Sugata Mitra on why children need teachers, autonomy and technology – PP117

Paul Dix
Paul Dix
Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne

It was a privilege and a pleasure this week to talk to world-renowned educational thinker Sugata Mitra about his work and his thoughts on an unusually wide range of educational issues.

Sugata Mitra is Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University, England. You may well know his ‘Hole in the Wall’ experiment, which involved giving access to computers and the internet to children and seeing what happened. This led to the ‘School in the Cloud’ and Sugata won the TED Prize in 2013 for this presentation:

Sugata Mitra
Sugata Mitra

Rather than focus exclusively on his own work, we decided to ask Sugata questions about a wide range of current educational issues and his answers were fascinating! Find out his thoughts on the future of education, Geordies, supply teachers, textbooks, high-stakes testing, teacher workload and more!

Read the blog post about what he had to say.

You can always contact Sugata on Twitter.

Tweet of the Week

Sounds like we will have a more positive report next time from Garth!

Become a Pivotal Podcast Special Reporter!

Please send in audio reports from any event or initiative you are involved in to be featured on the podcast! Your learners are also most welcome to join in!

Record a short report on your smart phone and send it in to ask@pivotaleducation.com

We want to hear your students’ view on behaviour

We are looking for opinions on behaviour from children who have a strong opinion. It might be a child who has experienced difficulty and has found a new path or a child who vehemently disagrees with the way behaviour is managed. It might be a recording of a child in reflective mood or indeed in the mood to rage at the world. More details…

NEW! Pivotal Education’s New App:

The new app for Apple and Android devices contains everything you need to know about Pivotal as well as access to our podcasts, resources, videos and news:

Pivotal Education on the App Store
Apple app store
Android Apps on Google Play
Google Play Store

What would you like to hear covered in forthcoming episodes? Let us know by emailing podcast@pivotaleducation.com

rsz_pivotal_podcast_final.jpg

  • Subscribe to the podcast
  • Listen for free every week
  • Send in your comments or questions
  • Get involved!

 

(Creative Commons Sound clip by Johnny Pixel Productions, Inc. – http://www.johnny-pixel.com/ http://www.freesound.org/people/jppi_Stu/ and Creative Commons image of Sugata Mitra https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sugra_mitra.jpg – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.)

 

Julie Farmer on how to meet the needs of the most vulnerable pupils – PP116

Mike Armiger
Mike Armiger
Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne

Paul is busy in Wales this week so, in his absence, Pivotal Education Senior Trainer, Mike Armiger, joined Kevin to speak to someone he knows well, Julie Farmer.

Before speaking to Julie, Mike describes what he has been doing with the Caerphilly Behaviour Project. Pivotal have been going into all the schools in Caerphilly – Pupil Referral Units, Primary, Secondary, Behavioural Units and SEN Schools. Mike has been involved with this training and also the Pivotal Instructors Programme for these schools and other settings. Mike has really enjoyed being involved with ‘Whoosh’ days and is hugely impressed with all the organisations who have been involved. He stresses that all adults are included in the Whoosh days which is what makes such a powerful difference. Midday supervisors, administration staff, teaching assistants, teachers, senior staff and everyone else involved with the running of the school is present and takes part. This helps to narrow down the consistency and then they can move on to other aspects such as therapeutic intervention and restorative practice.

Cefn Fforest Primary School
Cefn Fforest Primary School

Julie is headteacher at Cefn Fforest Primary School in Wales. She became a deputy head in 2001 in a school in Caerphilly and took up her first headship in 2007 at a school which had a BESD (behavioural, emotional and social difficulties) unit. She has been at Cefn Primary School since 2009 and her school hosts a social needs class and a social inclusion class for Key Stage 2 children.

Follow Cefn Fforest Primary School on Twitter and feel free to ask any questions about what you have heard on this week’s episodes – https://twitter.com/cefnprimary

Read this blog post about our conversation with Julie and leave a comment!

Become a Pivotal Podcast Special Reporter!

Please send in audio reports from any event or initiative you are involved in to be featured on the podcast! Your learners are also most welcome to join in!

