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 LifeKnowledge Spotlight: Delta Conference: An Opportunity for Teaching Success

By Dr. Kyle McGregor, Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Services & Development, Tarleton State University, Stephenville, Texas

2009 Tarleton State University
Delta Conference:

- When: June 21-26, 2009
- Who: Any agriculture educator with a minimum of one year of experience may complete an application
- Cost: The 2009 conference registration fee is $400 per participant, which includes room and board.
- Visit the Delta Conference website to learn more.

Through the classes I teach, it is important to encourage my students to be learners throughout life. Their progression and development as teachers has just begun, and they must continually hone their craft. We offer skill and knowledge in order that our students are successful in their infancy of teaching; but, they must be willing to continually nurture themselves if they are to develop as educators.

Professional development is the constant renewal of self and viable skill in any profession. If we fail to continually develop ourselves as educators, we are making the choice to place our students at a disadvantage.

Opportunity. The Delta Conference is a professional development event aimed at enhancing agriculture educators’ teaching and leadership abilities. Teacher participants can expect to re-enter their classrooms able to engage every student every day through proven and practiced technique. Delta participants can also expect to enhance aptitudes in leadership and advocacy, which can be applied directly to their students, local school districts, communities and their discipline.

The Delta Conference is a unique, five-day professional development event for secondary and middle school agriculture educators that prepares teachers to use the latest brain-based student-centered engagement strategies, enhances participating teachers’ understanding of their own leadership, and provides a continuum of growth for both leadership and teaching performance.

This year’s conference will be held June 21-26, 2009. The program has strong philosophical and theoretical roots in pedagogy and cognitive coaching. Participants learn the research-based theories behind educational and leadership concepts, see a seasoned educational professional model of how to perform the concepts in a classroom, then have the opportunity to practice the concepts themselves and, finally, they receive feedback on their efforts from an individualized mentor/coach. Any agriculture educator with a minimum of one year of experience may apply.

Success. Entering its third year at Tarleton State University, the Delta Conference has a track record of proven success. A recent study (Coonrod, McGregor & Bellah, 2009) has connected increased student learning to agriculture educator participation in the Delta Conference. Also, so many teachers have found the experience to be career- and life-changing!

“The best professional development I have attended. It was life-changing.”

“This professional development opportunity is unlike any other you will have the chance to participate in. Being able to practice what you just learned about is invaluable. So many conferences give you the information, but when you go home and want to utilize it, no one is there to answer your questions and give you feedback, which often causes that information to be discarded. Delta is real. Delta is experience.”

“Delta is like buying a defibrillator for teaching. It jumps starts, or maybe ‘restarts,’ the hearts and lives of teachers.”

“(Delta is) without a doubt the top teacher-training program I have ever experienced. It provided me with tools to engage students and be more effective immediately.”

Visit the Delta Conference website and see what past participants have to say about their experiences and the impact Delta has made on their career and lives.