This week we welcomed Tait Coles to talk about his concept of Punk Learning.
Tait is a Vice Principal at Dixon City Academy in Bradford, in charge of innovation and learning. He was also once a consultant for the local education authority. Paul wonders what Tait’s passion is driven by because teachers have enough to do and despite this Tait has managed to share his ideas and enthusiasms very widely indeed. Tait says it’s probably all because of being frustrated with the way education has been going in t he UK where he thinks teachers are forced to design and teach lessons in a certain way. When he was on sabbatical as a consultant he realised that the focus is all wrong. As a result he tried out some of the aspects of what he calls ‘Punk Learning’ and they were successful. Then, it was essential to share this and form a ‘band of rebels’ who would reclaim the classroom for the learners.
Why Punk Learning?
Paul says his first impression of Punk was aggressive – how does this apply, then, to a classroom situation? For Tait, though, Punk is all about change and creativity – it can be a catalyst, a way of accelerating. In the early Punk days, there was a core of kids who weren’t happy with what was going on and they were determined to change it. So Punk learning is about being creative and trying to inspire others to do something completely different. It’s about breaking the stereotypes of life chances relying on going to a particular school, being from a particular area or a particular ethnicity.
Tait says that the point of his book isn’t to get teachers to follow strategies or approaches (which isn’t Punk, it’s fashion), it’s more about getting teachers to think – not to think like Tait, just to think…
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