Today I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Sir Tim Brighouse again. He is a Governor at my School and an avid supporter of teachers.
(Click here to download Sir Tim’s free Ebook- A Jigsaw of a successful school.)
I asked to meet up with Sir Tim to
literally just pick his brains… I am writing this blog post to share some of the amazing ideas/messages/advice he shared with me.
I will be meeting Sir Tim again to discuss further some of these ideas along with talking about my professional development as a new to the post senior leader. (I know I am sooo lucky!!)
Tim speaks of the Butterfly effect, stemming from the Chaos theory a lot. Click here for a Guardian Education post about this.
He speaks of how small changes in one place can have a massive effect in others.
I was blown away by the examples he provided:
Ask teachers to provide revision sessions in exam locations. For example, the school assembly hall or the gym. Then ask teachers to use the everyday objects to link to key concepts from their examination specification. E.G- the exam hall clock, the basketball nets and so on!
Get a students work marked by a teacher from another school? Then discuss the difference in marking styles and feedback?
(This is essentially what we do daily via Twitter right? See each others marking? Look at DIRT? FAIL? etc…?)
Sir Tim’s butterfly effect is I think, essentially what we can all translate into the buzz term; Low Effort- High Impact. He mentioned how it is not sustainable to be working on High Effort- High Impact strategies all the time… I am sure we all agree…
We then went on to discuss the idea of my online toolkit (over 200 activities/tips/tricks for any age/stage of teachers for FREE) and how sometimes the activities within the toolkit could be labelled as gimmicky or as self promotion. Sir Tim was excellent in explaining that there will be many teachers that can not translate my enthusiasm from reading my posts. Along with being able to replicate my practice that I am trying to transfer via writing. However, there will be many that can. There will be many that can read about an activity, see the sense in it, adapt it for their groups and carry it through excellent. Even if they don’t first time, they will adapt it and work on it again. So he told me to continue doing what I am doing! He was very clear about this, saying how earlier in his career on occasion he was
I found an article of his which included the following quote.
I couldn’t see the relevance of my tutors’ theory and they frowned on my enthusiasm for tips to survive and then thrive. It puzzled me then and it still does. Surely theory becomes relevant with experience and enables you to distinguish between likely good and bad tips.
This is EXACTLY how I feel/felt too! Don’t get me wrong, I think research in education is more important now than it has ever been. However, I do think teachers are all at different stages of their development.
(Sir Tims words have resonated with many; a quick google search has shown a numerous amount of educators have written articles/reflections about his words. Such as @HuntingEnglish here.)
Sir Tim and I then started talking about how every teacher should aim to speak to each other more. We spoke about how teachers should speak more about their work, more about what they do that they failed about and works. We mentioned how Teachers should attend teach meets. That they should tell others how great their colleagues are and so on…
In outstanding schools: Staff talk about learning, staff plan, observe, monitor & evaluate third work together! pic.twitter.com/JkIEkpIyqq
— Amjad Ali (@ASTsupportAAli) February 26, 2014
He mentioned how a collegiate approach can be achieved by simply mentioning one other person whenever referring to anything to do with your lesson/work. This to me sounded both sensible and erm… nice!
We moved on to discussing how throughout a teachers lessons they USED to be either in front of behind or beside a student. However we spoke about the myriad of opportunities available to both teachers and learners in todays day and age. We reffered to flipped learning and I showed him my simple GCSE RE class blog- www.cheneyre.edublogs.org
Sir Tim then talked to me about how to immerse yourself into things. He suggested if we ever spend enough time on things? He said he chose to immerse himself into different areas of the school for 2 whole weeks. He would read/listen/watch and make sure he knew everything there was about that area. He would work on it for 2 weeks.
I am thinking of planning my time in this method, give something your all for 2 weeks at a time, get it to a high standard, know what you are doing, then come back to it?
We spoke about how to create a culture of change and I mentioned to Sir Tim to aim changes at the ‘adopters’ and the ‘resisters’ will each join in or leave. He agreed with this but went further to say that change could start with new staff, simply at their induction, teach them your ‘new’ way, as the ‘only’ way they will know. This means change will filter throughout the whole school…? Interesting. This makes sense!
Asides from really encouraging me and pushing me, Tim suggested many a book to help with my development. I am really lucky to be working alongside such an inspirational educator. I will post again when I meet Sir Tim for another mentoring session!
Sir Tim presenting at #TMOxford