To Inspire So That All Flourish
ST DUNSTAN'S COLLEGE
Term 3 - Issue 1
From the Headmistress’s Desk
On Saturday, 9 September, I packed up my travel bag and headed to Sandton for a 4 day conference. SAHISA (The Southern African Heads of Independent Schools Association) hosted a jampacked event with key-note speakers, ISASA talks, break away sessions, educational updates and lots and lots of food! These annual conferences are educational gems and the time spent with people who share a passion for education (and more importantly – education in South frica) is invaluable.
This month I thought I would share a few of the golden nuggets that were discussed. AI, ROBOTICS AND CODING Benjamin Rosman is an Associate Professor in the School of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, where he runs the Robotics, Autonomous Intelligence and Learning (RAIL) Laboratory and is the Director of the National E-Science Postgraduate Teaching and Training Platform (NEPTTP) Benjamin is an inspiring gentleman who guided us through a world of current technologies. I sat with my jaw open watching him produce AI images and writing essays using ChatGPT. It certainly confirmed my belief of how different the world and education is going to look in the years to come. The question educators are asking is: “What role will this technology play in our future schooling systems?” While changes are inevitable, one thing remains certain – our children will always need soft skills and human interaction. They are, however, going to need guidance navigating through these technologies safely while learning how to use it in the jobs that are to come. Follow him on https://www.benjaminrosman.com/ for more details.
TRANSGENDER TALK NINA AND DANI COSTELLA
Nina Costella certainly gave us an insider’s view as the parent of a transgender child. She spoke with unashamed grief at the “loss” of her only son and with unashamed pride of the daughter she had gained. Dani ended the talk, speaking with raw honesty of her personal journey, her confused childhood, her severe depression and of the difficulties she faced throughout her schooling career. Regardless of one’s personal opinion of this topic, hearing it first hand was a moving and informative experience.
BULLYING – BRIAN SCHIMMEL AND CLINTON FEIN
The topic of bullying has been an ongoing discussion for years but it is not often that you get to witness a public apology and heartfelt forgiveness between two grown men, who after years of being the “bully and the victim”, have become friends. Brian and Clinton shared their personal journeys through the education system in a genuine dialogue. These friends travel around the country, sharing their stories from both perspectives with young children with the hope of encouraging change.
SHAPING TOMORROWS MINDS TODAY – COLLEEN LIGHTBODY
Dr Lightbody delivered a life changing talk on neuroplasticity – the ability to change our brains,
rewire our neuropathways and develop a greater sense of purpose. She obtained several degrees and a PhD after the age of 40 and having turned her life around, she has completed 3 iron man competitions, 5 comrades marathons and has climbed both Everest and Kilimanjaro. She is the owner of Brainwise. The BrainWise Philosophy confirms that people are capable of profound change and their interventions and workshops combine neuroscience and psychology to enable personal, professional, emotional, spiritual, and physical mastery. Find out more at https://www.brainwise.co.za/
POSITIVE BEHAVIOUR MANAGEMENT – BEV MCBRIDE
Bev McBride’s talk on positive behaviour management was geared towards the pre-school age group and she highlighted the need for positive reinforcement, intrinsic motivation and most importantly, the need to help children with big emotions. She was inspirational and I hope to host her at St Dunstan’s in the near future. I came back from this remarkable conference a little tired but enriched; a little more inspired and certainly ignited in knowing that St Dunstan’s
Pre-School is well on track in preparing our little ones for their futures.