DECD Collective Action Conference

“It is not that I’m so smart. It’s that I just stay with problems longer.”        – Albert Einstein

At the beginning of last week I attended the DECD Collective Action Conference with 900 other site leaders from around South Australia. Speakers included the Chief Executive, Tony Harrison, the Chief Education Officer Jayne Johnston, Executive managers and academics Prof. Martin Westwell and Prof. Emeritus Guy Claxton across the two day ECD Leaders Conference Program.

Partnerships have long been part of our Anangu Schools network as our students are highly transient and there is much interrelation and similarity between communities. We have had multi-campus initiatives running for some time. Strengthening these partnerships to enable a further move from cooperation to collaboration is a valid goal.

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

– African Proverb

So the pivotal question may not be ‘why’ but rather ‘how’ and there is a sense that work will continue in this area to properly support site leaders.

Professor Martin Westwell, a educational neuroscientist who is truly one of the most masterful users of Prezi anywhere, then spoke of slow thinking vs. fast thinking and the clear need to develop ‘transversal skills’ that prepare students for an uncertain future.

His Prezi entitled Making Connections can be found here.

Reference: Martin Westwell Prezi

One of his contentions was that we have moved into the post-industrial age. ‘Fast thinking’ equates to the industrial model of schooling, whilst ‘slow thinking’ corresponds with post-industrial model and is where educational systems should be focussing their attention and resources. A great explanation can be found in the entertaining video below.

Professor Guy Claxton spoke of the need to be wary when we use terms such as ‘successful learner’ as this can slide us back into a focus on improved test results solely. Test results are only one measure of educational progress and we must make the right choice between the following options:

a) to get good results and produce young people who are passive, dependent and anxious about failure


b) to get good results and produce young people who are inquisitive, imaginative and independent.

It is not an ‘either/or’ equation. In our rapidly transforming world, increasingly it will be the ability to deal with change that will be the most important disposition for school leavers.

Schooling is not just about results, it is about ‘results plus’.