Joining The Dots (July 2016)

After attending Lead Learn Lancs #lll16‍, the first educational conference of that kind I've ever attended, I've had some thoughts about collaboration.
There's working with 'real' colleagues in school, and talking via social media to colleagues around the world. Both are important and can be formative in a teacher's career and practice. However, like myself, there is a gulf between practice in schools and what can often be seen as the 'ideal' promoted by talented teachers on Twitter. Sometimes it is hard to catch the buzz from afar, as if distance makes the practice you see other-worldly or untouchable. Sometimes in School there are 'mood hoovers' (thanks @ict_evangelist. Whereas on Twitter those people can simply be unfollowed, in school you are stuck.
Events like Lead, Learn, Lancs, and I imagine the various teachmeets around the country, allow you to Join the dots. Rather than viewing amazing practice from afar, akin to being an educational stalker, these events put you in the thick of it. I noticed two main things yesterday.
1) The presenters be they professional speakers, school leaders or 'ordinary' teachers all spoke with passion for teaching and learning. Passion like this rarely carries through tweets.
2) The people there were genuinely friendly, approachable and open. Sometimes the twitterati can seem from the outside to be a clique, but as an 'outsider' I couldn't have felt more welcome.
After a night's sleep and time to reflect, I've been left with a desire to learn more, to engage with social media more, to attend more days and evenings like LLL16. But more importantly I have gained ideas for my own practice, pedagogy and leadership style. Hearing Stephen Tierney and Mark Anderson talk about leadership was very inspiring and I left with questions answered and yet more questions to ponder.
Ben

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