton Hotel in Cardiff for this event, we anticipate over 150 people attending. Book now: spaces are filling fast, which is fantastic news! We’ll confident you’ll come away with new ideas on diverse teaching and learning approaches and methods and how they might be used to respond to key challenges in teaching and learning in Wales at all educational levels and settings.
We have speakers and representatives from four continents: North America, Africa, Asia and Europe. There are also delegates skyping in to the conference from Australia to join the excitement.
Keynote presentations and workshop discussions will consider how:
- Finland is developing vocational skills
- Canada is improving post-16 literacy and numeracy and bridging the skills gap
- Namibia is embedding e-learning and e-twinning in higher education
- Chicago, USA is inspiring primary learners from deprived backgrounds
- the Basque Country is responding to employer needs for vocational skills in a minority language
- Bangladesh and South Wales are connecting classrooms to create global citizens.
There will be also be a lunchtime ‘Learning Fair’ to showcase what Wales and the UK is doing back here ‘at base’ in both education and work based learning. A prime opportunity to ask probing questions of the table hosts and see if the work can be broadened or developed in partnership perhaps or to network and make vital links that can help in any project to travel abroad for work or teaching. There’s no need to wait for 29 February before joining the discussion on Twitter, though. You can join in now, on #TeachWales.
As Doug Lemov from Teach Like a Champion recently blogged … “Think about it—there isn’t a problem in teaching or learning that someone somewhere hasn’t solved. We just need to find them and take some field notes.”
We look forward to welcoming you to the discussion and hearing your stories, experiences and ideas.