Record a short report on your smart phone and send it in to ask@pivotaleducation.com

We want to hear your students’ view on behaviour

We are looking for opinions on behaviour from children who have a strong opinion. It might be a child who has experienced difficulty and has found a new path or a child who vehemently disagrees with the way behaviour is managed. It might be a recording of a child in reflective mood or indeed in the mood to rage at the world. More details…

NEW! Pivotal Education’s New App:

The new app for Apple and Android devices contains everything you need to know about Pivotal as well as access to our podcasts, resources, videos and news:

Pivotal Education on the App Store
Apple app store
Android Apps on Google Play
Google Play Store

(Creative Commons Sound clip by Johnny Pixel Productions, Inc. – http://www.johnny-pixel.com/ http://www.freesound.org/people/jppi_Stu/)

What would you like to hear covered in forthcoming episodes? Let us know by emailing podcast@pivotaleducation.com

rsz_pivotal_podcast_final.jpg

  • Subscribe to the podcast
  • Listen for free every week
  • Send in your comments or questions
  • Get involved!

 

How to look after your teachers; Lovewell on Well being – PP115

Paul Dix
Paul Dix
Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne

It was brilliant to speak to Kathryn Lovewell this week. After university, Kathryn started her career in education by teaching drama and art workshops in the community. She was invited into a school to start off drama classes and so she completed licensed teacher training and had a very difficult first year.  She loved working with young offenders and undertook therapeutic training. This kind of work then led to going back into schools to lead work on wellbeing of students. Kathryn was asked by teachers to do the same kind of work with them and this has now grown into ‘Every Teacher Matters‘, Kathryn’s book and ‘The Teacher Sanctuary‘ online wellbeing provision.

What happens in a school when the wellbeing of teachers is ignored?

Kathryn Lovewell
Kathryn Lovewell

Kathryn belives the environment becomes toxic when the wellbeing of teachers is ignored. On top of classic fatigue and burnout, bullying and aggression happens and recruitment and retention become much more difficult. Sickness and absence due to stress would be reduced with more attention paid to wellbeing and there would be a lot more emotional loyalty in schools.

Kathryn says we can start proving wellbeing is linked to positive outcomes for students and the lessons are already there in big businesses like Google and Microsoft where wellbeing is taken very seriously.

Wellbeing is a challenging issue because you don’t get instant results.

Kathryn describes the 10 years she has been doing this work as feeling like smacking her head against a brick wall but now the tide is turning with everyone from governments downwards beginning to talk about character strength, mindfulness and wellbeing as if they had always been there. Kathryn couldn’t even have used those words until very recently. They are seen as ‘fluffy’ concepts but:

The suicide rate amongst teachers is 40% higher than the national average.

Kathryn says often people don’t listen to what she has to say until she quotes this statistic. It’s a global picture, not just in the UK. Some countries are doing much better than the UK but it’s a societal issue. Parents want good grades, of course but we are at a tipping point of what is being measured and why.

How much can you patch teacher wellbeing and how much is embedded in the culture of a school?

Kathryn has lots of evidence that the patches can make a difference and she says she knows she has saved lives with her work. However, fundamental genuine change, has to be down to culture change. In her first year of teaching, Kathryn was a victim of the culture that says that unless you are flogging yourself to death, you aren’t fulfilling your obligations to a school. She was hospitalised by the end of the year. She admits she ‘bought into’ the culture and had issues around perfectionism but:

There is a systemic, cultural structure that I think is inhumane.

Places like Finland have a much better situation with a short school day, lots of play time and no homework.

If the culture change to value wellbeing isn’t led by the head then it won’t happen. In Australia there are now posts for senior leaders who are just looking at the wellbeing of the school. Simple things can make a huge difference:

  • Having drinks ready for a staff meeting
  • Making sure that staff meeting timings are kept to
  • Making the timetable work for staff as well as subjects
  • Making sure facilities are plentiful and clean
  • Having someone in charge of doing teachers’ dry cleaning!

These very small human things can say, ‘I love you’, ‘I care about you’, ‘you matter’, ‘let me make your life easier’.

When teachers value their own self-care and are supported to do so by the culture of the school, the students know – it feeds their energy and inspiration.

