For 3 days in April Columbia University’s Teachers College will be the site of an international event. Educators from around the world will participate in the Global Learning Alliance‘s 2014 conference, on 21st-century education.
Hundreds of presentation proposals were submitted, from China, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, Korea, Australia, Finland, England, Canada and the US. Only 40 were selected.
But of those 40, an astonishing 5 came from Westport teachers. They represent all levels: high school, middle school and elementary.
Bedford Middle School 6th grade instructor Jeremy Royster will present “Truth- Sleuthing to Develop Global Solutions.”
That’s “a fun way to describe the search for evidence in conflicting reliable sources to support a reasoned conclusion about a given topic,” he says. Throughout the year, his students use their “truth-sleuthing” skills to challenge Dr. Jared Diamond’s claims that geography is the key to unearthing the causes of wealth and poverty in the world.
Participants in Royster’s workshop will study a region of their choice, using resources linked to his website to support or refute Diamond’s argument. They’ll also use his own students’ proposals intended to help some of the poorest countries in the world.
The goal of truth-sleuthing, Royster says, is to “encourage people to think more critically, deeply and broadly so that they will be better poised to improve our global society.” To that end, his students are well versed in critical thinking, global awareness, online research, presentation skills, creative thinking, innovation, entrepreneurship, and problem-solving.
He looks forward to sharing what he’s doing with educators from around the planet. He hopes too that they will offer him “a different cultural perspective on teaching in general.”
Other presenters from Westport include:
- Staples math teacher Trudy Denton and grade 6-12 math coordinator Frank Corbo: “Transforming a High-Performing Mathematics Program to Meet the Needs of the 21st Century.”
- Kings Highway Elementary School assistant principal Anne Nesbitt: “Elementary Math Education for the 21st Century: Transitioning From the Concrete to the Abstract.”
- Bedford Middle School teachers Courtney Ruggiero and Alison Laturnau: “Bringing the Common Core into the 21st Century.”
- Elementary school teacher Hannah Schneewind: “Persuasive Writing and 21st Century Skills in a First Grade Classroom.”
Top educators from around the globe will be at Columbia in April. They come from places like Singapore and Finland — countries regularly ranked atop the lists of “best educated.”
And they’ll all learn from 7 of Westport’s finest.