At the Varkey Teacher Ambassadors Leadership Summit, we worked in mini groups developing products that aim to promote, support and engage with the GESF focus of how to create real global citizens. All the VTAs prepared lesson plans, shared successful educational practices, and discussed how they could impact beyond the school context. On the second day of the summit, the groups presented their products promoting global citizenship education in the form of letters, essays, video, social media, infographic posters, blogs, Padlet pages, websites and campaigns. The VTAs were asked to bring a small item representing their country. All these items were assembled into a peace symbol, surrounded by the VTA community to signify that teachers stand for peace. The VTAs will continue working on their final group products virtually after returning to their home countries.
The next stop of my educational journey to Dubai was at the Global Education and Skills Forum, a not-for-profit initiative organised by the Varkey Foundation. GESF brings together leaders and practitioners from the public, private and social sectors to address the challenges of education, employment and equality. This forum is often referred to as the “Davos of education”. Over two days, 1,600 delegates at the Forum shared, debated and shaped new ways for education to transform our world. The Forum started with the powerful Welcome and Opening Address featuring such inspirational speakers as Mr Vikas Pota, CEO, Varkey Foundation and Mr Sunny Varkey, Founder, GEMS Education, who highlighted the importance of bringing up real global citizens able to solve the problems of the modern world that previous generations have failed to address.
EdTalks with special guest speakers delivered powerful messages, for example, how to empower all students to achieve their academic aspirations by Ms Erin Gruwell, Executive Director, Freedom Writers Foundation. In Debate Chamber, delegates could witness debates on topics like “Low-Cost Private Schools in the Developing World Should Be Banned”. Delegates could meet the mentors and have in-depth conversations with famous opinion makers, for example, listen to the inspirational yogi, mystic, visionary, and founder of the Isha Foundation, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev. Moreover, educators could also visit briefings on topics like “Technology in the Classroom” or “Delivering Education in Emergencies”.
Another option for professional development was to visit one of the workshops on continuous learning or on increasing role of girls in STEM or to attend masterclasses by Top 10 Global Teacher Prize 2017 finalists. In the Future Zone delegates could interact with educational technologies that are going to change the world: virtual children, augmented reality, virtual reality, robots that children teach, origami mechanics, Kinects to teach teachers and other educational technologies of the future.
Ann Mroz, the publishing director and editor of TES magazine said: “If we empower teachers to be the best they can be we can transform education – and the world”. After attending the VTA Summit and GESF I really feel empowered and inspired and would like to share these emotions with fellow teachers.
About the Author
Hanna Dudich is a PenPal Schools Global Ambassador from Ukraine who was recognized as a Top 50 Finalist for the 2017 Global Teacher Prize, awarded by the Varkey Foundation. She recently traveled to Dubai for the Varkey Teacher Ambassador Leadership Summit and the Global Education and Skills Forum where she worked with leading educators from around the world to find answers to these questions: