Friday, 28 January 2011
Saturday, 22 January 2011
Like many, I've been musing on some of the many announcements and provocations that have been said by or about the government's education policy in recent weeks.
Friday, 14 January 2011
Wednesday, 12 January 2011
- The children should be motivated to write having communicated with these real people, knowing that their writing would also be read by those people.
- I get so bored of the standard page long biographies you get in text books. Like Charles Dickens. Or Steven Speilberg.
- I'm always on the look out for ways of educating the children out of the cult of celebrity that we seem to subscribe to in our country. Real people are far more interesting.
Monday, 10 January 2011
I had the idea for this post a month ago at which time I was going to call it: November: Month of Failure. Unfortunately I carried on failing long into December so I had to give it a broader title.
- I had started Nanowrimo and failed to finish (I only wrote 7000 words, not the full 50000).
- The English group I teach had also started Nanowrimo and had to drastically reduce their targets (from between 5-10000 words to 2-4000 words)
- I started to grow a moustache for Movember, but I failed at about twenty days (I just became too irritated with the damn thing!) - it seems a little thing but all these things add up.
- I effectively stopped blogging, I wrote the odd post here and there but not with the same regularity as I had been previously. To me this is really important, because blogging is synonymous with reflective thinking, which is an important part of being a teacher.
- I became quite grumpy. This is because I realised I was failing at some things. It made me fail at more things. I don't know exactly how that affected my colleagues or the children I teach, but it must have.
- I marked work inconsistently - this is really bad for the children because they don't know what level of feedback to expect.
- I put on weight. Inevitable I suppose, but still not good.
- I didn't make it to church very much. Again - I'm not a very legalistic sort of person, but when you're supposed to be part of a community and you don't see the other members of the community very much, it's not really much of a community.
- I started too much. I should never have started NaNoWriMo - it was just too much for me at that time. Nor Movember as it turned out. If I had started less, I could have succeeded in more.
- I listened to the wrong people - it seems to be awards season in teaching at the moment. Loads of people giving each other awards and tweeting about it too. In my state of failure, it felt like I was missing out. I should have listened to Doug Belshaw earlier, but hey.
- I forgot the 'big picture' and 'who I am'. The 'big picture' is that failure is an important part of the education process. You can't do something, so you learn - you get better. You fail again, you learn - you get better still. If teachers can't demonstrate they fail, can't model how to deal with that to their students, how can students learn that failure is OK on the journey to success? Also 'who I am' isn't defined by how much I can write and whether I have any awards. It's about giving hope to children. I wrote about this back in October in my post 'Are you a hub or a connector?', but obviously by November I had started to forget it.
- I was distracted by the outcome. In education we've fallen into the trap of believing that everything should have an 'outcome.' Education is there to get jobs. Better Education gets better jobs. Teachers can be scored by how good their lessons are. Children can be tracked in every subject week by week. Now outcomes are important, but not when you strip past the process required to reach that outcome. In November I had just wanted to succeed at lots of things - I didn't care how. But it's important to care how. Because caring 'how you do something' makes it a repeatable process that other people can learn. It makes education real and meaningful. Revel in the failure - it's all part of the process of success.
- continuing to blog, so I can reflect on what I do;
- ignoring 'Awards' Talk on Twitter;
- sharing the failure before it becomes big enough to wallow in;
- limiting Football Manager play.