How do you protect against teacher burnout when it comes from the teachers’ own enthusiasm, keenness and utter dedication?

This has to come from the headteacher. Some more simple aspects of this could be around:

  • Providing filtered water
  • Making getting some food easy
  • Make the timetable humane
  • Lead by example – this is probably the most important

If the headteacher converses in the staffroom about human things, organises good wholesome food for inset days, makes arrangements for staff with childcare responsibilities or organise the staff to leave the building at the same reasonable time as they do themselves – and not take work home. Kathryn even suggests getting temp staff in to take the workload off staff.

It’s not professional to show a child that you are worth less than your students.

Connect with Kathryn:

http://kathrynlovewell.com/

https://twitter.com/KathrynLovewell

ATL workload tracker

Tweet of the Week

Become a Pivotal Podcast Special Reporter!

Please send in audio reports from any event or initiative you are involved in to be featured on the podcast! Your learners are also most welcome to join in!

Record a short report on your smart phone and send it in to ask@pivotaleducation.com

We want to hear your students’ view on behaviour

We are looking for opinions on behaviour from children who have a strong opinion. It might be a child who has experienced difficulty and has found a new path or a child who vehemently disagrees with the way behaviour is managed. It might be a recording of a child in reflective mood or indeed in the mood to rage at the world. More details…

 

NEW! Pivotal Education’s New App:

The new app for Apple and Android devices contains everything you need to know about Pivotal as well as access to our podcasts, resources, videos and news:

Pivotal Education on the App Store
Apple app store
Android Apps on Google Play
Google Play Store

(Creative Commons Sound clip by Johnny Pixel Productions, Inc. – http://www.johnny-pixel.com/ http://www.freesound.org/people/jppi_Stu/)

What would you like to hear covered in forthcoming episodes? Let us know by emailing podcast@pivotaleducation.com

rsz_pivotal_podcast_final.jpg

  • Subscribe to the podcast
  • Listen for free every week
  • Send in your comments or questions
  • Get involved!

 

Jill Berry on Headteacher supply and why Heads need to be teachers – PP114

Paul Dix
Paul Dix
Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne

We had a great conversation this week with Jill Berry. A teacher for more than 30 years, Jill is former senior leader and headteacher of state and independent schools, has worked for the National College for School Leadership, is currently doing educational consultancy work and has just finished a part-time Doctorate in Education. She also spends ‘a disproportionate amount of time’ on Twitter which she believes is a wonderful source of CPD.

How do we attract, train and retain the best leaders for our schools?

Jill believes there is a challenge in teacher and leader recruitment and retention but dislikes the word ‘crisis’ to describe the situation in the UK at the moment – she feels it is too emotive and over-used. She thinks it’s important that we all spot, encourage and inspire emerging potential from the very early days. Sometimes they don’t see their own potential.

We have to know our staff well and value their complementary skills.

Jill believes we also have to model leadership as positively as we can. A lot of the time the image portrayed of headship is all about the problems, strains and stresses an people don’t see the huge opportunities, satisfactions, rewards and joy.

Jill thinks that there are some teachers who are better in the classroom than in a leadership role but for her it’s all about spheres of influence which can grow from your own class to middle leadership, to senior leadership and you can use your influence to help increasingly large groups of children develop – which is what most teachers enter the profession to do.

One of the issues is that in times of shortage, schools tend to become quite insular and protective of their staff. However, we need to encourage good staff to look beyond their own schools and move on. This is the experience Jill herself had. She feels she gained a huge amount from working in many different situations.

Future Leaders and Teaching Leaders are doing a brilliant job but Jill believes it’s just as important to encourage people through middle leadership and onwards to headship. She disagrees with Anthony Sheldon’s recent article in the TES. She doesn’t think it’s about bringing more people in and accelerating them into leadership positions more quickly. Rather, we should be looking at the strength and quality that’s already out there, finding out why people are being deterred from taking the next leadership responsibility – and doing something to address it.

Jill Berry
Jill Berry

Is it possible for someone who has never taught to become a successful headteacher?

