Over the next few weeks, Education Dive will be profiling individuals who have been selected for the Education Dive A-List. The A-List is a set of distinctive voices on Twitter who are helping to push the industry forward, and have been chosen to show up in Education Dive's "Trending" section.
A-List Member: Andrea Fanjoy
Twitter Handle: @afanjoy
What is your day job?
Assistant Head, Academics at Kingsway College School in Etobicoke (Toronto), Ontario; KCS is an independent 1-8 school.
How did you get your start in education?
My undergraduate was a BSc in psychology. As a career, I wanted to help others but hadn’t yet figured out how.
One day in my third year, it occurred to me that formal education alone, being the one institution that touches virtually everyone, had the greatest potential to make the world better for everyone, if we got it right. Joining others in that effort became my personal mission.
After finishing my bachelor degree, and a year in Europe, I did my junior/intermediate teacher training at the University of Ottawa, with French as my teachable subject. Since then, my career has included two years teaching English in Japan, three years teaching French at a Montessori School, assorted supply teaching and contract work in education, a year in the public system in Toronto and then Kingsway College School, where I started by teaching French and then increasingly assumed my role in curriculum.
What do you think will be the biggest trends in education over the next year or two?
Efforts to develop all students into lifelong learners will be the biggest trend. Education is finally talking about reaching its full potential: helping all children learn (through differentiating instruction) and in all the ways that matter. Of course, these needs include the core academic needs that we’ve always focused on. But these alone aren’t enough, and I think the more we all attend to the various 21st century skills we’re all talking about (our school has identified 26 Habits of Mind, Body and Action here) the more pleasant surprises we’ll have on all the other issues that impede us, including variable achievement, variable engagement, discipline concerns etc. My experience regularly affirms that formal education has the potential to be much more positive and transformational than it typically has been.
What is the one Twitter account that you would recommend that education professionals follow and why?
That’s a tough question, because the whole beauty of Twitter is that you can so easily follow all sorts of perspectives – this alone already fills a serious gap in our profession, I would argue. I have earlier suggested developing one’s PLN via Twitter should be a requirement for all teacher training programs, and I stand by that.
If forced to choose one, I would probably choose @Edutopia for the variety of relevant and thought-provoking posts. If allowed to choose another, I would suggest @LeaderChat as one of many leadership accounts that share lessons we also need in education. Making progress isn’t just about finding and implementing the right practices in education. It’s about creating a culture, and introducing processes to nurture that culture, so that every school is always at its most capable in meeting the needs of its students. Exceptional leadership is required, and we have a lot to learn from others on that topic.