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I recently did a quick review of school leadership conferences across Australia and noticed something.

Most of the themes, keynotes and workshops – how little was focused on teaching & learning.

In many cases, I couldn’t find any focus at all. 

  • Leadership – we got that
  • Engaging in difficult conversations – check that off
  • Mental health and wellbeing – ✔️✔️✔️
  • Thinking about innovation and the future – yep

Teaching and learning – not so much.

I spoke to a US colleague about this. She mentioned something similar.

I had a meeting with a principal who shared all the important initiatives he and his team were working on.  He then said, with frustration – but we need to be talking about teaching & learning!!  

But, we’ve got to be careful when we do talk about it.

It can be easy to whittle teaching & learning down to someone saying:

  • Just follow this formula.
  • Tell the kids what they’ll learn and how they’ll learn it – and poof you’ve got great teaching.
  • Here’s the top teaching strategies…just use these.

Great teaching is a craft that mixes science with an art form.

And when mixed well, can transform a person’s life.  For good. 

I offer this observation to invite all of us to ensure teaching and learning is front of our educational conversations. And when it is, we explore:

  • The nobleness of it
  • The art form of it
  • The courage of it.
  • The beauty of it
  • The science of it
  • The craft of it

And when initiatives are taking place, we ensure they’re used in service of teaching & learning.  The kind that makes learning stick for everyone.   

Dr. DeJean


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How is your school, conference, district or network ensuring that teaching & learning is its top priority?

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