Nearly-live blogging from #purposedpsi – growing enquiry through the cracks in the pavement

April 30, 2011 at 3:43 pm 1 comment

by Alec Patton

At my table (@pjjames, @LizRich, @IanYorkston, @Darney-ictteach, @Nikable) we’re talking about the environment and preoccupations of schools, and how to grow a space for a rich environment for education within a standards-driven, stressed institution.

Here’s some (rather loosely transcribed) quotes from the table:

First, teaching tips from @kvnmcl :

  • doing speaking and listening sitting under a table – creates intimate, enclosed environment within school.
  • ‘I’ve been giving my students ‘20 time‘ (as they do at google). Now they all ask ‘when can I do 20 time?’ They’re just beginning to grasp that they don’t need to ask permission, they can do it any time they’ve completed the assigned work. The only rule for 20 time is that they work they produce at that time has to be at the standard I know they can accomplish. They’re now often making better work in 20 time than the stuff I’m assigning them.’
  • At start of year, we put everything we were doing with kids onto big sheets of paper, read across all the year groups and said ‘right, you you and you are all doing this’ and where there was lots of repetition, we assigned it all to one year group – so that way, we’ve cut the repetition, and we all have much more time to devote to particular stuff. We can all dive more deeply into a few things, rather than covering a million things every year.

‘We talk about children being allowed to fail. Within many schools, there isn’t space within observation structures for teachers to make mistakes. Partly this is because kids get older in real time and teacher failure can have drastic consequences – but teachers do need to be able to try stuff out, and if they do that, they will sometimes fail. A safe space needs to exist for this.’

‘You can make this space by making the kids conscious participants in the experiment. Can be as simple as telling the students ‘I’m trying something out.”

‘Can be as simple as having one person who respects you, shares your willingness to take risks, and says ‘do this and tell me what happens”

‘Twitter makes it much more possible to find that ‘one person”.

‘In PGCE, had one lecturer who spoke to me as a fellow-teacher rather than as a student, in which he said he wanted to help me in supporting the group of learners I was teaching. It was only a 10-minute conversation, but it was the point I realised i was a teacher, and it was transformative.’

‘We’re running informal CPD – ‘you tell us what you want to know more about, and we’ll set something up. A lot of the time SMT drives teaching forward – ‘we’ll decide who goes on this course.’

‘PurposEd is a whole group of ‘that one person’ stretching across the country’.

‘Could PurposEd + Social Media = a whole alternative permission structure for experimenting teachers?’

The big message from our group: find a friend. It doesn’t need to be someone at your school, but you need someone to whom you can have the following conversation:

Am I crazy?

No, you’re not crazy. But I think what you’re doing might be even better if…

Entry filed under: Education & Children's Services.

Internocracy and unpaid interns Alec’s three-slide presentation for the PurposEd summit for instigators #purposedpsi

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. David  |  April 30, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    I think his point about the 20 time is fantastic. I have to take issue with their not being enough time to let children fail though. If he means fail their exams he may have a point but to ‘fail’ at tasks etc during the year is a must. If the children do better in 20 time. He should do that all the time!
    Piece onj James Dyson
    “The key to the company’s success to date is its culture of creativity, an appreciation of sheer novelty that springs from Dyson himself and extends through every level of the organization. Nothing is prized more highly within the firm than the willingness and ability to generate and develop new ideas,
    to take chances, even to fail miserably, if that failure comes in the pursuit of an exciting potential innovation. “Everyone is empowered to be creative,” says Dyson, who points out that the idea of putting the company’s customer-assistance phone number on a label on the handle of each vacuum came not from a manager, but from an employee on the service desk.

    “You are just as likely to solve a problem by being unconventional and determined as by being brilliant,” he once wrote. “Be a bit whacko, and you shake people up. . . . And we all need shaking up.”


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