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Scottish Learning Festival and TeachMeet

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Claire O'Gallagher Claire O'Gallagher | 10:15 UK time, Tuesday, 22 September 2009

The Scottish Learning Festival is taking place on Wednesday and Thursday this week at the SECC. It's a great event, with lots to see and plenty of seminars and discussion areas to take part in.

I'm looking forward to wandering round the stalls and meeting new and exciting people, but I'm particularly excited about the keynote speech by Carol Dweck, which I signed up for weeks ago. Her recent book, Mindset, is one that I've only just started reading, and already I'm hooked. One of her central ideas is about the 'two mindsets' of learning - a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. The blurb for her keynote explains this rather succinctly:

Every word and action sends a message. It tells children - or students or athletes - how to think about themselves. It can be a fixed mindset message that says:

'You have permanent traits and I'm judging them.'

Or it can be a growth mindset message that says:

'You are a developing person and I am interested in your development.'

I'm interested to hear how these subtle psychological differences can make huge changes to the way people learn. We are working on some tools which will tap into many of these principles... more on that very soon! If you can't make her seminar at SLF, you can hear Professor Dweck discussing her ideas in her own words here.

Here at PQ, we'll be hosting the popular fringe event to the festival, TeachMeet. TeachMeets are informal gatherings where teachers get to demonstrate some of the good practice they've encountered or delivered over the past year, or discuss a product that they feel has enhanced the classroom experience. Presentations are very short and snappy (seven or two minutes!) and speakers are chosen at random. It's an exciting event to be a part of and we're really looking forward to it. The TESS featured a piece about TeachMeet in their September 18 issue. Ollie Bray has been the major organiser of the event this year and has blogged with more details. There will be a Twitter backchannel during the event - hashtag #TMSLF09 - and I'm sure it will form the start of fresh debates and discussions. John Connell has already kicked things off by asking if it's time to move on from TeachMeet and find a new format - who knows, maybe we will come up with one tomorrow night! Some of the suggestions on John's blog have been very thought-provoking; including the oft-asked question about how to get new teachers, or even more experienced teachers who aren't used to these events, through the doors and participating. What format do you think would work? Should we do more online to back up the 'meets'?

For those who are coming to BBC Scotland tomorrow night, I look forward to meeting you in person, but I will blog about the evening for those of you who can't join us. Happy SLF, one and all!


  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Claire,

    Thanks for the mention, Claire. The TeachMeet held in Pacific Quay was a superb event, so thank you for hosting!

    Can I emphasise -as I've been trying to do all along - that I don't think "it's time we moved on from TeachMeet". I believe that TM is a wonderful invention and I hope it continues to thrive, as I am sure it will, for years to come.

    I do, however, think that TM comes with one or two limitations given its focus, rightly, on classroom practice. I'd like to find one or two formats that come with the same democratic, unconference-like ethos that TM does, but that will enable discussion of the bigger issues around why we do education the way that we do, how do we bring about systemic change in education, what are the broader institutional implications ofthe changes currently being wrought in education, and so on.


    John Connell


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