Summerhill International College attended Cambridge International Conference
Mrs Locker and Mrs Chetty attended the Cambridge International teacher’s Conference this year and the theme was “Creating the conditions for Success”. We had the opportunity to be part of, and engage with, an international group of motivated and engaged educators from over 40 different countries around the world. We also felt a strong sense of community amongst fellow Cambridge International leaders and we benefited from sharing ideas and debating solutions to common challenges. In March 2019 Summerhill International College attended Cambridge International Conference in Cape Town.
A strong emphasis was placed on the well-being of both students and teachers and to ensure an optimally successful and receptive environment is created and nurtured. We discussed and debated methods that we can use to recognise poor mental health in both learners and teachers and how to go about making our classrooms, and approaches to teaching and learning, suited to all students.
We attended invaluable Keynote addresses:
- Valerie Hannon, an expert advisor on education to the OECD explored ‘What will success mean in our changing world’. Valerie presented a very thought-provoking address by suggesting that, given the literal unprecedented changes facing our species and our planet, we need to ask if our ideas about “success” should change.
- Professor Amanda Kirby, GP, experienced researcher and clinician spoke about ‘Identifying and supporting diverse talents in all – a whole school approach’. One in eight students are neuro-diverse. If schools are to provide support to all and recognise talent, teaching needs to consider how to identify and support these students.
- Professor Jonathan Glazzard, Professor of Teacher Education at the Carnegie School of Education presented a ‘Whole school approach to mental health’. The core message was that a mentally healthy teacher builds mentally healthy students and creates environments that promote this. He also gave very frightening statistics on how poor mental health of teachers affects the manner in which they perform their day to day tasks and how school leaders are pivotal to creating a positive culture at their schools to ensure the community thrives.
- Amy Burke (Educational Consultant) and Kevin Hawkins (Senior Trainer for the Mindfulness Schools Project) spoke about ‘Shifting the focus: finding the balance in teaching and learning’. Against the background of rising depression and anxiety amongst young people, many educational organisations are considering how best to promote positive mental health and well-being. Some schools have begun to explore how combining academic, social and emotional learning into a more coherent framework can build healthier school environments. If we want to help our children develop the skills they will need to lead a more fruitful and balanced life, it is crucial that the adults in their lives know how to cultivate and model these skills effectively.
Cambridge International School Conference
The conference provided us with a great opportunity to network with leaders from other Cambridge International schools and to share ideas on best teaching practice in the various disciplines. One of the breakout sessions that we attended helped us to understand how universities in South Africa and other countries view and recognise Cambridge qualifications. It is reassuring to note that we are definitely on the right track in offering the Cambridge syllabus and qualifications. That is why in March 2019 Summerhill International College attended Cambridge International Conference in Cape Town.
The conference reinforced the realisation that we are indeed preparing our students to be world ready with the curriculum that we offer. We returned to Summerhill brimming with new ideas and a confirmed sense of purpose.