Work hard. Get smart. Be nice.

Work hard. Get smart. Be nice

Class Teaching

academic courage2

This is the motto of the Springfield Renaissance School, Massachusetts, USA – one of Ron Berger’sExpeditionary Learning SchoolsDan Brinton posted a video about the school on Twitter last night and it was very impressive – resonating with much of what many of us are trying to do here in terms of growth mindset and an ethic of excellence.

Ron Berger summed up the approach of the school:

“There’s a belief in the capacity of students to do more than they expect of themselves”

“A willingness to push kids deeper and let them struggle to do more”

Through this approach the school encourages ‘deep learning’ with the students, by developing the following competencies:

deeper learning competencies

A few of the bits of the video that stood out follow.

Academic Courage

A great phrase for a simple but important principle.  Students were encouraged to support each other to take risks and have…

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Guest Blog: Put the ‘self’ back into your practice – Dr. Dave Walters, Clyst Vale Community College

Expansive Education Network

This month we feature a guest blog by Dr. Dave Walters, Deputy Principal at one of our newest eedNET member schools Clyst Vale Community College

‘People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.’

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Guest post: Learning @ Honywood – Creating a climate for collaborative dispositions

Expansive Education Network

Our latest guest post is by Simon Mason, headteacher at eedNET member school, Honywood in Essex.

In my view, for people to be happy and successful in their lives they need to understand themselves. What makes people tick? Why do we act or behave in the way we do? Are we self-aware and able to analyse ourselves? Are we reflective and self-critical? Are we honest with ourselves, open to others’ views and able to react constructively and thus able to grow and develop emotionally? These questions can be used with young people and adults alike and they are key to the learning and development of all youngsters who attend our school and the staff who work alongside them. At Honywood we expect everyone to be learning; we are creating a culture predicated on proactive and independent self-discovery leading to an environment in which everyone at Honywood never stops learning and…

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Who asks the questions?

Steve Williams blog The P4C review asks – Who asks the questions?

The P4C Review

It is often said by people working in the tradition of Mathew Lipman that pupils should always create and choose the questions to be discussed. Two of the most common reasons given for this practice are, firstly, that it is democratic and democracy is a thing to be encouraged, and, secondly, that it enables us to discover what children think is interesting or important and this, in turn, will lead to their greater engagement with the subsequent dialogue.

Democracy is a complex concept but to my mind an important thread of meaning is the presumption of worth – a belief that each individual in a community has something to offer that could turn out to be of value in influencing what is done. In the philosophical classroom, I do believe that pupils should have the opportunity to contribute what they are capable of contributing. I won’t know what they are…

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A provocative think piece exploring expansive pedagogy in colleges

Pedagogic leadership – Creating cultures and practices for outstanding vocational learning

It is good to see vocational education coming centre stage in the education debate. The time is absolutely right – vocational courses are not just a ‘second chance’ default for those who have not done well in school-based academic studies. Aside from rhetoric around the ‘forgotten 50 per cent’ and the need to drive up skills in order to boost the economy, we are seeing new programmes, such as traineeships, new qualifications, such as tech levels, and new accountability measures, such as the technical baccalaureate, all with the declared intention of raising the profile and value of vocational programmes.

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SSAT: What kind of teaching for what kind of learning?

  •  What kind of teaching for what kind of learning?
    The second Redesigning Schooling pamphlet – What kind of teaching for what kind of learning? by Guy Claxton and Bill Lucas – will be arriving in SSAT member schools. Guy and Bill’s pamphlet is the second of nine editions to be published over the coming months, culminating with What the new professionalism means for the UK by Michael Fullan and Andy Hargreaves in Spring 2014.

    What kind of teaching for what kind of learning includes the following:

    • Teaching and learning to what end?
    • What kinds of learning do you need in your school to deliver your desired outcomes of education?
    • What kind of teaching will create the kind of learning that you want in your school?
    • What kind of leadership will create the desired kinds of teaching and learning, so students leave school with your desired outcomes of education?

    Download chapter 1 – teaching and learning to what end? here

    Additional copies of this pamphlet are available to members for £10 per copy, and to non-members for £15 per copy. Visit the SSAT Library to find out more.

    The following two pamphlets in the series will be Dylan Wiliam’s Principled curriculum design and Peter Chambers’ Working with stakeholders.

Young People’s Leadership

The UFA uses the phrase ‘young people’s leadership’ to describe a range of work they do.

“What do we mean by this? Our broad definition of leadership as ‘leading self and others’ can encompass specific leadership roles but is also about understanding more about myself and how I act in different situations. Being more aware, in control and as a result, being more actively engaged in a learning situation, because I choose to be.

In training we often ask people to question their motivation when they are considering pupil voice and influence – why do they want to engage young people in this way?

  • Is it because it’s the latest educational fad?
  • Is it because we think the inspectors will like it/expect it?
  • Or is it because we feel it is morally the right thing to do?
  • Is it an irrepressible force, an incoming tide, that we need to ‘go with’ otherwise we’ll be left behind?

We ask people who they feel they should involve?

  • Is it the ‘responsible ones’?
  • The ones who never have to be reminded to tuck their shirts in?
  • The prefects?
  • The school councillors?
  • …the usual suspects…?

Or is it actually an entitlement for all young people to be leading their own and perhaps other people’s learning?” more here