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Keynote Speaker

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Professor Dennis Shirley

Lynch School of Education, Boston College

United States

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About Dennis Shirley

Dennis Shirley is Professor of Education at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. Dennis dedicates his life to the improvement of teaching and learning for students so that they may flourish wherever they may be. He is Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Educational Change, an indispensable resource for change leaders at the school, state, or national levels. A peripatetic presenter, Dennis has conducted research and led professional development workshops for school leaders in six continents and his work has been translated into many languages. Most recently, he has authored a second edition of The Mindful Teacher  and his newest book entitled The New Imperatives of Educational Change: Achievement with Integrity.

With co-author Andy Hargreaves and a team of Boston College doctoral students, Dennis has just published a report entitled Leading from the Middle:  Spreading Learning, Well-being, and Identity across Ontario. This new report illustrates the ways in which Dennis works with educators  to help with clarifying their challenges, identifying promising strategies, and implementing and assessing change. He is skilled at breaking down ill-defined problem sets into winnable goals that can be attained with persistence, creativity, and dignity. Combining cutting-edge research findings with sensitivity and compassion for the educators charged with teaching the young on a daily basis, Dennis is highly sought-after because of his respect for teachers and administrators and his engagement with students and their learning.


The New Imperatives of Educational Change: How New Innovations are Transforming Teaching and Learning

Everyone wants to know how to improve their schools and school systems—but how is this best done?  In the rush to get results, too many leaders are transforming schools into standardized systems that deprive teachers of the chance to adapt instruction to their individual students’ needs and do not give students opportunities to participate in shaping their own learning.  Such systems can demonstrate short-term improvement but fail to promote innovation, thereby depriving their communities of the knowledge workers of the future.  These are the key emerging leaders who will need to know how to think for themselves in order to make their own original contributions to the social, environmental, and economic challenges of the 21st century.


Professor Dennis Shirley’s keynote presentation on The New Imperatives of Educational Change presents brand new international evidence showing how we can and must do better. In this keynote he will describe his most recent research on how innovative forms of collaboration are fundamentally transforming teaching and learning in our most forward-looking schools. Educators will learn how inventive uses of new digital technologies are helping students to solve real social problems and how to establish the right blend of on- and off-line learning in their classes. They will understand how elements of adventure- and play-based teaching and learning are being brought into schools and how increasing concern with fostering student well-being is being translated into new forms of pedagogical documentation and professional inquiry. They will learn how the teaching profession continues to get better at studying evidence, circulating information, and leading innovation in schools and society, all at the same time.

Visionary in scope and practical in details, this keynote lecture will provide an inspiring road map for all teachers, principals, and staff who are excited about re-inventing our schools to fully meet the many challenges of our times.

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