Having a background in education gives you credibility, according to Jill. You have a fuller understanding of the reality of how schools work. It can be done and it has been done but Jill can’t see it ever being the norm. She thinks it’s much more about …

Read the rest of the show notes on the Pivotal Education site.

Jill is planning to publish a book on the topic of her PhD thesis rather than the thesis itself because of confidentiality. It’s all about the transition from deputy headship to headship and she’s keen to speak to anyone who has experience of this. Do contact her in the ways below:

@JillBerry102 on Twitter

staffrm.io/@jillberry

Become a Pivotal Podcast Special Reporter!

Please send in audio reports from any event or initiative you are involved in to be featured on the podcast! Your learners are also most welcome to join in!

Record a short report on your smart phone and send it in to ask@pivotaleducation.com

 

Pivotal Podcast Popcorn

Pivotal Podcast Popcorn – listen and subscribe now!

NEW! Pivotal Education’s New App:

The new app for Apple and Android devices contains everything you need to know about Pivotal as well as access to our podcasts, resources, videos and news:

Pivotal Education on the App Store
Apple app store
Android Apps on Google Play
Google Play Store

(Creative Commons Sound clip by Johnny Pixel Productions, Inc. – http://www.johnny-pixel.com/ http://www.freesound.org/people/jppi_Stu/)

What would you like to hear covered in forthcoming episodes? Let us know by emailing podcast@pivotaleducation.com

rsz_pivotal_podcast_final.jpg

  • Subscribe to the podcast
  • Listen for free every week
  • Send in your comments or questions
  • Get involved!

 

Hannah Wilson on #WomenEd and How to Promote Equality – PP113

Paul Dix
Paul Dix
Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne

We were joined today by Hannah Wilson who is co-founder of the #WomenEd movement. She is also a CPD Consultant, an SLE, a facilitator, a coach and an events organiser!

Over the years, Hannah has picked up curriculum, pastoral, whole-school and cross-schools responsibilities. She became assistant principal and has led on cross-curricular strands in a variety of settings including across her Multi-Academy Trust. She started an NPQH last term.

Hannah feels it’s a very exciting time to be in educational leadership because the range of opportunities is much greater than in the past.

Do we need #WomenEd because the men have messed it all up?

Hannah believes the problem is the system – and the system is all of us in society. There are still many institutionalised practices, even though it’s the 21st Century.

We are in a time of equality, flexible working and innovative technology but some schools are still run like they are back in the Dark Ages.

#WomenEd came about because suddenly last Easter a lot of Twitter activity, blog posts and people aligning themselves around a common vision happened.

In a profession where we have a female-heavy workforce, why, when we look up, do we see white men?

Hannah Wilson
Hannah Wilson

White men do not represent the workforce, they don’t represent the community the school serves. The movement is not anti-white men – they are asking why it is that a certain type of leader keeps getting promoted and others don’t have quite as easy a ride into those senior roles. #WomenEd is about empowering and connecting people – to help them grow in confidence and make contacts. Hopefully this will lead to more women seeing those leadership roles as a viable option for them.

A lot of people want the movement to have a quantitative measure but Hannah is clear that they are not, for example, trying to get more women into headship.  They are a set of people who all want to see a change and together they can articulate what that change should be.

There has already been a lot of success. #WomenEd are in the Education White Paper, they are have a weekly column in the TES and they have CEOs of big organisations and companies approaching them to work with them to create events.

They are just trying to create a connecting web where they pull together all the collaborative networks that already exist for the better of everyone.

Are #WomenEd events just for women?

No they are not, says Hannah. There have been men at every big event and they consider themselves to be very inclusive. It’s not men against women, everyone needs to be working with each other to effect change.

How are women affected by unconscious bias in the workplace?

‘Presenteeism’ is a problem. Leaders and teachers are rewarded for being present but some groups like those who are on maternity leave, on long-term sickness leave or have to work flexibly because of caring responsibilities, being present is much more of a challenge.

There is also a ‘personal glass ceiling’ you can put on yourself:

When a man looks at a job specification he sees what he can do but when a woman looks, she sees what she can’t do.

