- Let’s hear it for educationists. Results of the summer no doubt have been analysed and scrutinised by the powers that be, and teachers have been congratulated [a little], brought to account or asked to explain themselves. Being a Headteacher must seem a bit like being a football manager; if your team do well it is glory glory, onwards and upwards. Any little hiccup and figures are down on last year, and it’s a dark night of the soul. It is only teachers and Headteachers [hopefully] who know the individual stories of triumph, difficulties overcome or some difficulties that in the end, are too much for an examination result to have significance. Teachers care so much for the success of pupils in their care. And now the process has begun again but before it goes any further, let us give a cheer for the successes that teachers bring about. A good teacher can change your whole life, but a seed planted in a classroom can come to flower many years later. There is no chart for that impact.
2. Teaching strategy – Hattie has brought his research nicely to the boil and has made his findings available to all for free. Go to the site at the end of this item for a refresher course in teaching strategy ready for a new year. www.nature.com/articles/npjscilearn201613
3. England wants to go the way of the Grammar school. It is amazing how many people look at the selection process with nostalgia. When I was in primary school, education was all about getting through the 11plus. Every week we sat practice tests and every friday we would be placed in order of performance in A, B, C (and so forth block). It gives me a shiver to think about it even now. To think that your future path can be decided by a test taken at the age of 11 flies in the face of everything we know about development, mind-set and the modern age. It is a retreat back to an early twentieth century pattern whereby society designed schools on its industrial model – sorting out the toffs who were the elite from the chattels who powered the factories, mines and docks. It is outmoded for the toffs have done away with the mines and the docks, as well as many of the factories. As for social mobility, as I remember it, if you were ‘posh’ you rarely went to Secondary School if you failed (note the terminology creeping in) as your parents could afford to take you out of the system. If you were poor and passed, it often meant that you could, if university seemed outside experience, get a white-collar job, many of which no longer exist. I know Michael Rosen agrees with me. https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/oct/04/justine-greening-grammar-schools-social-mobility. Thank goodness for Wales.
4. I was reading about Robert Dilts’ creative strategy for Disney. It seemed to me to offer useful ways forward in coaching and mentoring both staff and students. He sees the process of thinking as having three parts; these are our roles as dreamers, realists, critics. The start of the process asks a person to use blue-sky thinking about ideas for going forward by visualising a desired end. This is best achieved by having a seat or a card to hold. Moving on to the realist role, the person talks through how the dream can be made a reality perhaps by back-listing actions. Lastly, the person needs to be in the critic’s chair to look at negative determinants which could work against success. If the plan is workable it is the role of the coach/teacher to support. Otherwise the process continues.
Thought for the month: The difference between ‘I’ and ‘we’ is more than a plural.