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Leading education experts offered their unique insight into how schools can provide a successful environment at the Cambridge Schools Conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 27-28 November 2018.
Based on the theme ‘Creating the conditions for success’, the conference focused on establishing a positive, successful learning environment in schools worldwide, exploring topics such as wellbeing, social-emotional learning, mindfulness and developmental disorders in the classroom.
Speakers included Valerie Hannon, former Director of Education for Derbyshire County Local Education Authority in the UK, Professor Amanda Kirby, doctor and experienced researcher and clinician, and Professor Jonathan Glazzard from Leeds Beckett University, UK. Amy Burke and Kevin Hawkins, lead teacher trainer and senior trainer respectively at the Mindfulness in Schools Project (UK), were also among the keynote speakers.
More than 200 educators from across South Asia attended the conference. Minu Salooja, Assistant Director, Glendale Group of Schools in Hyderabad in India was thrilled to have played a part in the event. She said that all of the keynote speakers had given her ideas to take back to her school, such as involving the entire school community in nurturing learners’ wellbeing and remodelling the curriculum to pay more attention to children’s mental health.
'The Cambridge Schools Conference was heartwarming, positively overwhelming and an absolutely enriching experience,’ she said. ‘If we do not practice wellbeing as teachers, we cannot genuinely contribute to the wellbeing of our children/learners.'
Akash Raut, a teacher from DSB International School, Mumbai, India said: 'The Cambridge Schools Conference holds a special significance as it helps me think about expanding my skills as an educator and enhancing my professional qualifications.
'The excellent keynote and breakout sessions excited me with their deeply-researched theories. Something I will take away from this event is the emerging concept of neurodiversity in education.'
Barnali Mukhopadhyay, from Heritage International School in Kolkata, India, said she found the conference very productive and plans to implement some of the ideas addressed during the two days. These include considering students’ mental health to be part of the curriculum, further discussion and evaluation of the Cambridge School Leader Standards and looking at ways of ensuring students can learn effectively regardless of any differences in ability.
She said: 'It was an extremely enriching experience. Apart from the academic learning that takes place at the conference, the sharing of thoughts and ideas among people from diverse social and cultural backgrounds stands out. This will help teachers to develop students as global citizens.'
View photos from the conference.