Friday 28 Apr, 2017

Peru Summit: Professional Learning Spotlight

This past March, hundreds of students and Group Leaders gathered in Lima, Peru for our seventh Global Leadership Summit, an incredible event that combines educational travel with a two-day leadership conference focusing on a significant global issue. While students are feverishly designing and prototyping fantastical machines and ideas meant to change the world for the better, our Group Leaders are engaging with thought-leaders, educational experts, and like-minded educators from around the world. And best of all, they’re able to return home with real solutions, new perspectives, and different techniques to share the Summit experience with their coworkers and classrooms.

Over the course of the 2017 Peru Summit, Group Leaders from across the world collaborated with each other in unique workshops and scavenger hunts, shared anecdotes of their student’s growing during the Summit experience, and spent time with our keynote speakers to discover what it really means to be a global citizen in a rapidly shrinking world.

We always like to kickoff our Global Leadership Summits with something that will set the tone for the next few days, and Peru was no different. We let our students and Group Leaders loose in the MAC, a unique outdoor art space that was just as much park as it was art museum. With everyone in newly jumbled, international groups, teams completed challenges, flexed their artistic muscles, and came together while eating ceviche to the tune of traditional Peruvian music. Good food and good music made colleagues fast friends: and it showed over the next two days.

What better way for teachers from around the world to connect with their colleagues than with an international panel about education? The Q&A session, consisting of Michael Gyampo from the African Leadership Academy, Zulma Milagros Zavaleta, a Peruvian public school teacher, Chad Schwaberow, a globe-trotting international teacher from Colegio Roosevelt, and Angela Maria Bravo Chacon from the Peruvian Ministry of Education, answered questions ranging from how their communities viewed educators, what their Professional Development programs looked like, and how Peru’s growing education system handles policy changes or getting teachers to remote locations. Some answers were universal—the joy of seeing a student return years later as an educator themselves—while others were more particular to education in Peru.

Dr. Derrick Gay followed up his galvanizing keynote address with a more intimate, Group Leader only, discussion that focused on identity, diversity, and stepping beyond the “one story.” A keystone of Dr. Gay’s talk with Group Leaders focused Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk, in which she discusses the “one story,” or the story we construct of cultures based on the stories we’re told. Dr. Gay also spoke about always being away of our in-built biases—many of which are subconscious—that drive the way we view the world, then he gave a few tips on recognizing and challenging these biases. Group Leaders worked together discuss how we are more than our occupation, nation, or hobbies, and that the pursuit of diversity perpetuates the problems it tries to solve.

Summits are just as much about learning new techniques and technologies as they are about sharing resources between peers. Throughout the workshop with Dr. Gay, educators had a massive list of new research, TED Talks, books, and inspirational YouTube videos that will have real impact on their professional development in the future, as well as their classroom dynamics. Plus, these resources and experiences aren’t just for the teachers that were able to attend Dr. Gay’s session—they can help their fellow teachers back home improve as well.

Wade Davis, a renowned National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, spent over an hour talking with Group Leaders about his experiences meeting with and studying some of the world’s most remote tribes and how to bring his learnings into the classroom. In a Q&A session at the end of his talk, Mr. Davis spent a long time discussing the state of Social Studies education, asking educators to look beyond the history of nations, and bring a little bit of anthropology into their classes, no matter the subject.

Perhaps the most impactful moment was when a few teachers brought up technology—specifically students and their reliance on smartphones—and its potential to erode a student’s opportunity to discover. Mr. Davis rejected the notion, stating “technology isn’t the enemy of culture,” and then challenged the educators in the room to offer their students hands-on ways to experience the world that were more engaging and exploratory.

Overall, Group Leaders boarded their flights home with something more than a good story or two: they left with a new perspective on education around the globe, crowd-sourced resources for further education, and advice on how to inject engaging life experiences into the classroom. Plus, they were able to watch their students connect and create lasting friendships with students from around the world.

Come explore the Influence of Technology on Society during out 2018 Summit in Berlin. Learn more here.