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We asked participants to write their endings to this and will post them here soon. stay tuned -- or feel free to post your own results here...

As a result of this conference...

I was excited to see this wiki opened and spent hours yesterday wandering through the postings and adding my thoughts. I hope to spend hours in the coming days in continued exchange with participants and other visitors. Most of all, I want to be there the next time something like this happens! [laugh!] Thanks Mark, and Bob, and all the rest. It's been an exciting couple of days! :-)


Don Jennings (mailto:[email protected])

Topsfield, MA USA

hello from florida, don! glad you've been enjoying the conference, if not the weather, from there. BobBates is sitting here and says 'hello and thanks for coming!' here is what the others were saying today, when we asked them to finish this story:

As a result of this conference...

I learned many things. I was able to learn and understand Montessori a little better. This was my first conference – I’m an assistant teacher at a Montessori school for four years already. I need to go and do my training so that I can have the same happy feeling as a Montessori teacher has. I hope that I can continue to come to more conferences. Hopefully the next time I’m already certified. I am leaving here very happy for coming.

I am leaving filled with new thoughts and ful of experiences. This is my first conference and I feel that this was most productive and insightful. I am truly looking forward to the next one. I loved the opportunties I had to discuss and meet with all these new people. I have all these new thoughts and ideas that I can’t wait to put into action. Being that I am a new teacher, I learned so much from all the others who have an endless amount of experience.

I have a networking group of Heads I will continue to work with.

I experienced a more intimate level of conferencing. I made more new friends. I felt more people heard and experienc3d the topics more thoroughly – this type of conference lends inself to a more personalized format.

I am excited, inspired and geared up for the future.

I met new people, made new connections. Our school staff had a chance to refresh and relax, much needed rest from a hectic first year of a program. However as a result of this ocnference I will not be attending a full open space conference. I would like a hybrid approach as suggested by our session on conference evaluation. I do llove the active learning component and the idea of respecting the open space as a sacred thing, but hope for future modifications.

I will encourage others to participate in Open Space and encourage AMS to incorporate Open Space into other conferences. I will also work with others to develop (encourage the development of ) a professional development track at conferences for Montessori Teacher Educators and keep the conversation alive about developing a Montessori Instructors Certification.

I feel I can go back to my school and help my teachers and children become more able to be…. There are many frustrations in a public school setting for Montessorians – I feel that I can share insights I gained here to get and keep us on track.

I have met many more people than I have ever met at a conference (traditional). As a result, I would like to continue these conversations with people from other schools.

I found that there are so many people that have the same passion for learning and Montessori as I do.

I’ve made new friends, learned things important to me and feel more confident about what I’m doing in my Montessori classroom. The sharing has been wonderful!

I experienced the warmth and the openness of face-to-face sessions in the circle format. This led to openness of discussion – sometimes got off topic – (negative, lack of focus or positive, broadening of basic topic). Networking brings out everyone’s strengths.

I am returning to my school with new ideas and inspiration. I will be an advocate for using this open space format at future AMS conferences. The opportunities for connecting with new people and networking are so much greater here.

…expansion of my horizon even though I am in and out of the box and creative and dedicated to students, staff, and fellow teachers and administrators!

I got some good ideas in regards to classroom management and some new poems and songs. I met some fabulous people that I hope to stay in contact with. I would like to see actual presenters at the next conference I attend (this was my first AMS conference) so I could have literature to take back with me. The Open Space forum was interesting but not for an entire 3 day conference. I really enjoyed the Florida sunshine!

…I have helped Michael Farraday draft a proposal to end our (the world’s) dependence on fossil fuels. This proposal will be published in the “Public School Montessorian” along with a detailed description of how to conduct an electrolysis of wate4r demonstration in each Montessori elementary classroom in this country. After the children in these elementary classrooms see how easily water can be dissociated into hydrogen gas and oxygen gas, perhaps they will be moved to write a letter of support for Faraday’s proposal to a representative or senator.

I find myself committed to self-examination to determine how I can better use my energies to evolve as a better student and leader. There is sucha great need for Montessori education in the world.

I enjoyed seeing my friends and colleagues and meeting new people. I would hope that the Open Space is perhaps attached to the end of a regular conferenc in the future.

A children’s peace corps may become a reality – children helping and articulating with other children worldwide! One of the paths to peace lies in world understanding and communication. Our politicians have national agendas that preclude peace through education, communication, the spirit of sharing – by children – who will really take the first step – why not Montessori school children?!

We all felt empowered. We all gave of ourselves. I personally could reflect on how challenged a child in a Montessori classroom would feel when they have a choice whether to start right in on a project or get mentally set by stepping away always thinking about their challenging work. I fee this was a working weekend because of al lthe intense thought and problem solving that went on. This is the most valuable feeling to have accomplished so much.

…many Montessorians experienced Open Space for the first time. …Montessorians were able to discuss subjects about which they were passionate. …Montessorians met and interacted with other Montessorians from all over. …new questions were raised.

I have a lot of ideas to take back home to share with my colleagues, as well as some feedback about the high level of professionalism I found among attendees.

