The 1st Annual “What if” Summit

If I have learned anything from my online engagement up to now, it is this: Dare to think and dream BIG. Here’s my most recent BIG dream project: a “what if” summit of education thinkers and doers.  In my mind’s eye I have collected some outstanding thinkers in education around the table and asked them to spend a day together in dialogue. (There is also top-notch catering, a wonderfully comfortable and inviting meeting space and everyone has time, energy and enthusiasm to make it happen.)

Here’s my guest list:

Aleta Margolis and the Center for Inspired Teaching

The original “Instigator of Thought,” Aleta heads up the Center for Inspired Teaching which trains and certifies teachers to work in DC public and charter schools. Teaching fellows sign on for a 5 year commitment to not only teach using inquiry based methods but also to become change makers wherever they are active.

Terry Heick and the TeachThought staff is my favorite go-to space for wise and nuanced expression of ideas and trends in and around current and future education. Director Terry Heick regularly stretches my thinking through his insightful and sometimes counterintuitive blog posts.

Elena Aguilar and her Art of Coaching practice

Elena Aguilar is a tireless visionary and champion of school transformation which features equity, community, authenticity at every level and stage of education’s complex mosaic.

Grant Lichtman and the expanse of his tremendous Learning Pond:

Grant Lichtman spends months on the road visiting schools around the country and engaging each unique community in dialogue around what truly matters in education: what is best for kids when, how, where, why. Posing the right and most meaningful questions to all stakeholders including students (!) features strongly in his work.

As hostess, I, Sherri Spelic, get to moderate and be the “Chief Listener.” And because this is my dream and it’s so big, everyone is invited to hold this chat in Vienna, Austria (my home base) and spend the rest of the week enjoying the city and/or other spots of interest in the vicinity, all expenses paid. (Hard to say no to that!)

Here are some of the questions I would love to hear the group explore:

  • What are the big thoughts that are foremost in your mind right now regarding education?
  • What are you working on right now?
  • Each of you has demonstrated a willingness to engage in “What if…” thinking in your practice and writing.  What are the benefits of this approach in our conversations around education and its future?
  • Where have you seen and experienced successful models of student and teacher learning and engagement?
  • What were some common characteristics of those experiences?
  • What are you learning from each other today?
  • Who else would you appreciate having here to participate in this dialogue?
  • What other questions should we be exploring and investigating?
  • What’s next?

What if I could get these remarkable voices In the same room and we could listen to the dialogue and join in at turns?  What kinds of learning could take place?  What new networks might emerge?  What surprises might we encounter?   I recently tweeted: “meaningful conversation fuels the soul.” This dream meeting of the minds has that aspiration, too: to fuel the souls of all those who choose to engage in this significant work.

What if..?

3 thoughts on “The 1st Annual “What if” Summit

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