things I notice in schools

17 Aug 2016

Assessment for Learning without Limits

‘Tracking is not assessment, learning is not linear and teaching is not easy.’ Assessment for Learning without Limits by Dame Alison Peacock has been worth the wait. It provides a commentary and plenty of examples of how schools are making assessment without levels and limits work. But if anyone is looking for quick fixes, tricks and short-cuts, it’s not for them. It is essential reading, however, for any educator who is thinking carefully about what constitutes progress, how this emerges from the curriculum and how to ensure, in the words of  Tim Oates that ‘every child, with the right support, is capable of anything.' 

Tim Oates

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15 Aug 2016

Big hearted settings

What does it mean to have a big heart, beyond the literal, obviously? It's pretty evident what happens when it stops. I’m not going to get my tape measure out and measure it, for obvious reasons. But in the metaphysical sense, having a big heart means to be prepared to look kindly on the world and on other people. In fact the universe doesn't much care about us. But it is a living thing with the capacity for both devastation and beauty and in order to be fully human, we need to respond to it wholeheartedly. Developing a big heart makes us more alive to the possibilities for growth.

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04 Jun 2016

The Essentials

‘You can do anything, but not everything.’ David Allen

Schools are complex places. We can find ourselves too stretched to think, overworked and under-utilised, busy but not productive. So it is worth considering the ideas within Essentialism[1]. Developed by Greg McKeown,  he makes the case for the disciplined pursuit of less and for doing fewer things, really well. This is the basic proposition: ‘when we give ourselves permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, we can make our highest contribution towards the things that really matter.’

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03 Jun 2016

On Trust

‘The glue that holds all relationships together - including the relationship between the leader and the led - is trust, and trust is based on integrity.’ Brian Tracy

There’s a ton of tripe talked about trust. Trust is one of the most abused words in leadership. It’s assumed to be important but it’s more often talked about rather than acted on. There’s an expectation that it will be there in any organisation, but rarely is the hard work to make it happen analysed or discussed. The bottom line is this - it has to be earned. And to begin with, the traffic is one way. Thoughtful leaders realise it is no use bemoaning that their colleagues and those who report to them don't trust them, unless they themselves have done the work first.

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19 Feb 2016

Everyone has a voice

‘One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.’ Bryant H McGill

One of our greatest needs in life is to have our voices heard. It touches the deepest part of our being when we have the right to speak and be heard. This level of hearing is an affirmation of our true worth. Thoughtful leaders recognise this. And they make sure that there is the time and space for this to happen. Yes, even in frantic schedules. They know the power that comes from making sure that the ideas, opinions and thoughts of everyone at every level in their organisation are valued and air.

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