Monday, April 11, 2011

Darwin Calling

The Darwin Convention Centre
Last week I had the opportunity to present at the ‘Quality Does Matter’ conference in Darwin. organised by the Department of Education and Training.  The topic was the environment as the third teacher, and woven through were to be elements of risk and challenge. Talk about risk and challenge! Here I was away from my comfort areas of ICT and Literacy talking to a group of teachers, with a growth mindset,  I was up for the challenge. I thought I was presenting a workshop but as it transpired, it was the Keynote I had agreed to and I found out on arrival that there would be 300 people at it! I was to be on straight after the Northern Territory’s  Minister of Education and Training, Minister Burns.
The day before the conference I met the team from Child Australia who have a similar role to the ELP team, working with teachers across Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The next day at the keynote I encouraged them all to sit in the front row and be my Whanau support. I was a long way from home and did not have my usual network of friends (my ELP team) supporting me with their encouraging faces in the front row. So the Team from Child Australia became my Whanau for the day and they told me they would be clapping and cheering loudly from the front row. Now there was clapping and there was some cheering at times when particular things I shared resonated with the group of 300, I am not sure if it was my new Whanau in the front row or from the wider audience. It was very much appreciated. I was reminded yet again of the importance of Whanau and how the early childhood community in Aotearoa New Zealand as well as further afield are just like a family.
Carol Dweck says "What children learn best from are slightly difficult takes which they have to struggle through. Knowing they can cope with difficulties is what makes children seek challenges and overcome further problems” Of course we can replace ‘child’ with ‘adult’ as learning never stops and we keep learning through the difficult and challenging tasks we set ourselves. Yes it was a risk but I am so pleased I took up the challenge
Thank you Louise and your team, Dawson and your team for making me feel so very welcome, for giving me the opportunity to share some of the work that is happening in our country.

Ka Kite

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