This ‘imposter syndrome’ can hold women back. This is also exacerbated by taking time out. The curriculum and the educational system changes so rapidly that it’s easy to be left behind. It affects your confidence which then affects your mental and emotional health when you come back.

Governors also need to careful of unconscious bias. In a lot of schools, flexible working is used purely as a retention tool – to persuade women to come back after a break, for example. In the best examples, flexible working is available more generally and is used positively.

Is there data around these issues?

Data is collated for headteachers but not for assistant and deputy heads or  for executive headteachers or CEOs. This makes it difficult to see what the true situation is and Hannah is campaigning for more data to be collated.

Are there specific issues around retaining women in education?

A lot of the people leaving are women in their 30s – Hannah says this is because they want to have families at this stage. They can’t see the possibility of doing both.

If you haven’t got those female leaders in the system who are modelling flexibility, who are modelling being a leader and having a family, then it’s really hard to see that as a possibility for you.

Hannah believes that the timetable of a school should be created around it’s most important resource – the teachers – rather then the other way round. This could enable more flexibility.

Hannah sees a lot of people in the movement who want to work in the system but would prefer to work in an independent, autonomous, flexible way. She asks what we are doing to encourage this – to re-engage all those qualified teachers out there who want to work in this way.

#WomenEd events on EventBright

http://twitter.com/WomenEd

#WomenEd

https://www.yammer.com/womened

Become a Pivotal Podcast Special Reporter!

Please send in audio reports from any event or initiative you are involved in to be featured on the podcast! Your learners are also most welcome to join in!

Record a short report on your smart phone and send it in to ask@pivotaleducation.com

Read the rest of the show notes on the Pivotal Education site.

Pivotal Podcast Popcorn

Pivotal Podcast Popcorn – listen and subscribe now!

NEW! Pivotal Education’s New App:

The new app for Apple and Android devices contains everything you need to know about Pivotal as well as access to our podcasts, resources, videos and news:

Pivotal Education on the App Store
Apple app store
Android Apps on Google Play
Google Play Store

(Creative Commons Sound clip by Johnny Pixel Productions, Inc. – http://www.johnny-pixel.com/ http://www.freesound.org/people/jppi_Stu/)

What would you like to hear covered in forthcoming episodes? Let us know by emailing podcast@pivotaleducation.com

rsz_pivotal_podcast_final.jpg

  • Subscribe to the podcast
  • Listen for free every week
  • Send in your comments or questions
  • Get involved!

 

Mick Waters on Centralisation, OFSTED and Brilliant Schools – PP112

Paul Dix
Paul Dix
Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne

It’s great to be back after the Easter break and to kick off the new term with a fantastic guest, Professor Mick Waters.

Mick is a former QCA Director of Curriculum, former Chief Education Officer in Manchester, Headteacher in Cumbria and is currently working with schools in The Black Country as part of his role with the University of Wolverhampton.

Paul has been watching a lot of Mick’s videos and recommends this one:

Aims

When Mick was a headteacher, he had three, very simple aims, which he still believes in:

  • Every child would have the skills and knowledge to influence their own lives
  • They would leave the school with the desire to keep learning
  • Years later, they would look back at their time in the school and see it as the best kind of privilege to have attended it

Back to basics – knowledge and skills

Mick Waters
Mick Waters

Mick does believe in the basics. However, the knowledge vs. skills debate is an example of where people construct false polarities which don’t really exist to try and force their agenda forward. Children need knowledge and skills – it’s vital that they have both.

Mick feels that the word ‘discipline’ always get left out of the debate. You should learn how to apply a subject, how it works in the real world. Children should be learning what a geographer actually does, how linguists work in a different way to mathematicians or scientists. This eans that we should be talking about the discipline rather than getting stuck on knowledge and skills.

Paul and Mick agree that they have never seen a teacher just teaching skills and not teaching knowledge at the same time – they don’t think it’s possible.

Mick points out that there is a current problem around thinking that there is a set body of knowledge that every person should learn and be able to spit out at the right moment. In fact, knowledge is there to be exploited – we will never run out of knowledge. What we ought to be doing is looking at our 30 students and thinking that gives us a great chance to get them to investigate different areas and combine these.

