Last weekend I visited the Teaching, Learning & Assessment conference and Teachmeet at Berkhamsted. I have to say, I found it the best and most inspirational conference I have been to. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole day, and the atmosphere amongst everybody was fantastic.
It wasn’t just that the sessions were brilliant (they were, but), it was that the mood was buoyant and the other delegates and colleagues seemed more positive and engaged than at other events I have been to. Perhaps because it meant giving up Friday night and Saturday? Did this recipe lead to better focus and energy on the day? I don’t really know how to phrase it, but perhaps having to sacrifice a weekend in search of CPD meant that attendees were more committed to making the absolute most of it all? Rather than the passive, at times negative, delegates you can find at events (you know, those with the ‘that would never work in my school’, ‘actually I know this all already’ mentality?) there was a genuine buzz for the whole day. During break-out sessions and social time there was no-holds-barred networking and the air was thick with productive conversations and collaboration. Within 10 minutes of the first break I had made three new contacts and arranged to share resources and liaise on a topic in the summer term. And this comes from someone who is shy and genuinely fears the act of ‘networking’. It just happened easily. Personally I blame Nick Dennis 🙂
So, what did I enjoy most and take from the conference? In no particular order:
1) The keynotes, particularly Alistair Smith & Bill Rankin
2) Geography workshops – it was useful having workshops grouped by subject
3) Teachmeet – the variety
I’ll blog a separate story for each of these because I seem to have written whole essays for each, so check the next posts as well. Massive thank you to Nick Dennis and Rebecca Brooks for organising it all so well, a really fantastic first effort and can’t wait for next year.