Friday, December 7, 2012

Inspiring Conference at School of Tomorrow ...

*48-hours sticky post, scroll down for latest entry =)*

When I received the invitation to attend the School of Tomorrow Conference, to be frank, I was over the moon. Seriously HAPPY. That’s marked my first ever conference attended other than engineering stuffs or work related conference. More happier b’cos it’s about children and learning and I'm mentally prepared to absorb as much as I can for myself and hopefully benefits my readers as well =)

The 2 day conference took place at the Sunway Hotel, the first ever School of Tomorrow conference held in Kuala Lumpur. This education conference is the fourth in a series of international conferences organized by Beaconhouse to celebrate their 37th anniversary of the Beaconhouse School System. This year's theme of the conference is ‘Empowering Lifelong Learners’. All participants are mostly scholars, educators, educationists and academia from around the world. * except myself, an engineer cum blogger who is so passionate about early years learning hahaha* So, I came under 'media' title =)

The opening started at 9.00am sharp with a recitation of holy Qur’an and followed with opening speech by Mrs Nasreen M. Kasuri, the Chairperson Beaconhouse Group, welcomed all the delegates to School of Tomorrow : Empowering Lifelong Learners conference.

Opening speech..

The short speech then followed with the keynote speech from Mr Richard Gerver, a renowned inspirational speaker and author of 'Creating Tomorrow's Schools Today' delivered about ‘From Control to Empowerment’. An hour speech by Mr Gerver was indeed a very informative and inspiring one. I noticed that I didn’t jolt anything but focused on his speech. It’s actually more of a sharing based talk rather than a speech where he shared his experiences about teaching. I was so impressed on how he was so committed venturing into the education lane and once worked with Tony Blair’s government as an advisor on education policy.

Keynote speech by Mr Gerver..

30 min tea break continued with panel discussion and workshops for the evening session. The Empowering of Lifelong Learners is aimed at addressing three streams:
  • Teach, learn and inspire: innovative methods of teaching and learning
  • Early Childhood Education: yesterday, today and tomorrow
  • Building learning communities: strategies for leadership, learning and collaboration
Each stream was conducted separately at different rooms with dedicated speakers who were the experts at that particular stream. And yes, I was one of the participants in Early Childhood Education stream. I was so impressed with the speakers for Early Childhood Educations. They all are very experienced in this lane, with some of them running one of the biggest Montessori in London, author of children books and consultants as well. Their words were so inspiring. I really enjoyed their speeches and discussions and I felt like I was one of the teachers there =). But yes, indeed parents are the best teachers for our children right. *so tak salah lah I take note all the info just to sure that I practice at home and at my own so called school with my kids. Love it*

To combine all panel discussion/workshops that I've attended, I have made some simple notes as a summary for each discussion I attended. A quick reference for me in future and hope these will benefits my readers as well. Wink!

Day 1 Panel Discussion: Empowering Long Life Learners
  • Empowerment should come with leadership and skill.
  • And it should starts since early childhood.
  • This requires quality teachers and conducive classroom to support the transformation
  • Dealing with young age, as teachers we ourselves should be part of their learning process, watch and observe what they are doing closely and find out the children passion/interests.
  • Children developments are varied.
  • Assessment is important, and it should be an east way to access. Assessment and tests are 2 different things.
  • Role of parents are important to empower lifelong learners.

Day 1 Panel Discussion: ECE – Holding the world by the hand

The groundbreaker of this topic delivered by Ms Gigi, the Education and Parenting Expert from US. She noted many good ideas such as..
  • Teaching and learning, two different way in education.
  • Success teachers measured when he/she managed to handle challenging children.
  • In early year’s education, learning is more important and that is the best way of education.
  • Learning happened with a child engaged with environment, and children are more confident.

The whole discussion was so interesting. Occasionally I noted all the keywords from the speakers and at times I was so focused, I forgot to take notes *huhuhu =(*. But this really shows some of the things that has become a principal in raising my children. Some of the important keynote:
  • Significant part of being a child is during the childhood time.
  • Learning would be better through play, and this show the correlation between play and learn.
  • Teachers have to be very creative, and he/she herself needs to love play as well as learning.
  • Children are varied, some of them love exploring while the others love observing. And some love to read.
  • This shows the strength of the child and becomes the challenge for teachers in the classroom.
  • Teachers have to spend time, watching and observing what children are doing and how they are learning.
The Day 2 session started at 9.00 am as well with the recap of all activities done on previous day. That followed with panel discussion and speeches.

Day 2 Panel Discussion: ECE – Spaces in Translations – The impact of early learning environments on daily practices.

I would say that, my fave speaker is Ms Pamela Mundy. She is the Early Years and Primary Years Consultant from US. She was so genuinely passionate about children and early years learning. I’m so inspired! Some of the presentation slides I able to capture:

Children learn and play through senses and exploring. 

Creating and thinking critically. Let’s children to think during play.

Expose kids with outdoor activities. Although sometimes it could be dangerous, need to have fully monitoring.

The groundbreaker followed with panel discussion talking about the early learning environment mostly talking about classroom – a perfect places for learning and play.  Yes, I think teachers specially those at early education lane; they really need to take note about this. They can’t restrict children from exploring and trying out something new which sometimes lead to messiness. But at the end of the session/activity, they also need to teach children about discipline, cleaning up all the mess and putting back the things at the right place. *clearly noted this part for myself*

30 minutes tea break followed with the most important speeches by The Regional Director  of Beaconhouse South East Asia, Mrs Zarina Mobarak and the Guest of Honour,  Dato’ Seri Utama Dr Rais Yatim, Malaysian Minister of Information, Communication and Culture.

The Regional Director  of Beaconhouse South East Asia, Mrs Zarina Mobarak..

Guest of Honour speech..
Dato’ Seri Utama Dr Rais Yatim, Malaysian Minister of Information, Communication and Culture. 

It’s a good speech for all the delegates, as we can see the connection between the conference theme with the mission and initiatives done by the government in supporting the lifelong learners. The evening session of the day continued with many other workshops from all the three streams.  It will be a long entry if I wrote down everything here *kan tak larat nak baco*, but I would say, this conference has achieved their target to focus particularly on ways of improving the overall educational experience of children in the context of a rapidly globalizing and increasingly competitive world.

Thank you so much for this precious opportunity, *I don’t know whether I will have more chances to attend this type of conference in future*, but I’m so much grateful. Big thanks to Beaconhouse for this invitation. Really hope this entry will benefit all of us too.
CEO of Beaconhouse, Mr Kasim Kasuri during the media interview..
“Our ultimate aim is to pave the way into creating empowered life-long learners who will form a better workforce for the future”.. 

Mommynadia during the SOT conference…Wink!

Goodie bag received from the conference..

“Childhood is a dream , where EVERYTHING is possible”  - Paul Klee


amirah said...


Unknown said...

Nice one!

mommyNadia said...

yes girls, very interesting =)

intz said...

Tq for sharing,
Terbukak sikit minda i, hihi

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It might take me a while to reply, but I do read all comments received! Tq =)

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