Opening up thinking about education today for tomorrow - Imagining possibilities and solutions

Saturday, June 10, 2006

1000 seeds, 1000 flowers

I visited the National College for School Leadership's Networked Learning Communities centre.

In meeting with David Jackson he passed the following comment in response to the often expressed concern about teacher innovation being 1000 seeds planted and 1000 flowers blooming.

The problem isn't the teachers; it's failure on behalf of the system to harvest the 1000 flowers.

This resonated with me.

Friday, June 09, 2006

No Virginia; Lifelong learning isn't jargon!

I have had an interesting day today at DEMOS.

One point of the discussion was about lifelong learning. What emerged from the conversation about lifelong learning was that it is an important concept to understand as it serves to redefine schools and schooling. Unless we understand the place of formal school learning within the context of lifelong learning there can be a risk of formal school learning being decontextualised and irrelevant. Alongside this is the risk that schools don't support student learning in meeting their needs and aspirations.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

London Theatre

Whilst in London I have been fortunate enough to catch some theatre.

I have seen:
  • The Mousetrap - but have been sworn to secrecy as to whodunnit!
  • Billy Elliot - a wonderful musical. Some outstanding dancing!
  • A comedy night - Julia Morris, an Australian comedienne was performing. It was great for a belly laugh.

Off to Blood Brothers tonight.

Innovations Unit

I have had a fabulous time visiting the Innovations Unit. The Unit was established as part of the DfES.

I have had the opportunity to talk with:
Anne Diack, Director
Deryn Harvey, Director
Valerie Hannon, Director
Paul Mortimor, Associate and Head Teacher.

I was also able to meet with David Jackson from NCSL (Networks) who has arranged for me to visit NCSL at Cranfield. They had initially declined my request to visit.

I came across some interesting ideas and practices.
  • There is legislation through The Power to Innovate that legitmises the importance of teachers thinking outside of the box.
  • Teachers don't realise their power.
  • Move beyond the notion of the best can lead the rest.
  • Disciplined Innovation - to move beyond the "sowing 1000 seeds and letting 1000 flowers bloom"
  • Next Practice thinking as well as Best Practice thinking
  • Systems supporting innovation not only financially but more importantly in thinking.
  • Those engaged in innovation are trying out on behalf of the profession

Five Stages of developing Next Practice

1. Needs analysis

2. Horizon Scanning

3. Mobilisation

4. Generating Creative Options

5. Field Trial

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Who is the "our" in our Catholic schools?

A commentary piece following on from the visit to Greenford High School!

Who is the "our" in our Catholic schools?
Whose voice is being expressed in How Good is Our Catholic school?
Is the voice the voice of the good and the great in Catholic education?
Is there a space for student voice within the development of the document?

Visit to Greenford High School

Greenford High School is a school located on the end of the Central Line. It serves a highly mutlicultural and multi faith community.

The school has specialist school status and is a member of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust.

Through the Trust the school has received a grant o be a hub school for personalisation/personalising learning.

I had a wonderful meeting with a group of student observers. Student observers are students who have been trained to observe students in lessons and give feed back to teachers about the lessons. The feedback is given in 4 areas:

  1. Student-teacher relationships
  2. Assessment for Learning
  3. Teaching and Learning Strategies
  4. Pupil Engagement.

I was amazed by the confidence and perceptions of the kids who were from Year 7, 8 and 9.

At this stage, the teachers volunteer to have their lessons observed by student observers.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

DEMOS - First Impressions

DEMOS is located in Magdalen House, not far from Tower Bridge. The workspace is a large open-spaced former warehouse. All members of staff, including Tom Bentley (Director) work in the open space area. There are a range of meeting rooms that people can access.

The staff are largely young and energetic. Things appeared to be a laizes-fair approach, but very focused an social. The work place seemed to reflect a social environment and democratic practices.

There wasn't a strong sense of hierarchy.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Andrew in London

After one of the coldest winters I have experienced, in the form of a Scottish springtime, the weather is finally warming up!!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Roosevelt and Churchill

Given that I am travelling on a Churchill Fellowship I thought I should include this photograph!

Pics of St Paul's

More London pics

A few hours at the British Museum

I spent a few hours wandering about the British Museum - particularly the Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome sections. It was wonderful to see things like the Rosetta Stone and Elgin's Marbles (controversy and all)! It brought back memories of the first two years of high school when I studied Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome.

London town

Well I am over the food poisoning I picked up in Glasgow. The time in Edinburgh was good. I love Edinburgh as a city. It may be something to do with my heritage!!

Now I am in London. Today was far warmer than it has been. The week has been a bit quieter than planned. Things have had to be moved around, so next week is busier.

I will get to see some theatre whilst here. Saw The Mousetrap this afternoon. Very entertaining in a twee sort of way. Have got tickets to Blood Brothers and Billy Elliot.

This is the view from the apartment I managed to get in Soho after a disaster with the hotel in Earls Court.

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