It is collective knowledge which will move society forward, not everyone having the same few pieces.

Do you believe in the basics?

Mick always answers ‘yes’ to thie question but his definition of basics is very broad:

  • Art and dance
  • Drama
  • Music
  • PE
  • Using the outdoors – gardening and growing things
  • Cooking
  • Looking at the world as it is now and how it was – geography and history

Given all the above, children will naturally learn reading, writing mathematics and ICT in context and in depth. They will also delight in the study of literature, mathematics in a practical not clerical way.

Character

Paul and Mick share some thoughts on the current character agenda and how it appears to be returning to aspects which were abandoned recently. Mick thinks it’s all about a realisation that the purposes of schooling are confused and some things which have been removed are in fact crucial.

Lessons from abroad

We often look abroad to countries whose PISA scores are better than the UK’s but what’s happening, reports Mick, is that children from about 10 years old and above in these countries are dissatisfied with the rote learning approaches they have had and are now eager to do active, practical things. These countries think they will have problems with their teenagers in terms of behaviour.

Mick goes into details about his predictions in this area.

Recent examples of great practice

In the main, Mick sees incredible professionals trying to make a massive difference to children’s lives when he goes round the many schools he visits every year.

The best practice is where teachers have the nerve to break away from thinking that learning is about 4 sessions where the curtain goes up and you are on stage trying to entertain and educate children.

Mick has seen brilliant work on long-term programmes where children are doing something for a real purpose and with a real audience and through that learning the processes of refining their knowledge and skills into something which makes a really big difference.

He has seen schools where children grow vegetables, working with older people in the community. They stock a shop and a cafe with the produce and make their own meals to sell to the local community. They use their maths to do the finances – work out the profits and losses. Over a long time these children are learning deep and significant things for their own lives.

Mick also loves the art and design work he has seen which is exhibited alongside other artists from the local community.

Great leadership in schools

Mick has seen the schools who question the ‘four sessions a day’ mentality. He knows leaders who are helping their staff see learning as a long-term continuous process, not confined to the restrictions of the traditional school day. They are also involving the children in the planning of their own learning.

Mick sees it as very encouraging to see a significant number of schools who are taking the government at their word on autonomy and forging their own direction.

Mick Waters’ Book Thinking Allowed

Become a Pivotal Podcast Special Reporter!

Please send in audio reports from any event or initiative you are involved in to be featured on the podcast! Your learners are also most welcome to join in!

Record a short report on your smart phone and send it in to ask@pivotaleducation.com

Tweet of the week:

Read the rest of the show notes on the Pivotal Education site.

Pivotal Podcast Popcorn

Pivotal Podcast Popcorn – listen and subscribe now!

NEW! Pivotal Education’s New App:

The new app for Apple and Android devices contains everything you need to know about Pivotal as well as access to our podcasts, resources, videos and news:

Pivotal Education on the App Store
Apple app store
Android Apps on Google Play
Google Play Store

(Creative Commons Sound clip by Johnny Pixel Productions, Inc. – http://www.johnny-pixel.com/ http://www.freesound.org/people/jppi_Stu/)

What would you like to hear covered in forthcoming episodes? Let us know by emailing podcast@pivotaleducation.com

rsz_pivotal_podcast_final.jpg

  • Subscribe to the podcast
  • Listen for free every week
  • Send in your comments or questions
  • Get involved!

 

Pivotal Podcast Roulette! PP111

Paul Dix
Paul Dix
Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne

Next week we welcome Prof. Mick Waters onto the podcast as we start a new series of episodes for the Summer term. In the meantime, Kevin uses a virtual roulette wheel to pick episodes at random from the 110 available. Have you heard the episodes featured?

The range of topics is remarkable and the variety of superb educational guests give you insights into every possible different aspect of education.

CPD in your ears, for free every week

So, listen to the sampler episode and then check out the episodes mentioned as well as any others which take your fancy!

Episodes featured in the roulette episode:

Read the rest of the show notes on the Pivotal Education site.

Pivotal Podcast Popcorn

Pivotal Podcast Popcorn – listen and subscribe now!

