March 30th 2001 was a historical day because the official deed of the foundation Dalton International was signed. For us it was more a fortification that looking across boarders can influence the future. Dalton International is more actively looking across borders since then. International contacts are helpful to reflect on your own situation. In a modern society cooperation with other countries is so normal that we sometimes forget that we speak different languages. Countries export goods, but in education we exchange good expertise. That is our common language. And this is exactly one of the most important targets of Dalton International.
Dalton International started already long before 2001. The Dalton schools in Brno and Utrecht were curious about the Dalton development in other continents. And we were surprised that the interest was mutually. The first contact was with “the mother of all Dalton schools” in New York. Judith Sheridan in 1999 and Richard Blumenthal in 2000 participated in the Dalton conferences in Brno. We made contact with the Ascham Dalton School in Sydney. After an intensive internet contact, Rowena Danziger, the headmistress that period, visited my school in Utrecht and later the Dalton schools in Brno. A delegation from Brno visited the Dalton schools in Japan, and in May 2001 we could welcome the directors of the Dalton schools in Tokyo, Nagoya and Kobe on our International Dalton Conference. We still remember their workshops.
Let me tell you something about the targets of Dalton International.
Dalton International wants to stimulate the innovation of the Dalton education by international exchange of expertise. The international Dalton conferences give that opportunity. But the conference is not the only platform, because training of school staffs, offering Dalton courses on international level, the publishing of articles, the exchange of teachers and students, organizing workshops and seminars are also possibilities to improve Dalton education on an international level. After a training period Dalton International can give teachers an official Dalton certificate and we can nominate schools that have followed a Dalton training process for the predicate of “International Dalton School”.
We can make use of each other’s developments.
A modern teacher creates a learning setting in which children are challenged to take initiatives. The time of only one teaching method is far behind us. The necessity to work on differentiation is not only connected to children who are lagging behind or leading the group. In Dalton education differentiation also comes from the simple attitude: respect each individual child. Modern education is more and more development-oriented education. This approximation is just the point to give children the space to take initiatives. Modern education is also connected to learn how to handle computers. Computer education gives children an extra dimension in the process of independent and experimental learning.
The Dalton school in New York developed “the Dalton technology plan”.
Richard Blumenthal introduced this plan more than 14 years ago:
“Our current innovations in accordance with the Dalton philosophy and the challenges of today’s world are reflected in our use of new technologies. Dalton has brought to education the dynamic transformations taking place in the world of digital technologies and communication. In addition to the best elements of a traditional education, students are provided with an array of powerful tools allowing them to pursue the work of their assignments with their energies channelled toward problem solving and higher level thinking skills”.
The students of the pedagogical institute in Utrecht worked in 2000 several months in Brno on an internet project. A website for the cooperation between Utrecht and Brno was made and they prepared the infra-structure for internet contacts between schools. International contacts on the level of Universities, vocational and secondary education belong in the meantime to the normal potentialities. But for primary education the world is still an open field. Dalton International wants to stimulate international contacts on that level. Therefore we created a special platform called ‘Webcam Classes’ Internet connections are the ultimate chance to exchange Dalton assignments and to get insight in each other’s classrooms. What a thrill to open the possibility for children in different countries to work with the assignments developed abroad. The mother of all Dalton schools defines some years ago her way to use computer education:
“Encouraging students to pursue new knowledge according to their individual interests, the Dalton Technology Plan is implementing the Dalton Plan in ways Helen Parkhurst could not have imagined, but in which she would have taken great pleasure. It is a powerful new means of fulfilling Dalton’s historic mission and purpose”.
Dalton International composes innovation of the Dalton education. This is one of the reasons to develop an intensive contact with local Dalton Associations in different countries. Dalton specialists and representatives of Dalton schools all over the world are in the board of Dalton International and work together on the future of Dalton.
And when we honour schools as “Member of Dalton International” with the official certificate, it is the result of their merit and activities for the national and international Dalton development. We are proud to have so many highly qualified schools as member.
We hope that this renewed website will be an impulse for new initiatives and contacts between Dalton schools, universities and other institutes.
President Dalton International