Adventures in Quilting

by Vikki Pendry @VictoriaPendry1

This was my first WomenEd conference and my first unconference, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect! I was drawn to the range of topics, especially those with an international texture which I felt would add some useful perspectives to improving ‘ways of working’ and community building. Values of collaboration and connection to inspire change and build confidence oozed out of every session! This was particularly helpful to experience as a newcomer.

My work is mostly focused on curriculum development in developing countries, so I hung from every word during the presentation by the WomenEd network leaders in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa - @WomenEdMENA) region. Their focus on designing online groups by listening to what was needed, desired and practically possible was encouraging. Lessons learnt about developing a marketing plan, partnering with relevant organisations and addressing a fear of failure for many teachers chimed well with some work I’m doing in South Sudan, supporting teachers via SMS groups to try new approaches to formative assessment.

It was Emma Turner’s session however that has given me the 10% braver nudge to speak up for Women in Education. She talked about embracing a patchwork of flexible living that enables different branches of ‘life’ and work to flourish.

I am reminded of the excellent work from Norman Jackson around Life-Wide Learning which addresses the need to recognise ‘a world of huge social, informational, political, cultural and technical complexity and that learning to cope with, adapt to and work productively with such complexity is one of the great learning challenges we face in the modern world.’ This combined with Bauman’s theory of Liquid Modernity, ( ‘Forms of modern life may differ in quite a few respects – but what unites them all is precisely their fragility, temporariness, vulnerability and inclination to constant change.’) encourages me to navigate a world of uncertainty, opportunity and possibility with my patchwork quilt of experiences wrapped tightly around me.

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