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Alliance preach: International Learning, not International Education… July 14, 2010

Posted by Alex, Managing Director in Uncategorized.

From our MD, just back from an inspiring conference…

Please excuse the following ramblings but I’ve just returned from Melbourne with a miserable head cold but it didn’t detract from attending an inspirational conference .. although one could have called it a show with extensive audience participation. The speakers and presenters were
outstanding, highly qualified experts in their fields.

Alliance for International Education World Conference: International Learning: Learning to be International. A world of views (http://intedalliance.org )

The major sponsors were the Asia Education Foundation, the Centre for Strategic Education and the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

For those who’ve not attended an Alliance conference, they take place over three days with keynote speakers presenting to all, and in breakout sessions each delegate remains in one of six strands; so at the end some clear crystallised summaries are made that are sufficient to formulate actions. They have taken place in Geneva, Dusseldorf, Shanghai, Istanbul and now Melbourne.

Emerging thoughts: In order to more easily embed internationalism and globalisation into the curriculum the term International Learning should replace International Education. Educators need to listen more to the students and provide as many opportunities they can for their interaction with others. Locally, nationally and globally.

East meets west, or don’t meet, bubbled to the surface and ‘Peace’ should replace ‘Tolerance’ was often quoted. It was felt there is a greater need for students to confront differences and not just try to understand them; educators should encourage more debate and more interaction.

Prof Yong Zhao from Michigan State University perceptively turned everything upside down and asked us to consider that the western approach of teaching creativity was wrong; as it has evolved we have to seek even greater creativity to solve the disasters creativity has given to the world…
history shows the Chinese in a simple technological society kept millions fed and happy.

Professor Fazai Rizvi (currently moving from U.Illanois to U.Melbourne) cleverly compared his two immigrations to Australia, once forty years ago, the other today. He demonstrated the how’s and why’s changes have happened to the flows and movement of  people around the world; how we need to focus on Global competences and the desire of parents for their children to have a more holistic education.

The musical and dance interludes were entrancing with fusions of different cultures. A student panel gave a strong argument for teachers to improve their language teaching skills. 

IB had a strong presence. There is a challenge for the Australian education ministries planning the new National Curriculum. The underpinning of which is the 2008 Melbourne Declaration which is an example to all nations. 

I think the conference empowered some heads to make changes and take some personal initiatives.

The strands summaries and papers should soon be put up on the website along with some videos that should give you an idea of the atmosphere. Norm Dean and Jack Levy have retired from the committee and the Alliance will be seeking nominations shortly (through the website).  Jeff Thompson, Mary Hayden and Lesley Snowball were missed, it was graduation at Bath University
UK with Lesley receiving a Phd. Beatrice Caston (executive secretary) did a wonderful job as ‘stage manager’ and Wilf Stout (Treasurer) in the ‘box office’ ran the registration. Walther Hetzer seemed to be everywhere but it was all wonderfully managed and Chaired by Terry Haywood.

Begun in 2002 in Geneva, this is the 5th conference. Taking place biannually, the next in 2012 will be announced in December. I for one will be looking out for it!

Jonathan 13/07/2010

PS Chookey Dancers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdOeS_bJzE0



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