Around 1,700 teachers participated, last Saturday, in the sixth annual conference ¡Grandes profes! (Great teachers), an event aimed at offering fresh perspectives that will stimulate the passion and honor the efforts of teachers.
This year’s edition focused on leveraging talent. The event, organized by Santillana, the Atresmedia Foundation and Samsung, was held at Madrid’s Kinépolis cinema complex, where the attendees got to hear firsthand from leading professionals from the academic, scientific, literary, food and art sectors. The underlying idea is that, above and beyond the purely genetic and the natural conditions that teachers work in, "the passion with which one faces a task, environmental stimulus, dedication and effort" are key, according to the press release.
The scientist and researcher in artificial intelligence Ramón López de Mántaras opened the day by talking about the relationship between machines and humans. "Artificial intelligence systems cannot replace human intelligence," he said. "If we invest in education and innovation, we can continue to grow" and "since we need informed citizens, this must start in our schools". Because "education enables us to minimize risks and without you, the teachers, we won’t achieve anything."
"In nature there’s a lot of talent," said paleontologist Juan Luis Arsuaga, who recalled that "according to Darwin, the human species is not the most talented. Indeed, other species are also highly talented. Human talent, then, is basically a social talent; the intelligence of human beings is emotional and that’s what makes us different from machines, who can neither cooperate nor relate," he added. He ended his talk by appealing for "integration of the sciences and humanities in education".
"I discovered talent in the kitchen looking at life through the eyes of a child," said the Michelin-starred chef Ramón Freixa. He encouraged teachers to stimulate their students: "Your job is to encourage children to develop their talents. Talent is something you work on every day with effort and passion, and we must never lose sight of the inner child we all carry within".
The fourth speaker was the economist and writer Álex Rovira, who focused on management and the culture of talent to educate in values such as gratitude, integration and understanding.
Meanwhile, Jorge Ruiz, singer and composer with the group Maldita Nerea, said that "confidence and attitude" are two important qualities for developing talent. “Teaching also means pointing people toward their destiny," he said.
The actor Miguel Ángel Muñoz recalled the teachers he had had throughout his life. "Talent is the passion you put into what you do and it is everywhere", he said. "Passion is contagious and I am sure that you, the teachers, put the same passion into what you do", he added.
This edition included a roundtable discussion, moderated by the sociology professor Mariano Fernández Enguita. Participants in the debate included primary-school teacher and finalist of the Global Teacher Prize 2018 Xuxo Ruiz; the expert in innovation, leadership and digital transformation Silvia Leal; and the advertising creative executive and founder of the Club de las Malas Madres Laura Baena. They concluded that teachers "are talented at discovering the talent of children, and should endeavor to do so by cooperating and working with them." They also stressed the challenge of "capturing their attention" and "awakening their enthusiasm”. And they called on everyone to seek out "real resources that motivate” and to fight “against hyperstimulation”.
The event closed with a performance by dance troupe Los Vivancos, who talked about teamwork, the "importance of school from a young age in the development of talent" and the importance of having figures who inspire "motivation and passion in the achievement of goals".
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