Monday, 3 December 2007

Planning to communicate to an international audience

Presentation planning in the office with (centre) Professor Stephen Heppell and (right) the Hon. Alden McLaughlin, Minister for Education
A stimulating day as we plan a major international presentation for the Minister to present to several dozen of the worlds Ministers of Education later next month. Whilst the focus is on working towards 21st century education, the audience's context is so varied, ranging from those countries with everything to those with nothing, not even power in many regions, that how we communicate what we want is a stimulating challenge. However, all are interested in moving towards 21st century education styles.

The interesting thing is that, if you consider what we are doing in Cayman, that is the holistic approach to total transformation, the steps we are taking (or "ingredients") could be the same world wide, although the local "recipe" will vary from country to country. Our challenge is to put it in a way that is accessible to every country, and allow them to understand the process we followed.

This is not just about building new schools - it is about putting students at the centre and creating a system to support them to develop personalised learning styles and the skills and competencies that will prepare them for the future - something rather different from traditional approaches which try to prepare students for something that is either already irrelevant or about to become so. However, we are fortunate to be able to support this move with fantastic new learning spaces which will reallly enhance the opportunities for students, staff and the wider community as we encourage and move towards life long learning opportunities.

We have learnt much in the past two years, there is much that we can share and discuss. For those about to undertake a similar process in other countries, there are many people (and countries) who can provide support in a variety of ways. The real value will be from those people who are actually doing it, gaining the experiences and learning the lessons, rather than from those who hypothosise but have not actually been involved in implementation. Trying to improve the education system of an entire country presents a whole range of unique challenges, no matter what the size of the country and is totally impossible without coordinated teamwork across a range of expertise.

The international interest in what we are doing continues to grow and it is a real privilege for the Cayman Islands to be asked to do do this presentation at such an eminent gathering. As one of the "panel" for the event it will certainly be my biggest conference to date. I look forward to it with enthusiasm!

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