I’ve gotten a better understanding of the use of self-meditation. In a classroom setting for both the teacher and student. But at the same time I feeling answers weren’t fulfilled. Planded topics and tangeable objects were missed. I feel it was very nice to have planned topics because, they would bring examples. And have answers for the topic that would be expressed. Mabe we could have planned topics and at the end disscus as a grop Q’s and concerns in our classroom. Maybe get topics before we get here And have someone who is an expert on the topics that are in need.

…I feel really great. Making connections is a theme which permeated through the experience. Making connections is so valuable and necessary for all of us. Learning about best practices was reinforcing. Getting out of school and getting away allowed really good reflection. I have made new friends and was able to put many names to faces in the world of Montessori. Most surprising to me is that my issues are similar to others – which was confidence-building. Making connections, reflections, active learning.

I have a better knowledge of what my responsibilities are as a member. This is my first conference and hopefully not my last. The Open Space is a great concept and it will help our staff meetings become more productive. I am leaving with a wonderful sense of fellowship, knowledge and inclusiveness.

Surprisingly, I enjoyed myself, had engaged myself in substantial discussions. Bonus – had opportunity to sit down at length with students to clarify questions and restore their confidence. The system really allowed me to do what I needed to do without undue pressure of being in a place at a certain time.

Open Space can work but I like the traditional manner, where one has formal presentations with transparencies, etc.

Skeptical about Open Space Technology, risky to pay for conference not knowing what I would get. Perhaps only one segment for open space – not whole of conference.

I have met wonderful new people and networked on topics which I needed new perspectives on . The open space was great for emabling us all to get what we needed out of our meetings. As the head of a school, I have found previous conferences lacked in useful topics and information… Thanks for a great weekend!

I have a greater understanding of Open Space and how it can be applied to different groups – teachers meetings, parents meetings. The topic that was most relevant and for which I would like followup as a participant and gatherer of knowledge – African Americans and Montessori Myths and Misconceptions.

There wqas a great exchange of ideas. Lots of good sharing. I’d like to see more hands on to use in the class. More info shared on toddlers.

…I am looking more to the future. The future for me as a teacher, the future for our school, the future for a new way of learning what I need to know to grow. Although my experience with this format was a little mixed, I really love the concept. If coming to another open space conference, I would be more prepared to take the risks that are necessary to get out of it what is potentially there. I’m taking a lot of new thoughts home with me (and go home a much more relaxed person than arrived here from the depths of winter in NH!!) I know that to run this conference this way was a great leap of faith for the organizers. I hope it has been successful enough to try again – especially as part of a larger conference. I would love to have some REVERSE feedback: what did you as organizers hope for and how did it go for the participants? Maybe you could post something on the AMS website. Thanks for a great weekend.

I was impressed with the motivation, desire, and heart of those coordinating the conference. Their desire to introduce a new method to create discussion is valiant. However, it would have been nice to intermingle the Open Space with genuine, experienced, and highly-educated speakers with definitive outlines covering deliberate topics. That is all. Thank you.

I’m sad to say, n the nine years of going to Montessori conferences, I leave feeling very unfulfilled. I feel the most renewed when I can listen to strong Montessori leaders that can keep me moving in a positive direction. This format was left in the hands of people that may not understand the true Montessori direction which could mislead those who are new and trying to understand Montessori I would rather see a format that is set up as a lecture then time at the end of each class for discussion.

…I met so many people and learn about their school and how they run. I like the idea of coming in a circle in the beginning and at the end and discuss about what we learned. I also like the idea of Open Space in which we can choose a topic and listen to what other people have to say. The only thing I would like to suggest is that combination of Open Space plus the experteese talking about certain topic, in other words one expert in each group who can suggest and talk about particular topic and come to conclusion. Some of the session I attended didn’t lead to an end and it ended up having or telling stories about their classroom etc other thing is their were so many topic in the 9-11 timeslot and so we have to choose one from that and were very little choice in other times. Some of the group were very big so most of the time went on introducing each other but then no time left for the topic. Overall I like the idea of open space concept if we add som experts in each group or at the end share the knowledge about their experience, etc.

-con/suggestions… need for someone who is knowledgable facilitator, attendance how to prepare as participants, who/what experts are going to attend, combination of preposted questions with addition questions at onset of conference, combining formats with part openspace part presentation, open space idea must be a little more organized, so much time for presentation and built in for open space, left with feeling there were open ends, need facilitators, no expert to guide with conclusions, suggestion – establish topic ahead of time to be prepared, (from participants) pose questions before conference, scheduling – heavy front little for leader, facilitator to organize planning, group size to large for area and time allotted limited attendance.

-pro… liked format discussions, could go deeper into topics not so basic, networking and more time to prepare, gave space to create (thoughts from within) went beyond the classroom, conclusion of the day in open circle, a unique time to come together to find what we learned, completion of notes could be done with traditional format, great resources

-conclusion… open doors for networking, pose questions before conference, have experts available to lead these, dimensions based on those questions, leave time for unstructured ideas, make notes available for all format of conference, we like answers and discussions, time limits, experts in handling topics and questions, leave time for spontaneous questions/thoughts but we would suggest hybrid, #1 presentation –(of specific time) in combination with open space, #2 open space and conventional sessions.

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Last edited February 16, 2003 11:01 am USA Pacific Time (diff)