Swings + Roundabouts Winter 2022

01. Network and meet like-minded people A big reason for going to conferences is to meet with likeminded people and industry peers. Conferences bring together people from all different geographical areas who share a common goal, aspiration or role. Often it’s the face-to-face connections that people cite as the most valuable takeaway after attending a conference, whether it’s from chatting to someone during lunch, a workshop discussion or waiting to head into a presentation. Give yourself a mini-goal to reach out to at least three people each day, whether it’s a simple ‘where are you from’ to ‘what have you enjoyed the most and why?’. When two or more people begin to discuss topics on a deeper and personal level, the success of those involved becomes irreplaceable. 02. Expand your knowledge and find solutions to problems We live in a world where you can find all that you need to know online, but one of the difficulties is dredging and dissecting all that information. By attending a conference, the scrutinising is done for you and you can actively sit and listen, with opportunities to participate by asking questions or having discussions with those around you that you couldn’t do by reading an online article in your office. For many working in ECE, whether in management or teaching, often the role becomes so busy that often out of sheer necessity becomes quite inward focused (especially in the last two years) making it difficult to find the time to take a wider perspective of what you are doing, why you are doing it and what changes you need to implement. Listening and participating in presentations and workshops gives you the opportunity to discover and learn from thoughtleaders you may not have heard from before, hear a different point-of-view, or a deeper insight to what you already know. You will hear ideas that will inspire you and encourage you to take a deeper look at what you are doing and on a practical level if in management offer new and better administration solutions or if teaching, ideas to aspire to and make informed decisions on how you can improve the learning outcomes for your tamariki. 03. Refresh and reflect Last but not least, conference events are fun. Physical conferences let you escape the routine. They can recharge your motivation and energy levels by offering inspiring stories from those who faced similar challenges or give you something to aspire to. But remember to have some conference goals in mind when planning your attendance. Conferences can often be overwhelming so think about what you want to learn or the type of people you want to meet. By focusing on what you want to get out of it, you can make the most of the conference programme. One way to plan ahead is to research the presenters you are going to be listening to. Let this frame your ideas on the possible direction of the workshop, what you could get out of it and allow you to think ahead on possible questions you could ask. But remember to stay open-minded as you never quite know what the presenter’s message will be on the day! To give you an opportunity to reflect it might even be worth taking an extra day after the conference (if possible) to organise your notes, make some smart goals in what changes you would like to see, and what you need to do to gather more information. One way to reflect is to write and design a presentation to share with others in your centre about what you've learnt over the conference, and get their feedback and ideas on how this could be implemented. Presenting what you’ve learnt is also a great way to process the experience and cement the information you took away from it. Just remember to do it sooner rather than later! -Mā te kimi ka kite, Mā te kite ka mōhio, Mā te mōhio ka mārama Seek and discover. Discover and know. Know and become enlightened. key takeaways when attending conference 3 June 2022 { 18 }