There are many stakeholders in teaching and learning... individual learners, parents, extended family members, neighbors, friends, teachers, community-based service providers, coaches, counselors, therapists, health care providers... they are significant others in the lives of children.
Every child is unique; each one has a story that arrives at school with them. These are their learning stories, and they almost always include relative challenges. In order for teachers to provide care that addresses these challenges responsively and effectively, we have to get together with significant others in the communities we serve; we have to collaborate with them to provide supports and services that draw them in. We have to access the skills and knowledge that exists broadly outside the walls of our school buildings to fully support the whole growth of children.
The web of helping professionals within our communities is complex. We do the best we can, but aren't always coordinated in efficient and productive ways. We have to change this. We all have to collaborate to help kids write their own stories. Perhaps we can take a more collaborative and analytical look at the data sets that already exist in our organizations... compare notes and have more frequent professional dialog around them. Working together to analyze the learning stories, tendencies, patterns, strengths and preferences of kids has a tremendous upside if we are to effectively design instruction that suits each child's individual needs. Before we can do this well however, teachers have to understand that there is a ridiculous amount of insight we can gain from others who work with kids in different supportive contexts. We have to get collaborative.
At #redcamp 2013 we want to tap into the diverse collective intelligence that these significant other stakeholders have to offer the rest of us, and that's why we don't want to limit our education unconference exclusively to teachers and school-based personnel. If you are a significant other in the life of a child, and you feel you have something to learn or share, please feel welcome to attend our conference event on May 11th at Glendale Sciences and Technology School. If you have any questions about the format, your role as a participant, proposed sessions or anything else, feel free to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking forward to seeing you on May 11th!