SYMPOSIUM 2016 Keynote speakers

Garfield Gini-Newman

Teaching for Deep Understanding in a Digital World

Teaching for deep understanding in a digital world requires a re-focusing of teaching and learning around a “thinking classroom”. 

The “thinking classroom” places critical, creative and collaborative thinking at the core learning. During the keynote, Garfield Gini-Newman will explore a framework for teaching for thinking that considers framing authentic critical challenges, teaching with intellectual tools anchored in visual-spatial reasoning required for success and providing guidance through effective assessmentThe keynote will also touch upon supporting students in becoming self-regulated learners in a digital environment. Participants will leave the keynote with several powerful and practical strategies they can immediately implement in their class to support a thinking classroom.

Garfield Gini-Newman blends humor with a deep understanding of effective curriculum design centered around the infusion of critical thinking for all. As an associate professor at OISE/University of Toronto and a senior national consultant with The Critical Thinking Consortium, Garfield has worked with thousands of teachers across grades and subjects, helping them to frame learning around engaging and provocative activities and authentic assessments.

Requests for Garfield’s services have taken him from Asia to the Middle East, Europe, the Caribbean and across North America. His interest in effective teaching and learning has led him to actively explore the challenges and opportunities presented by teaching and learning in the digital age. Garfield has spoken across Canada and internationally on critical thinking, brain compatible classrooms, curriculum design and effective assessment practice, and nurturing 21st century skills in a digital world. In addition to his work at the University of Toronto and delivering workshops, Garfield has also authored several articles, chapters in books and seven textbooks and has taught in the faculties of education at York University and the University of British Columbia. His most recent book co-authored with Roland Case, Creating Thinking Classrooms has received widespread praise from leading educators across Canada and internationally. 

Lisa Grocott

Prototyping our Future:
Mindsets, Self-Knowledge, and Design Learning

During this keynote, Lisa Grocott will unpack the life competences that are core to personal thriving and community resilience. 

We have learned that our habits of mind shape our mindset for learning. We believe our collective mission is about more than teaching academics. For we know that a student's potential capacity for future learning will determine how they adapt in an uncertain, ever-changing workplace. 

So what don’t we know?

A lot it turns out. We don’t have a blueprint of how to teach these skills. We don’t know how malleable some skills are. We are not sure of the best way to measure mindset. We are still figuring a lot of this out. We have researchers investigating the science, districts and schools piloting programs, and practice communities of teachers exploring ideas in the classroom. 

To read Lisa's full keynote brief, please click here.

Lisa's love of learning was evident even back when she got expelled from kindergarten for leading her peers in a vocal protest to go to 'big school'. Years later after a string of excellent setbacks Lisa was rejected from teacher’s college, failed first year law and ended up studying design. From the first day Lisa believed she had finally found her way home — for the designer’s speculative yet reflective mode of inquiry perfectly suited her interest in a process that promoted learning-through-failing. 

Engaged by this new experiential mode of learning Lisa went on to get a MFA in Fine Art and a M.Des. in Communication Design before doing a Ph.D. in design research and reflective practice. Yet for all the years in formal education Lisa’s real insights about education came from one month in a total immersion Maori language course in New Zealand and a semester abroad at the National Institute of Design in India. Similarly, the real lessons came from diving in and founding a design studio with lots of vision and no plan, or being a dean of academic initiatives at Parsons School of Design, New York during a period of transformative change. Unsurprisingly Lisa’s best teachers have been the graduate students she has taught at RMIT University, Melbourne and at Parsons and of course her son’s – who teach her every day that the true measure of learning is nothing to do with grades or assignments and everything to do with engagement, self-insight and feedback.

Cindy Klinar and Blanche Davidson

Long-Term Impact of Coaching Students
as they Develop Mindset Disposition Awareness

During this keynote, Cindy Klinar and Blanche Davidson will share progress toward a long-term growth mindset action research study they are conducting.

The way we view the world has significant impact on how well we learn, namely, learning from mistakes. Students at Perry Elementary and Middle schools are coached to assess their level of growth vs. fixed mindset in order to develop their ability to persevere through the challenges of learning, and life. Resilience in their thinking develops an ability to monitor our disposition, empathy, and overall ability to communicate with others whether we are working on a solo project or attempting to collaborate. The reflection process itself opens up the ability to be a divergent thinker. A flexible mindset can quite possibly unlock levels of creativity and innovation in every facet of our lives.