February 26-28th, Director of Consulting Services George Entwistle and Senior Consultant Brent Mutsch attended the annual conference for the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) in Philadelphia.
The event, whose theme was “Your School Your Legacy,” featured both one and three-hour workshops as well as master classes. Social Psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s class, Educators in the Crossfire, covered a wide range of topics as noted in the conference website, including “identifying your [school’s] purpose and crafting a moral narrative for [it] that can anchor your policies and your responses to conflicts and challenges; . . . making “antifragility” a guiding principle of policies and pedagogy; understanding the causes of the epidemic of teen anxiety and depression, investigating social media’s role in exacerbating issues, and inviting your Gen Z students to draft policies with you.” Michele Mattoon’s class, Techniques for Building Belonging in the Classroom, provided a “belonging mindset” along with activities and protocols to foster belonging that educators could immediately use in the classroom. Michele’s co-presenters included Luci Englert McKean and Laura Beth Wayne.
NAIS also welcomed a number of Special Speakers. A plenary session entitled, Three Perspectives on the Future of Education, was given by Irshad Manji, Idress Aberkane, and Yong Zhao. Jonathan Haidt, author of two books and more than 90 academic articles and considered a world expert on the psychology of morality has taught us that “moral intuitions and emotions come first—flashes of gut feelings that people then strive to justify, after the fact.” His research has helped people to understand those who differ from them morally—across nations as well as across political divides within each nation. Jonathan’s talk, The Coddling of The American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure, applies his understanding of morality to the study of business ethics. He is developing tools and techniques that leaders can use to improve ethical functioning, trust, and “ultimately profitability of their companies.”
Consultants George and Brent found the NAIS conference to represent the opportunity to make a variety of connections. They were able to reunite with international educators who had been overseas earlier in their careers who shared the significant role that Search Associates (SEARCH) had played in their connection to the wonderful international school environment. George and Brent also chatted with candidates just about to open the first chapter of their international journey. They also relished talking to educators who have never worked outside the U.S. about the phenomenal possibilities, both professional and personal, awaiting them in schools abroad. Brent concludes,
All of these connections reminded us of the profound impact Search Associates has had—and will continue to have—in the lives of students, parents, faculty, staff and administrators.