This year I had a great opportunity to attend the IX International Research-to-Practice Conference «Values, wellbeing and innovation for the future of education». This conference brought together different people including global leaders in education, policymakers, and practitioners from primary, secondary and higher education. All of the participants had a great opportunity to discuss teaching practices in education which in its turn will help the Republic of Kazakhstan to drive forward new reforms in education.
As a “junior member” of the academic and professional community I was happy to see Pasi Sahlberg, a Finnish educator, scholar. He is a professor from Arizona State University, Yuri Belfali, Head of Early Childhood and Schools, OECD, Phil Lambert, Adjunct Professor, University of Sydney, Carolyn Adams, a director of strategic development and execution. International Baccalaureate, Gordon Neufeld, Director, Neufeld Institute, Tan Oon Seng, a director of the National Institute of Education, Singapore. This made the conference a stimulating, enjoyable, and valuable. In particular, as a junior member I had an opportunity to make contacts with these well-known researchers in order to pursue my research goals and to inspire myself to learn on-going educational projects.
One of the most interesting, thought provoking, and inspiring speeches was given by Tan Oon Seng who is a director of the National Institute of Education, Singapore. He is also a convener of the World Educational Research Association in the international research network on Teacher Education. The topic of his presentation was Values-set and Competencies of the 21st Century Teacher Professional. This topic is relevant both to my academic and professional interest because I used to work as an English teacher and my current research study is related to teachers’ professional education. The speaker addressed the problem of teachers’ education. I liked his words on education as it is the most important investment in the long haul and the quality of education impacts on nation building, people’s capacity for adaption, value creation, innovation. Teachers need to be in touch with real-world challenges in the society. The ability of educators to use problems creatively is a major aspect of educational innovation (Tan, 2003, p. 74).
“To move into an inventive culture, education and training should look at all kinds of problems and learn from problem solving, whether there are situations in need of improvement, better ways of doing things, closing information gaps, understanding a new phenomenon, or new designs or inventions” (Tan, 2003, p.82). These words inspired me as a professional to think of the teachers’ education from a problem-solving process as it is one of the important cognitive processes in everyday life. It helps us to solve our everyday issues as efficiently and effectively guide learners in the learning process.
I learn some new sources “Teachers educational frontiers International perspectives on policy and practice for building new Teacher competencies”. I think that this source will be useful for my research as I would like to include Singapore in my literature review The speaker justified the significance of the problem by mentioning the 21st century challenges such as developing the 21st century competencies and skills necessary for students to thrive in a fast-changing world, understanding the learning needs of the new generation, teaching in a culturally diverse learning environment.
Overall I would rate it on a scale of 1 to 10 scale as 10. I really liked the way the speaker has presented his ppt. He was very active and tried his best to interest the audience. Eye contact and the slides were concise and informative.
I see a networking potential because my thesis is related to teachers’ professional development training. I had an opportunity to talk to Tan Oon Seng and ask him some questions related to my thesis work. I can apply this theoretical knowledge in my thesis work.
Overall all of the participants had an interesting topics which were related to the current educational reforms in Kazakhstan. However, I would like to give some suggestions to the participants to review their research in terms of the research methods and findings. Finally, local presenters should try not to rely completely on their slides and texts and should focus more on audience as the international experts did. They had a great eye contact with an audience. And didn’t rely on their texts, slides.
As for the venue and facilities I would rate on a scale of 1 to 10 as 10. The conference was held in the new Congress hall in Astana which in its turn is a very convenient, comfortable, and modern building. The venue was very convenient for me in terms of its location, its comfort and facilities, and the catering was excellent. I also was surprise to see laptops where people could download all presentations from the conference. I have never seen it before at other conferences.
I would like to express my gratitude to NIS school for organizing such a great conference and for providing us another great learning experience. I would also like to express my gratitude to our instructor Phil Montgomery who inspired us to participate in this conference and gave us a valuable information on how to reflect, evaluate, and effectively give feedback on a conference.