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01 July 2024

Reflecting on Global.Learn.Connect

The Global. Learn. Connect. Conference, held June 13-14 in Brazil, was a resounding success. This two-day event brought together a dynamic community of school leaders and educators, offering a rich learning experience through engaging keynote presentations and a diverse range of teacher-led workshops. The workshops provided valuable insights into the practical experiences of educators from the region and around the world. Attendees not only gained practical strategies but also fostered connections with colleagues, strengthening both regional and global school communities.

Hear from attendees on their key takeaways from the conference.

Tatiana Levy from Escola Eleva shares her key takeaways:

  • The need for understanding the learning journey of students considering sustainable development, dialogue, interdependence and identity and the ethics of care

  • The strategies we can use for our multilingual learners  to access a rich and challenging curriculum

  • The reflection on glocalization and decolonizing the curriculum 

Melissa Beeko from The British School, Rio De Janeiro shares:

One of the highlights of the conference was its facilitation of reflective moments. Conference workshops and discussions encouraged us to consider how we, as educators, use the curriculum to serve as both a window and mirror of a multicultural world; how we are equipping our students with the necessary skills to be agents of change, and how we are incorporating global issues into the curriculum whilst connecting to our local communities. These reflective moments were further enriched by The British College Brazil IB students, who shared the journey of their inspiring social impact project, Computers for All. Their presentation highlighted the transformative power of student-led initiatives and the critical role educators play in nurturing these initiatives.

We were also delighted by our students’ contribution to the conference. Our music club shared their talents, offering a taste of Brazilian culture while our student ambassadors played a pivotal role, leading our visitors around our learning spaces, providing a firsthand look at learning and our educational practices in action.

The conference was an incredible opportunity for connection, reflection, and growth. We are proud to have supported the ICA and look forward to future Global.Learn.Connect events.

Judith Dawson from Greengates shares:

With, the overarching themes of connection and globalization the conference was a whirlwind of keynote talks and smaller group workshops. The British School of Rio, Barra da Tijuca campus were our amazing hosts. On day One we were treated to a learning walk through the early years and primary school. Our well-informed guides were the Y6 children, who eloquently answered all our questions and showed a poise and understanding way beyond their years. We were welcomed into the classrooms, art room, music rooms and library to experience the learning. Our guides patiently explained the whole school house system and the personal goals as well as watching on bemused as we played on the trampoline in the beautifully revamped early years area.

As the day progressed it was clear that in this context the teachers were the students, and the students became the teachers. We were treated to a presentation by a group of young people who are taking action to improve the lives of the local community by rebuilding and gifting computers, ‘closing the digital divide, one computer at a time.’ @computers.forall they taught us how by understanding the digital divide, we can make a difference, empowering minds with the gift of technology. Please follow them on Instagram to increase their social media presence and help them help others. The session after their presentation put us in groups including the young adults, to discuss the skills, mindset and strategies needed to identify issues and opportunities in local and global communities. The buzzword of conference was quickly becoming, ‘glocalisation’. This approach aims to prepare students to think globally while acting locally, fostering a sense of global citizenship and local responsibility.

Of course, to finish the day we took some photographs and we may even have drunk some Caipirinhas but everyone was up early and ready for day two of the conference. Alan Downie started our day with the Keynote cheekily named, ‘The End of Education.’ This turned out to be a philosophical romp through the history of educational research and the continuing purpose of education in the 21st century. Yes, to what end do we educate; not education coming to an end, very clever, Mr. Downie.

We were treated to a musical interlude by the primary school music group. The highlights of this conference were so often driven by the students and the amazing traditional Brazilian music group wowed us with their skills and rhythm.

For the rest of the morning, we were treated to a choice of workshops. I had the pleasure of reflecting on multilingual learning with Karen Fraser Colby de Mattos, followed by a playful look at Entry points in the IMYP with Chris Barnes. This followed into a series of lightening Keynotes and an interactive session. As well as unpacking the learning myths; discussing multilingual learning; how to engage the wider community; inclusion and global citizenship we also learned how students can feel when you must move on to groups just as the discussion is getting juicy!

During lunches and breaks throughout the conference, we were invited to play, ‘Here be Dragons’. Those mythical beasts so scary and attractive at once are a synonym for the learning myths that as teachers we can be easily drawn into believing without real research or evidence. Neil MacRae invited us not to be taken in by legend but maybe still believe that we can help our students fly.

 Sarah Blackmore treated us to a new perspective on the traditional tale of the ‘Emperor’s New Clothes,’ to encourage us to look in the mirror and unpack if there is such a thing as cultural identity.  While the overlying ideas of global connection and learning were interwoven into the fabric of the conference; the underlying themes rang out to me as putting a new spin on an old story and handing over the power to the students to act and be ready to make changes under the banner of glocalization.

To end the conference, we had an open mike session and of course, it wasn’t just questions and answers. We were treated to the dulcet tones of Chris honouring his native Bob Marley and last but not least, an Oscar-type thank you speech from Andy.

It was an inspiring couple of days, well organised and diverse; peppered with student agency and practical ideas. Thank you to the course organisers and the British School of Rio for hosting.