The Learnerspace’s Annual Colloquy
There is a difference between colloquium and colloquy, and one that serves well to illustrate the current trend in professional learning. A colloquium is an academic discussion where experts present and are followed by Q&A sessions, thus embodying the literal old school model where knowledgeable people were able to share their knowledge from a symmetric perspective and answer questions on their areas of expertise.
A colloquy, on the other hand, is a conversation, and usually a high level conversation at such, and, at a time where knowledge creation is an intrinsically dynamic, unstable and collective process, a colloquy, a conversation, is far more enriching as a learning experience than the top down colloquium in which experts pass down their knowledge.
On the nature of conversations and professional learning
The term conversation, like many words in our language, has acquired some implicit connotations that go beyond their meaning, and, in this case, there is a lag in the perception of the true significance and relevance of conversations in the context of professional learning. Conversations can truly become the epitome of learning experiences when people with similar motivations and attitudes towards learning come together to share their passions and cravings for deep, significant learning.
A separate disquisition needs to be made on the current and future nature of professional learning. Hitherto a purely academic utilitarian experience, learning has far transcended that role that pursued effective performance to become a life defining attitude, a connection with the deeper sense of purpose that every person seeks, a necessary link to personal fulfillment. So professional learning becomes far more than a job requisite to develop into the key to successfully navigating the uncertainties of our current and future time, since viewing change from the prism of learning immediately deprives change of all its negative connotations, change being the ultimate catalyst for learning.
When considering conversations on learning, then, it is essential that the learning experience be defined as amply as possible, including but not limited to the sharing of knowledge and expertise, academic and intellectual discussions. Learning as a life experience also comprises the sharing of thoughts, ideas, personal experiences, a communal gathering of values amongst people who embrace learning as an essential part of their life journey.
For long, conferences and similar events have always been focused on well-defined outcomes and objectives, more often than not involving acquiring specific knowledge on topics for the sake of concrete application in the workplace. In the constantly evolving scenario of the redefined knowledge and workplace paradigms, these events fall woefully short of the mark in that their defining premises have been rendered invalid.
The Learnerspace’s Annual Colloquy is a gathering of school leaders, administrators, thinkers, speakers and other like-minded educators for an extended three-day deep reflection and series of conversations amidst a beautiful natural setting, and what constitutes a true renewal experience. Facilitated inner activities foster sharing, engaging learning, deep discussions and exchanging ideas and the building of a community of learners seeking for a deeper sense of purpose.