I wish my teacher knew…

How can you get your students to talk candidly to you but without infringing on their personal space and individual character? Well thanks to @ASTsupportAAli #Amjad Ali’s inspirational session with our staff all around the prickly issue of differentiation – making the impossible possible, the one strategy I was keen to try out was the one where the students write candidly about what they wish their teacher knew.

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…and my favourite one…

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What do you make of this? If you have never tried it, I definitely recommend it. It comes with a caution though, know your students! Get behind the letters and numbers in your data file, markbooks etc and really get to know your students. You will be amazed where this takes you on your journey of teaching… and your own learning. Ensure you have the relationship with them you are able to take any comments they raise. They may not all be favourable. I know it may seem a bit self-righteous but if I come across one which is not so I promise to share it and let you know how I deal with this.

For now, why not select a class you will try this with and see what responses you get.

Great teachers or great teaching? Why McKinsey got it wrong

How apt! I was completing some reading for my NPQH and wanted to find the true source to the quote “The quality of an education system can never exceed the quality of it’s teachers” and came across this article. So now, this has confirmed my thinking also in that we need to acknowledge true source and give credit where due. I always believe that when stealing ideas, the ‘robber’ as it were, will never deliver the message with the same conviction as the source. It just doesn’t happen that way and so we see that it orignated in South Korea and though this may not be Singapore, we see how the philosophy of having an empasis on classroom instruction bears fruit and is validated by what you have now changed to ‘teaching’ and not ‘teacher’ as I agree, we can all teach better. The challenge, is getting everyone to do so and then doing something about those that ‘can’t’ or even ‘won’t’. Thanks for this, I’ll reblog and eventually add my own musings.

IOE LONDON BLOG

Chris Husbands

It’s a fabulous quotation: “The quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers.” It has the sense of an underlying educational law, as compelling as Newton’s laws of motion. It’s routinely attributed to the 2007 McKinsey Report, How the world’s best performing education systems come out on top.

But if you dig into that report, you’ll find a footnote acknowledging that the quotation came from a senior government official in South Korea: yet another illustration of the old adage that a management consultant is someone who steals your watch and then tells you the time. But as an aphorism it has done its job, and is now routinely quoted by government ministers, education reformers and academics  the world over. A Google search yields over 180,000 uses of the  quotation since 2007. It crops up again, in disguised form, in Andrew Adonis’s contribution to last week’s

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A ‘No excuses’ assembly… ‘Cant’ does not exist!

There is indeed a myth… The myth of ‘cant’ and I have long used the ‘can’t doesn’t exist’ strap line in my classes. This encourages perseverance, determination and willpower to be mustered up as it is the business of every teacher to do this if their students do not already possess these powers. Powers? Yes! These powers lead to ‘super learning strength’, lack of fear and absence of fear of failure.
There is a Christian concept and from scripture which mentions

“for mortals things seem impossible, not for God. For God all things are possible” (Matthew 10:27)

I’d like to think if we have a God-like spirit within, then we can consider the possibility of our impossibilities starting with our students. So…..
In preparation for assembly, this brings me to use the example of Jennifer Bricker, the gymnast born with no legs. That’s right, the GYMNAST born with no legs.

I think I will share with them how on leaving my secondary school, there was ONE computer being installed and we, the ‘leavers’ rushed to the single location to view this miraculous piece of technology that would assist with extended writing. Not fair! I would still need to write by hand for a longer time, this would disadvantage me in achieving… Or so I thought… But as for these students now, use of technology is not exactly scarce, information is so widely shared and available, they have (and they will shout) ” NO EXCUSES”.

Next would come the example of overcoming adversity, looking at how we can be placed into certain ‘boxes’, SEN, FSM, EAL ‘rich’, ‘poor’, Black British, White working class, ‘Freshy Indian with no English’ and once we are aware it can create a self-fulfilling prophecy of underachievement. Well in my own case, had it been around I’m certain I would have ticked the Pupil Premium box and some but today I represent only a tip of what can be achieved. No matter the label you may have, have ‘NO EXCUSES’.

Incidentally, on the subject of the pupil premium, only last week I was asked by a colleague about what to say “if an inspector asks what we are doing for our pupil premium students”. It seems that although the government has set this priority in their agenda, there is a mismatch with how teachers view this. Perhaps because it is a ‘no-brainer’ for some teachers, we should all just be doing everything we can to ensure disadvantage means ‘NO EXCUSES’ in how we prepare, encourage, uplift, confidence-build and motivate our young people, because that’s what teachers do. Alternatively, and frightfully, it may be because some teachers, do not realise the mission, the moral imperative to achieve this and so they feel they need to do something ‘additional’ or ‘extra-specific’ for the pupil premium. I am here to tell you that if you are not meeting their needs in everything you say or do anyway, then you are not doing right by all  the young people. Pupil premium or not.

Back to my assembly then, I will reveal finally, the inspiring video of Jennifer Bricker’s story which I’ve included here. I used to dislike assemblies but I suppose after having delivered ‘a few’,  I’m really looking forward to delivering this one.

Jennifer Bricker (Morceanu)