Last week Mrs Dalheim (Head of Learning Support) and I spent four days in Singapore, attending the EduTECH South East Asia Conference. This conference experience was valuable and challenging in a number of ways. I was invited to speak on ‘Hallmarks of Outstanding 21st Century K-12 Educational Leadership’ and another workshop on ‘School Design, Claremont’s Learning Spaces and Change Management’. Mrs Dalheim gave a keynote presentation to over one thousand delegates on Inclusive Education and the Claremont College Learning Support Model. Brenda also facilitated two roundtable workshops, and on Friday we delivered a 2 hour workshop together on ‘Co-Teaching’. It was a privilege to share the Claremont story, and we were thanked on numerous occasions for inspiring educators and leaders, and for assisting them with skills and research evidence to implement improvement initiatives and to ensure for effective change in their schools.

I was very much inspired by the talks and themes of the conference which focussed on anticipating the needs of learners in the future. In my role as Principal it is important that I have the opportunity to learn, formulate vision, be equipped to empower others, and to anticipate the needs of students over the years to come. The education of children and young people continues to change as our world changes and I have been challenged to think about how Claremont College can be positioned to lead in the area of educational excellence, innovate, implement strategic improvement initiatives and be resourced to equip all children for workplace readiness and success in their learning and lives.

As the name suggests, the EduTECH Conference provides a strong emphasis on emerging trends in technology. For your interest I list some of the key themes that I was personally challenged by from the conference:

  • Analysis of competencies of the contemporary 21st Century ‘professional teacher’; Æ Designing a ‘campus of the future’;
  • The importance of innovation, creativity and problem solving, as essential skills for children to be equipped for success in workplaces of the future;
  • The power and importance of quality early education;
  • Multidisciplinary problem solving;
  • A workplace that values collaboration and teamwork over individual knowledge and achievement ;
  • Understanding and anticipating trends in technology in schools of the future, which will most certainly include coding, robotics and artificial intelligence;
  • Designing classrooms that are virtual spaces; and
  • Creating learning spaces that provide the facility for design centres or ‘maker-spaces’, where students can explore their personal talents and passions, and be able to tinker, create, design and collaborate in group research tasks and entrepreneurial projects.

Futurists tell us that this present generation of children is “entering a world of unprecedented complexity”. We will experience more ‘change’ over the next 10 years, in comparison to what collectively has happened over the entire course of human history. Therefore what this world might look like in 10 or 20 years time, is very much a guess. Our children must certainly be equipped to be effective communicators, curious, creative, inventors and innovators. They must be confident and resilient individuals who understand the value of making and reflecting on mistakes, learning from, rather than fearing and avoiding failure, and they must know the importance of grit, determination and persistence. When presented with this challenge, I was very much inspired, and I am excited for Claremont College and how we can continue to provide the very best opportunities for children to be engaged and challenged in all aspects of their learning and school experience.

Our kids, at Claremont, over the years to come, are in very good hands.

Mr Doug Thomas

17th November 2017