Eight hundred educators came from around the world–United States, Brazil, Singapore, Zimbabwe, Canada, and New Zealand to name a few–to learn about and think about thinking. 800! To think about thinking!! I believe that if time and money were not issues, there would have been even more. That is pretty incredible, isn’t it?! It begs the question, why did all these people pay hundreds of dollars and travel to a town too small to show up on most maps* to learn about thinking? These people are passionate about learning and passionate about facilitating learning experiences for others.
This conference was set up by Harvard University research organization Project Zero, which is part of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Presenting at plenary sessions were David Perkins, Howard Gardner, Ron Ritchhart, Shari Tishman, Tina Blythe, Veronica Boix-Mansilla, and Daniel Wilson–all from Harvard’s Project Zero. These are BIG names in the field of education–people whose research is guided by several over-arching questions.
Questions like: What do we want the students we teach to be like as adults? What is a quality education? What messages about learning are students in classrooms receiving? What’s worth learning?
These aren’t questions with simple, quick right answers. These are questions that, when thought about and wrestled with, lead to more questions–and lead to answers that are dependent on one’s beliefs about humanity. Wrestle with these ideas–the best we have to offer comes from all of us working to understand and enact what is right rather than what is popular or easy.