Thursday, 20 March 2008

National Education Conference - Elaine Foster Allen - inspirational speaker!

Chairing the Cayman Islands National Education Conference for the third year running, I have been really pleased to see how the conference has developed and improved since we started in 2005.

Each conference has been totally different in format, the first year was really a consultation exercise allowing all stakeholders of the education system to give feedback on how we should transform education - this led to the 'National Consensus for the Transformation of Education in the Cayman Islands'. The second year allowed expert input from such international visionary speakers as Professor Stephen Heppell, Prakash Nair and Robert Gregory.
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This year we were most fortunate to have Elaine Foster Allen as a really inspiring key note speaker focusing on 'Teaching for Excellence'. Currently Principal of Shortwood Teachers College in Jamaica, she also has considerable experience in the UK, as teacher, Headteacher and also as one of her Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools. She directed her address to every one of our educators no matter where they came from and really got everyone involved in her thoughts - she spoke, she sang, she danced, she encouraged, she challenged, she scolded low expectations and results, she pulled no punches, she praised high expectations..... Elaine was the first of our key note speakers ever to get a full standing ovation from the 700 people present.
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Having spent several days with Elaine, and having had a number of really excellent professional discussions with her I just know that students emerging from her college will have been challenged to face 21st century learning. They are fortunate to have her inspirational leadership - I just hope that her students join schools where they are allowed to work with students to face the global needs of the 21st century.
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Anyone who has the opportunity to hear Elaine speak - I encourage them to do so - she is a just a great lady!

My last appearance as Chair of the Cayman Islands National Education Conference

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