Attending a great conference here in lazy, laid-back Fredericton, capital of New Brunswick on the great St John River, over 400 miles long, flowing into the Bay of Fundy between mainland Canada and Nova Scotia, south of the St Lawrence.
The St John is a big impressive river draining a big area of country but in Canadian terms it’s not so big. The University occupies a hillside campus site south of the river, with homogeneous brick built campus buildings in among lots of greenery. Nothing seems very fast paced here. Cars stop in the road to let pedestrians cross. I’ve still to hear a horn.
It’s the CCEAM conference ( http://www.cceam.org/ ). There are over 200 delegates, mainly from ‘Commonwealth’ countries – big groups from Uganda, Nigeria, India, Australia, Canada, New Zealand.. smaller numbers from US, UK and many individuals or pairs from other countries in Africa and Asia. Most delegates are involved in training of working with school leaders in their respective countries. Many have presented findings from recent research, or leading conversations, on their experiences. Themes of ‘social justice’ and ‘challenges of globalisation’ have been very strong. My work on my Dilemmas book (https://dannymurphyvso.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/dilemmas-reviewed/ ) was well received.
One of the amazing things about such conferences is the ‘immersion’. Part of this is to do with the topic – so refreshing to hear similar themes and issues coming up around the world in different contexts, but also to hear new patterns made, sense made. A particularly inspiring talk from Tim Goddard ( https://www.islandscholar.ca/fedora/repository/ir%3Atgoddard ) about his work in post-conflict situations in Kenyan refugee camps, in Kosovo and Afghanistan ( http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/blog-an-afghan-education-1.1010307 ), working to support the rebuilding of school education and the training of school teachers and school administrators, a taken-for-granted resource in our peaceful comfortable world. He emphasized the importance of context, whether within stable or unstable systems, there is no one size fits all best practice that can be imposed on a situation. Meaning and purpose are co-constructed in the conversations of the people in the situation. .
So many talented and able people from all parts of the world, passionate about education and a fairer better more sustainable future. A real luxury to be here. Thanks to the University of Edinburgh for sponsoring my attendance.