NEW! Pivotal Education’s New App:

The new app for Apple and Android devices contains everything you need to know about Pivotal as well as access to our podcasts, resources, videos and news:

Pivotal Education on the App Store
Apple app store
Android Apps on Google Play
Google Play Store

(Creative Commons Sound clip by Johnny Pixel Productions, Inc. – http://www.johnny-pixel.com/ http://www.freesound.org/people/jppi_Stu/)

What would you like to hear covered in forthcoming episodes? Let us know by emailing podcast@pivotaleducation.com

rsz_pivotal_podcast_final.jpg

  • Subscribe to the podcast
  • Listen for free every week
  • Send in your comments or questions
  • Get involved!

 

Garth Smith’s rocky road to becoming a teacher – PP110

Paul Dix
Paul Dix
Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne

In a shorter than normal episode, recorded during the Easter holidays, we have a chance to hear Garth Smith’s latest audio diary.

Garth is in the middle of a Primary PGCE and has just finished his second placement. As you will hear, it didn’t go as well as he had hoped it would.

Garth Smith

If you’d like to show your support for Garth or share your own experiences of training to be a teacher, please add a comment below, send an email to podcast@pivotaleducation.com or leave a voicemail using your Smartphone or computer microphone.

We wish Garth well for the rest of his course and we look forward to his next audio diary entry!

Garth on the podcast:

Read the rest of the show notes on the Pivotal Education site.

Pivotal Podcast PopcornPivotal Podcast Popcorn – listen and subscribe now!

NEW! Pivotal Education’s New App:

The new app for Apple and Android devices contains everything you need to know about Pivotal as well as access to our podcasts, resources, videos and news:

Pivotal Education on the App Store
Apple app store
Android Apps on Google Play
Google Play Store

(Creative Commons Sound clip by Johnny Pixel Productions, Inc. – http://www.johnny-pixel.com/ http://www.freesound.org/people/jppi_Stu/)

What would you like to hear covered in forthcoming episodes? Let us know by emailing podcast@pivotaleducation.com

rsz_pivotal_podcast_final.jpg

  • Subscribe to the podcast
  • Listen for free every week
  • Send in your comments or questions
  • Get involved!

 

How to move from R.I. to Outstanding with Jamie White – PP109

Paul Dix
Paul Dix
Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne

This week, Paul, Ellie and Kevin spoke to Headteacher of Oulton Broad Primary School, Jamie White about his school’s journey from ‘Requires Improvement’ to ‘Outstanding’.

Jamie had an unusual route to being a Primary headteacher as he is a Secondary-trained English teacher. He then worked in Middle schools until they were abandoned by the local authority which prompted him to undertake an NPQH and become a Primary Head in 2012.

Oulton Broad Primary is in an area of coastal deprivation but which benefits from a lovely setting and lovely children. When Jamie took over, the school had only ever had one year 6 group due to the changes from Middle schools and was experiencing difficulties. He describes it as ‘in a state of flux’. The school was in the ‘satisfactory’ Ofsted category which is now called ‘Requires Improvement’ – R.I.

What were the key challenges of being in R.I. and what are the special challenges in a coastal school?

Jamie White
Jamie White

In fact, when Jamie had been in post for a year, the school was rated as ‘inadequate’. With the support of his staff, he challenged this verdict and was upgraded to R.I. Jamie describes this as ‘a very brave decision’ and says he was counselled against it by several people but after going through a paper exercise and making his case which took him away from his core business of teaching and learning, he managed to convince Ofsted to revise all of their judgements.

There is very little work where the school is located in Lowestoft. It is a former fishing town but that industry has disappeared. Higher Education and Further Education opportunities are sparse and so aspirations a very low. Renewable energy companies are now moving into the area which is positive and there are off-shore opportunities so the future looks better.

How did you manage to bring the staff with you?

Ellie Dix
Ellie Dix

Ellie has visited Oulton Broad twice and was very impressed by Jamie’s ability to ‘Lead in a relaxed way but in one which really communicated your vision’.

