At 3-week warning to researchED DC, some things I love about rED

After months of planning, y’all, researchED DC is three short weeks away. We got Tom Bennett, we got Ben Riley, we got Sarah Thomas, we got Ruth Neild, we got Dylan Wiliam, we got Lisa Hansel, we got Seth Andrew, we got Pedro de Bruyckere, we got David Didau, we got the Learning Scientists (Megan Smith & Yana Weinstein), we got, we got, we GOT!

(And these names are only the start, I’m telling you. Click the link event link above and see for yourself. Go ahead, I’ll wait.)

CRAZY, RIGHT?!

In other words: if you haven’t registered and have been planning to, you’d better hurry. Some of the biggest names in all of education are going to be in one place — in a school, no less (as opposed to some gaudy hotel conference space with a dedicated hall of desperate vendors) — to share their wisdom and their sparkling personalities. It’s really not something you should let pass by if you’re passionate about improving ed practice. [Plus, if you don’t do so soon, you won’t be included in the lunch count. Seriously: Chop. Freakin’. Chop. What are you waiting for?!]

We’ve still got quite a lot to do behind the conference’s scenes, but seeing this video about researchED yesterday really got me thinking about all the reasons I’m so crazy about the teacher-driven learning & improvement movement Tom Bennett’s led over the past few years. I’ve written about it before (see here and here and here for a few examples), but just feeling like I’ve got to give it another shout.

Here goes: in no particular order, some things I love about researchED are…

  1. It was started by pissed-off teachers, all who believed they could find better PD on their own than the dreck dished out by their schools/districts.
  2. It cares about improving practice first, way before all the ed structures & policies so many are so convinced are the true keys to ed enterprise-improvement (but which keep yielding up only meager returns).
  3. It doesn’t follow marching orders of anyone, really: neither scale-hungry, ed-clueless vendors nor reform organizations nor teachers unions run the decision-making of researchED; if you know something about what works for kids and teachers, and if you have strong evidence to back your position, chances are good that researchED will give you a spot in its program. When ideas clash, they figure it’s actually good for the conversation. Imagine.
  4. It deeply values the idea that improvement choices should be based on sound evidence–not intuition, ideals, or sentimentality alone (as so much ed-improvement conversation tends to be).
  5. Everyone I’ve met from the worldwide researchED community is brilliant, genuine, passionate, funny (!), and generous. At each conference I’ve been to/spoken at, I felt immediately welcome and accepted — even, sometimes, by internationally renowned ed thinkers I’d admired for years. After starting off as such with them, I have since felt very little hesitation when needing to reach out for a tip or additional insight or whatever. In an age when so many choose to stay within their bubbles or preach to their own choirs about what needs fixing in education, this kind of collaborative and continually idea-pushing connection to thousands of practitioners was exactly what I needed. (And, frankly, before that I had begun to lose some hope.)

Thanks for letting me share all that. In case you can’t tell, I’m pretty excited about researchED coming back to the US in a few weeks. If you want to find out more about all this up close, I urge you to take a look at the event site or the video link in this post — or, better yet, the conference in DC. If my experience is any guide, you’ll never be the same afterward — and it’s something we desperately need more of here in US education.

Have great weekends, everyone!

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