In the Fourth Congress on Education: “Changing the Vision of How to Teach and Learn”, carried out the 2nd of June, 2017 at Santiago de Chile, a panel of experts shared their knowledge, experiences and learning regarding the Congress’ main topic. Among the panel members was our founder, Ana María Fernández. We want to share with you some of the knowledge and pearls of wisdom that we believe are important from each presentation. We believe that these insights will be useful for you to reflect on, and that they will be able to help you to generate new and valuable learning in your personal and professional lives.
In his presentation, Daniel Wilson reminded us about the importance of working on thinking as a disposition. In other words, thinking must be used, putting it into practice through the right actions. He also gave us an explanation for the concept of agency, which is related to the idea of “self-management”. Wilson emphasized that the management of our thinking, as well as the learning lessons, must be done through the design. This is related to the elements we presented in our first VESS training, “The Power of Making Thinking Visible”, in which we also refer to meta-strategy. Through this process, as educators, we design learning contexts that enable acting and thinking in a strategical way, thus becoming architects of contexts.
For his part, Douglas Fisher emphasized the research done by John Hattie, in which he established that 90% of what we do as teachers does not have a big impact on our students’ learning processes, while the other 5% goes into processes that are detrimental to learning, and just 5% of our work has a positive impact on the student, accelerating real and meaningful learning. Because of this, we need to recognize which of our tasks have a positive impact so we can adjust our work and make it more efficient. In our VESS training, we have reviewed the research and we focused our efforts on trying to make this difference apply to the way we teach. Fisher says that “having a good teacher should not be a matter of luck, but a right”, and with this he invites us to remember that the learning process has different levels of depth and that all teachers must be aware of these, regardless of the different areas in which we teach.
Finally, Ana María Fernández focused her presentation on the relevance of understanding the educational change as a collective work that allows the construction of a Thinking Culture. Ana María directed her words to the leaders of educational institutions and asked them “to give permission” or allow their teachers to become apprentices and experience the entire learning process, from this perspective. She also talked to the teachers about the fears we face when we live in paradigm shift and the multiple strategies we can adopt in order to change our paradigms.