Jamie actually asked his staff in preparation for the episode how he leads so that they will follow. They told him:

You encourage all of us to look beyond ourselves and to understand how we fit into the bigger picture

Jamie tries to make sure …

Oulton Primary on Twitter

Download Oulton Broad’s opportunity charter

Tweeter of the Week

Jane Hossack – https://twitter.com/janehossack4

Read the rest of the show notes on the Pivotal Education site.

Pivotal Podcast PopcornPivotal Podcast Popcorn – listen and subscribe now!

NEW! Pivotal Education’s New App:

The new app for Apple and Android devices contains everything you need to know about Pivotal as well as access to our podcasts, resources, videos and news:

Pivotal Education on the App Store
Apple app store
Android Apps on Google Play
Google Play Store

(Creative Commons Sound clip by Johnny Pixel Productions, Inc. – http://www.johnny-pixel.com/ http://www.freesound.org/people/jppi_Stu/)

What would you like to hear covered in forthcoming episodes? Let us know by emailing podcast@pivotaleducation.com

rsz_pivotal_podcast_final.jpg

  • Subscribe to the podcast
  • Listen for free every week
  • Send in your comments or questions
  • Get involved!

 

Two dates, a dentist and a boat – PP108

Paul Dix
Paul Dix
Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne

Paul shares some details about Pivotal Curriculum instructor courses across the globe. The next UK Open Pivotal Curriculum courses are on 12th and 13th July 2016 in Watford. Contact ellie@pivotaleducation.com for more details.

James Mannion returns to the podcast this week to answer a voice mail question from Danielle about teachers as researchers. She is currently doing a Masters in Educational Practice and has to make an intervention – a ‘small change’ – and wanted to know what James thinks about how small this should be. Also, Danielle was interested in advice on reading research.

James MannionJames responded by answering the second answer first. He says that one way of approaching research writing is to use the ‘say what you are going to say, then say it, then say what you’ve said’ approach. So if you read the abstract, the introductory paragraph and the final paragraph, then you will glean 80% of the value of the article. If you want to delve into how the findings were created and the methodology then you can read the whole article but if you want to get through as many articles as you can to see what’s out there, then topping and tailing an article can be helpful.

On how small an intervention should be, James says that it depends on what scale the project is that Danielle is doing for her Masters. A small tweak to practice needn’t take a long time or be complicated to set up. Generally, there are two approaches to educational research:

  • Qualitative – exploratory research
  • Quantitative – get a numerical baseline – do the intervention – do a post-intervention assessment

Both of these can be useful and both can be extremely problematic. If you are looking to something small, then just pick a question –

  • ‘How does this particular student engage with keyword acquisition in science lessons’
  • ‘How well does this student structure a paragraph and what are the obstacles to helping them to do this better?’

James says his supervisor used to ask him why he didn’t just ‘want to find out more’ about a subject rather than applying scientific method to it and this is what teachers can do as well. ‘To what extent does this work’ or ‘I want to find out more about whether this works’ are great questions to use rather than ‘I want to test if this works’.

James talks about ‘marginal gains’ – this is what teachers can aim for in the classroom rather than anything spectacular.

Tweet of the Week!

Announcements:

1. TeachMeet London Boat!

Save the date for this event – 14th July 2016! See #TMLondonBoat for more!

2. Inner Story: Understand your mind. Change your world.

The new book from Dr. Tim O’Brien

3. Phil Beadle on Character Education:

http://www.philbeadle.com/blog.php

Read the rest of the show notes on the Pivotal Education site.

Pivotal Podcast PopcornPivotal Podcast Popcorn – listen and subscribe now!

NEW! Pivotal Education’s New App:

The new app for Apple and Android devices contains everything you need to know about Pivotal as well as access to our podcasts, resources, videos and news:

Pivotal Education on the App Store
Apple app store
Android Apps on Google Play
Google Play Store

(Creative Commons Sound clip by Johnny Pixel Productions, Inc. – http://www.johnny-pixel.com/ http://www.freesound.org/people/jppi_Stu/)

What would you like to hear covered in forthcoming episodes? Let us know by emailing podcast@pivotaleducation.com

rsz_pivotal_podcast_final.jpg

  • Subscribe to the podcast
  • Listen for free every week
  • Send in your comments or questions
  • Get involved!