Back in the old days… do you remember??

stpaulslearning

summer-chairsDo you remember the old days? I must be feeling a little older as sometimes I find myself looking back and seeing the past with rose-tinted spectacles… for us all it may be a time of carefree childhood, a point when we were madly in love or a sense of satisfaction and joy in our professional lives – I think elite athletes may talk about “flow” or this may be like Ken Robinson’s “element“.

As a teacher I have this view of “life in the summer term” when I was first teaching. It was a time when you could get to do the things you had been desperate to focus on all year, you got space to think…. ultimately it felt like you had the most precious gift – “time”. I also remember it as always being sunny so perhaps it is not a memory based in great realism!

This…

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Is it time…?

HS_WatchGuide_Watch Movements_Header I have just returned from the annual trek to Birmingham to the “Inspiring Leadership Conference” which is attended by 1500 headteachers from around the country. What were the take-away messages and what will I try and do differently as a result of it? I have looked to summarise it as a top 10…

  1. Teach less, learn more – how do we shift the focus to facilitating learning and expecting more of students at every stage and age? Remember education is the human enterprise of “paying it forward” to the next generation.
  2. Think about FED – Future (where are we going?), Engage (how do we get people on board?), Deliver (how do we get on and do it?!) Leadership is not the reserve of the “chosen few”, we need to develop it in everyone.
  3. How do we develop and train the brain? – finding time for plasticity and detaching from screen-time to shift from virtual reality to reality… perhaps a challenge for family life as much as education!
  4. We need to have connected leadership and shape the system we are part of… how can we see beyond our individual needs as a school to be a strong, cohesive and compelling voice to shape the future of education.
  5. Develop the habits to be a great school and great leader… we need to focus on classrooms not schools. The key to this is engaging discretionary effort and motivating people.
  6. Learn from winners – what makes them unique, successful and compelling but remember to be the person you are “called to be”… 
  7. Spot the trends and understand how society changes as it informs our understanding of what makes people tick!
  8. We need to broaden education to recognise the significance of EQ and IQ. When we accept our imperfections we are ready to learn.
  9. The biggest challenge we face is population growth – if the human race is to survive we need creativity…
  10. Never give up on the power of education to transform lives – deal in hope and nourish potential. “We shouldn’t throw away trash or peoples’ lives either…”

In essence it was an opportunity to reconnect with the reason that we teach, learn and lead. Having the opportunity to spend time with “world-class” people who challenge you to think learn and grow is significant. It is equally important to find the time and space to think and be challenged by people you respect, as other school leaders, whilst you are there. So thanks for the vitality, friendship, passion and care of those we got to share the journey with. I believe it is your responsibility then to do something with this… to drip-feed the messages of what you have learnt to others in a meaningful way. So come on… what are you waiting for? It’s time to be inspired!

“To be born at all is a miracle… what are you going to do with your life?” Dalai Lama

dalailama Some books to consider…

  • Practice Perfect – Doug Lemov
  • Teach like a champion – Doug Lemov
  • Visible learning into action – John Hattie
  • Student Centred Leadership – Jossey-Bass
  • Flip Your Classroom – Bergmann
  • Winners – Alistair Campbell
  • Nudge – Richard Thaler
  • Creative Schools – Ken Robinson

How can we be Christ in the world?

Please read the reflection for this week and say a prayer for Mohammed…

stpaulslearning

Christ-of-the-Abyss

The theme for this week in school is “The Body of Christ” – we are currently deep into the season for Confirmation and First Communion celebrations which mark a new beginning in the lives of those who receive these sacraments on their Christian journey…

My daughter is excitedly preparing for her First Communion celebrations this weekend… this ranks as highly as the anticipation of the BGT final and the longing for Christmas or Birthday celebrations (pretty high overall!). Initially the focus for her was the prospect of a new dress and shoes – we had to persuade her high heels, a veil and lace gloves may be a little bit of a distraction on the day and were pleased when the Priest suggested simplicity was the way forward for them all.

The Eucharist lies at the centre of Christian faith in an act of thanksgiving. The distinctive belief in the…

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