Conference Themes

An Open School culture imports external ideas that challenge internal views and beliefs and, in turn, exports its students – and their assets – to the community it serves. Such an engaging environment makes a vital contribution to its community: student projects meet real needs in the community outside of school, they are presented publicly, and draw upon local expertise and experience. The school environment fosters learner independence – and interdependence – through collaboration, mentoring, and through providing opportunities for learners to understand and interrogate their place in the world.

Through parental engagement parents from all social backgrounds and groups may participate adequately in the decision-making and school development processes and are represented in the parental boards of the school; parents’ representatives are also included in the social, political and external networks of the school.

Responsible Citizenship views citizenship as a total practice of responsibility between individuals and their political, social, economic and natural environment. It goes beyond formal relationships of rights and duties between the citizen and the state, and stretches the spatial, temporal and material boundaries of citizenship to those of the global economy.

Whilst teachers will draw distinctions between project, inquiry, and problem based learning, in reality the differences are minor – particularly in comparison to more transmissive, lecture or worksheet-based forms of learning. Great projects grow from inquiries in order to solve problems. Students found them highly engaging because they are conducting work that is meaningful, to them and their families or communities. Learning begins with a problem to be solved, and the problem is posed in such a way that children need to gain new knowledge before they can solve the problem. Rather than seeking a single correct answer, children interpret the problem, gather needed information, identify possible solutions, evaluate options and present conclusions. They relish the opportunity to make adult-world connections, work across disciplines, and in extended blocks of time.

Responsible Research and Innovation is involving society in science and innovation ‘very upstream’ in the processes of Research & Innovation to align its outcomes with the values of society. RRI is a wide umbrella connecting different aspects of the relationship between Research & Innovation and society: public engagement, open access, gender equality, science education, ethics, and governance