Since 2011, HighScope Indonesia has organised the HighScope Indonesia Annual Conference as part of the continuous professional development of its teachers and educators. It is designed to be a platform focused on building a learning community where the teachers, principals, school management and other educators can discuss, share and reflect on their experiences and practises in the past year.
On 6-8 October 2021, HighScope Indonesia held its 11th HighScope Indonesia Annual Conference, the second year it’s been held virtually, with this year’s theme being “Highly Purposeful Life: Follow Your Passion, Discover Your Purpose”. HighScope Indonesia aimed to give inspiration and guidance to its teachers, principals and attending educators, and to encourage them to discover and develop their passion in life. This year’s theme was chosen to show that through living a highly purposeful life, teachers will prosper and improve into self-sustaining leaders motivated by their passion and focus on developing a sustainable future, which in turn will influence the students as well.
During the conference’s opening speech, Founder and CEO of HighScope Indonesia, Antarina S.F Amir, said, “As educators, it is our responsibility to support a self-made generation who uses their hearts and minds to solve the world’s problems. It is our responsibility to teach our children, our students to take action to contribute to the world community. Those are our learning goals, our long-term objectives.”
During this year’s two-day conference, HighScope Indonesia was privileged to welcome world-renowned education experts as its speakers, who shared their knowledge and experiences, opened dialogues and answered questions from the enthusiastic teachers. Day 1 of the conference saw a speech from the President of HighScope Educational Research Foundation, Dr Alejandra Barraza, PhD, before guest speaker Tony Wagner M.A.T, Ed.D, the author of Creating Innovators and The Global Achievement Gap, delivered his keynote address entitled Educating for Innovation Era. During his keynote, he spoke about 5 contradictions between the traditional methods of schooling and how teachers teach students to be creative problem-solvers, which are as follows:
- Celebrating and measuring individual achievement, when in fact, innovation thrives with collaboration. “Traditional schooling is all about celebrating, rewarding, and measuring individual achievements. Well, that’s fine, there’s a place for that. There is no innovation without an accountable team, there is no creative problem solving, without deep collaboration.”
- Compartmentalized knowledge, when in fact innovation demands interdisciplinary approaches. “There is not a single problem that can be understood, let alone solved, within the confines of an individual academic discipline.”
- Culture of compliance, where schools nurture the culture of consumption and passivity instead of encouraging curiosity. “In the world of innovation, you are required to take initiatives, to question authority, to question received wisdom, to take initiatives.”
- Focus on how many mistakes students have made, causing fear of making mistakes and failing when in fact innovation demands us to take risks, make mistakes, fail and learn from mistakes. The methodology of innovation at its heart is trial and error. “The whole idea is to measure a student's progress towards mastery over time. If they were not yet at a standard that I have defined, their work was incomplete. They have not failed.”
- How schools tend to motivate through extrinsic motivation instead of driving students’ intrinsic motivation. “The quality of grit, perseverance, tenacity, self-discipline, self-regulation, all of these things come from the pursuit of real interest, from intrinsic motivation.”
Other Day 1 guest speakers include international education consultants Bena Kalick & Alison Zmuda, Matt Renwick, Kenneth Sherman, Diana Jo Johnston & Heather L. Johnson, as well as Ulla-Maria Koivula, PhD from ThingLink (Finnish education and media technology company), and the Doyobi team (coding school for children from Singapore, powered by Google & IMDA).
On Day 2, the conference welcomed guest speaker, Yong Zhao, PhD, author of World Class Learners, who presented his keynote address entitled Learners without Borders: New Conditions of Learning and Teaching. During his talk, Dr Zhao reminded attendees that it’s all about the students. “You have to think about instructional outcomes versus educational outcomes. For example, you may force children to remember a math function, a formula, or a historical fact, but the more you force children to remember that, the more they hate the subject, the more they get disengaged from school. Why do you want to do that? You want to keep children engaged, you want to keep children curious, and you want to keep children creative.”
Regarding the current state of worldwide education, Dr Zhao said “Too much teaching is happening to our children. We force our children to learn things the way we want them to learn. We forget that they are natural-born learners. They want to explore, they want to change. As parents, as educators, you need to think about what engages your children, what matters in the long term.”
Day 2 also had several international education consultants join, including Steven Zemelman, Kirsten Haugen and Heather Fox. During the second half of Day 2, the conference featured the Learning Heroes, HighScope Indonesia teachers’ sharing session, which saw several Early Childhood Program, Elementary School, Middle School and High School teachers host sessions and shares their experiences and insights to fellow educators. The virtual conference was participated by over 500 HighScope teachers, staff and educators from various provinces.
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