I was so fortunate to spend three days this July attending the International Centre for Innovation in Education (ICIE) Conference in Paris. At this conference, a range of speakers from across the globe addressed the topics of creativity, innovation, and excellence in education.
Through the readings, lectures, and conversations shared with other participants, I was able to deeply consider the evolving role of an educator in the 21st century. The world in which we live has changed vastly in recent years. While the vitally important task of educators remains the same - to instruct and mentor students in order to help them develop into engaged, productive, educated citizens of our world - the means of doing so must adapt to meet the demands of our changing world. Skills crucial to success in the 21st century include critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, creativity, and use of technology. Teachers must create opportunities for students to practice and develop these skills. I am better prepared to do so after attending talks on what these skills are and how to foster and assess them in order to move students from potential to realized talent.
Paris also served as a classroom as I explored this vibrant, beautiful city for the first time. I spent every free moment perusing the Louvre, climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and Sacré-Cœur, wandering along the Seine, and exploring historic neighborhoods. I arrived speaking very little French and often felt pushed outside of my comfort zone. I recalled that students studying new concepts can feel as though they've entered foreign territory, and it served as a reminder to always approach these situations with patience and kindness.
Finally, the conference allowed me to visit with former SSSAS teacher turned Dublin literacy consultant, Mollie Cura. Mollie spoke at the conference about conducting Writing Workshop using an inquiry-based model. It was wonderful to reconnect and share ideas with another Saint overseas.
I am incredibly grateful for the Holden Summer Study Grant that made this thought-provoking and unforgettable trip possible. I look forward to sharing what I've learned with my students and fellow teachers this fall.
|Former SSSAS teacher Mollie Cura and I|
|Sunset over the Seine on the Pont des Arts|
|View from the Notre Dame towers|
|Notre Dame Cathedral|
|Eiffel Tower light display|