Conference report

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The third TA Teachers Conference, Thinking as a Key Competence: Implications for Learning, Teaching and Management took place at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Riga, Latvia, on 23-24 September, 2016. The conference was supported by the Nordplus Programme and it was attended by 40 delegates from 11 countries. Following the feedback from the previous conferences, a new format was introduced. Much fewer presentations were included into the programme and all the delegates had an opportunity to benefit from participating in each others' presentation. Altogether the conference theme was addressed by 18 talks and workshops. 

Interested participants were able to attend one of two pre-conference tutorials. Dr Alexander Sokol, from TA Group, Latvia, dealt with the topic of educational management in his tutorial ‘Is it really autumn now? Or what problems is my school going to face?’ Stuart Twiss from Let's Think Forum, UK, introduced the Let’s Think Approach and spoke about developing current curriculum challenges into higher order thinking.

The first conference day included two plenary sessions and four workshops. In the opening plenary Dr Alexander Sokol offered a possible approach to defining the thinking competence and invited the delegates to reflect on the model and add to it during the conference. During the first workshop slot Irina Bučinska from the Daugavpils Russian Lyceum spoke about reflection in the thinking classroom and shared her practical experience in organising various kinds of reflective activities in the classroom. Isabelle Million from the Institute of Philosophical Practice in Paris, France discussed the application of philosophy in the classroom based on the topic of a dilemma. The line of philosophy in the classroom was continued during the second workshop slot in Kristof Van Rossem's workshop on Socratic questioning. Parallel to this, Stuart Twiss offered the delegates practical experience with the Let's Think approach. In his closing plenary, Stuart Twiss dealt with thinking competences in Let's Think through modelling the classroom experience and reflecting on what has actually occurred.

The 10 talks and workshops given the following day comprised both practical experiences of teachers working on the development of thinking skills, reports of the researchers on various aspects of the thinking classroom, presentation of new ideas and a panel discussion where novice teachers shared their experiences in the thinking classroom that were followed by the reflection of the experts. The day concluded by the conference dinner in the centre of Riga, which was attended by practically all the delegates and gave plenty of opportunities for informal networking and establishing new contacts.

Delegates were satisfied with the new format and the homelike atmosphere of the conference. Many participants are planning to attend the next TA Teachers conference that is planned for September 2018. You can pre-register your interest here

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