SUCCESSFUL FIRST EVER TEACHING & LEARNING CONFERENCE

The Education Directorate yesterday, Wednesday 8 May 2019, held their first ever Teaching & Learning Conference at Prince Andrew School (PAS).

A large crowd gathered in the PAS foyer for the start of the conference at 8.45am. All were asked to take a seat in the Main Hall where Teacher Training Advisor, Garry Cameron, welcomed guests and gave updates on the programme and structure of the conference. Garry then congratulated Wendy Benjamin who was recently appointed as the new Director of Education before inviting her to address the audience.

Wendy said:

I am proud to stand here today and welcome you all to our very first Teaching & Learning Conference. Teaching and learning is very much a part of our daily lives and very often we forget the extent to which we are continuously involved in this process. No matter who we are or what we do, teaching and learning has played, and will continue to play, a vital role in our lives.

The Director's words were echoed by the Chairman of the Education Committee, Councillor Christine Scipio, who said:

To make teaching and learning a success, we must all work together with the same destination in mind � a community that values education and an education system that allows everyone to achieve their full potential.

Garry then took the mic again as the day's first Keynote Speaker where he spoke about the theme of the conference � 'Unlocking Potential Through Learning Today'. He spoke about ways to unlock potential, how this can be achieved, and explored a range of approaches and possibilities to translate words into action. He stressed that the focus of the day was, as always, the children and young people of St Helena.

The crowd then split for the day's first Learning Session, where participants attended the first of their three chosen workshops. Workshops, eleven in total, focussed on different teaching and learning techniques from a wide range of facilitators including teachers, teacher trainees, health professionals, police officers, Safeguarding staff, and the Saint Helena National Trust. All the sessions included interactive activities and looked at the various strategies in place to support children and young people achieve their potential whether academic or vocational.

The second Keynote Speaker saw Head of Inclusion, Lolly Young, speak about the importance of inclusion. She shared success stories of young people achieving and attaining despite experiencing difficult circumstances in their lives. Lolly highlighted stories of young people who had been reintegrated successfully back into mainstream schooling. She praised the multi-agency work that has taken place and spoke about the importance of working together with parents and the community to support young people with learning and life.

The afternoon session gave parents the chance to share their perspective on supporting children and young people to unlock their true potential. This was later followed by an opportunity to hear from some of the Island's schoolchildren on why schools exist and what their best school would be like. Student Council President, Isaac Greentree, shared a learner perspective on learning today and thoughts from PAS students on the type of school they would like that would help to unlock their potential. Isaac praised the work of teachers and other professionals for the opportunities they provided for young people on St Helena.

Closing remarks were given by the Director of Education following the day's events.

The conference then took time to celebrate the success of staff within the Education Directorate during an award presentation.

There were performances throughout the day from the Island's three Primary Schools who displayed their creative talents and even involved members of the audience in a dance they had learned called 'The Flying Scotsman'.

A 'Graffiti Wall' set up in the Main Hall gave those attending the conference a chance to comment and feedback on what they thought of the day's events and will help with the planning of the next Teaching & Learning Conference.

One participant commented:

This has been a great day with lots on offer. I would like to have attended at least six learning sessions and think the conference should have been spread over two days as there was so much interesting content. It was a busy day with lots to do and see.

Reflecting on the day, Wendy said:

I felt that the day was a resounding success and I have received much positive feedback. We were spoilt for choice in the various sessions that we could choose from. It was really nice to have presenters from different directorates supporting Education and promoting the importance of teaching and learning. It just goes to show what can be achieved if we work together. A huge well done to Garry and his team!

Source: St Helena Government

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