Last Saturday I thought of the first words that Tom Bennett spoke to me:
From The Netherlands??? What are you doing here? Do you know our PISA ranking?
It was in the early spring of 2014 and I had travelled to Birmingham to visit a regional researchED. I was overwhelmed by the captivating workshops given by education rockstars like David Weston and Daisy Christodoulou. Late into the afternoon it still was an energizing event. I left with my mind full of impressions, new knowledge and insights.
My personal relationship with researchED started in the late summer of 2013 when I noticed some tweets about an event in London. I started following the event and some of those involved. It didn’t take long before I realized I had missed something special. From that moment on I followed researchED, started to download powerpoints and look up references. I found out that researchED was initiated by one teacher of philosophy, Tom Bennett and executed by him, the formidable Helene O’ Shea and a team of volunteers.
Last Saturday the magical event landed in Amsterdam. It happened mainly because a lot of people were fed up with my nagging about it. Tom, having enough on his hands, was too polite to say no. Within our consultancy firm people wondered what I was doing in the UK almost every other month. They saw me coming back with great ideas and insights, as along as I got my professional development over there at reasonable costs, it was ok with them. But embarking on a major project with no way of knowing if it would work out, was a different story.
In the end, at the researchED Leads conference in Brighton, I got Tom to agree on a date for researchED Amsterdam. Gradually I succeeded in getting support for the idea from my colleagues. In my firm we are all committed to research and learning but I wasn’t able to explain what made researchED so special; I just couldn’t convey the secret. They had to experience the researchED magic for themselves. This occurred at researchED London in september 2015. They stepped inside and researchED cast its spell on them.
Last Saturday I looked around, felt the vibe and all of a sudden it hit me: The magic of researchED had crossed the Channel and landed in Amsterdam. We did it! The Hermann Wesselink high school was buzzing, we felt the true researchED energy all around us.
And now I am still wondering what the secret of researchED is. What is it that generates this energy, this involvement of teachers and researchers alike? Why do we pack together in small classrooms with just enough oxygen? Why do we spend our day listening to each other, discussing and disagreeing with each other? On our free Saturday! Part of the secret lies in the fact that teachers give up their free Saturday and speakers do their workshops free of charge. Everyone who is prepared to do this has a passion for education and research! We empower each other, we give all we have, we can’t seem to get enough of it (the last people left far after Tom’s closing speech). Ultimately we drive back home completely exhausted with a mind so full of ideas that we can hardly get to sleep. Behold, the magic of researchED and the spell of Tom Bennett, the researchED wizard.
Paul Kirschner is a ‘Research Legend’.
The traditional lecturing format is still standing strong.
Interactive teaching in a more than full classroom is a challenge: teachers succeed in this on a daily basis.
Tom Bennett is the little big Scot driving ’The Polite Revolution’.
All researchED’s are trending topic on twitter (#rEDAdam too).
Powerpoints will be made available on: www.researchED.eu
Read Tom Bennett’s brilliant Blog on researchED Amsterdam: http://bit.ly/1QTpJG4
The researchED community has landed in The Netherlands and is here to stay.