Keynote – Dr. Jay Wilson

Innovation in a Rural Setting

“Throw it into the wind”

Doctor Jay Wilson was the keynote speaker for the 2018 national congress on rural education. He shared a message of hope. Speaking about the benefits of rural education, he exemplified the idea with his own life and experiences.

Conveying the message with humour and a conversational tone, he brought to light the idea of never giving up. When it comes to testing creative and innovative ideas, he said to just, “throw it into the wind,” meaning go for it and don’t give up. The next topic raised were the benefits of a rural environment. For example, often times there is no one to directly supervise you, so you have a freedom for innovation that other educators might not have. Alexander Graham Bell was one of the most accomplished Canadian inventors and innovators in history. D. Wilson told the group a little known fact: his workshop was in a rural setting. Never think just because you’re from a small town you don’t have the same opportunities as others. For example per capita the most Canadian olympians come from rural Saskatchewan.

Finally the idea of failing was brought up. Dr. Wilson said he had probably failed more times than everyone else in the room combined to get to where he was today. This idea resonated with something my grade six teacher told me, keep in mind this was in a rural setting. She told me that failing was our first attempt in learning. This is an important lesson as everyone fails, and if you give up you’ll never achieve anything. Rural education shouldn’t be looked down on as lesser or not as in-depth. There are advantages and disadvantages to learning in a rural setting; however, the same goes for urban areas. The priority shouldn’t be which system is better, but how to create a system that benefits everyone, rural and urban.



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