The Return of School Conferences
It’s wonderful to see the return of face-to-face School Conferences. They offer immeasurable benefits in terms of professional development, including the broadening of knowledge and the formation of friendships.
It’s been two years since teachers and school administrators have had the option of meeting colleagues at School conferences.
Every sector of Education recognises the importance of these face-to-face events. They have numerous benefits including the:
- educating staff about the options on how to solve problems and tackle tasks.
- providing relevant information including findings from the latest research
- meeting of professional colleagues from different Schools. This promotes professional collegiality and friendships
- allowing space to reflect and appreciate the job that one does.
- meeting School suppliers of goods and services
- opportunity for enjoyment and experiencing new activities.
School staff conferences may be local area meet ups, regional, state wide or national.
They can be cross sector, although conferences which include both government and non-government Schools are not so common. Despite this, each sector has ideas and knowledge which could be shared.
Local area meet-ups are small, involving less than 20 schools. They are good in that Schools in similar areas often face similar issues, so these can be discussed. Moreover, given that fewer people attend, attendees tend to get to know each other better. These smaller meetings may be more frequent thereby facilitating greater in depth discussion of common issues
Regional conferences cater for larger numbers of attendees. These conferences are particularly applicable to government Schools which are divided into regions. School staff members do not need to travel far to attend these conferences. Given that a lot of attendees know each other, delegates enjoy a great deal of collegiality.
School education systems are state controlled so state conferences, both for independent and government schools are well attended. Being large in size these conferences tend to have a wide range of exhibitors, are longer in duration and often have a broader range of speakers. State conferences are important in that the latest changes and issues within the relevant state system, are discussed.
National conferences tend to address even broader issues. They have the advantage of bringing together School delegates from across the country and sometimes internationally. Such conferences may have professional international speakers who speak on international educational issues. Such conferences are stimulating in that they encourage delegates to consider worldwide issues, and how they relate to educational systems in Australia. Cutting edge theories and practices are often discussed.
All types of School conferences benefit from having sponsors. Sponsorship is a major source of revenue for conference organisations. It also a way in which Suppliers can thank their school clients. To exhibit at a school conference is a good marketing strategy for School suppliers. It facilitates dialogue between suppliers and school staff, making for cordial relationships.
Conferences enrich the lives of those who attend them. It is wonderful that they have returned.