The Importance (and Impact) of Asking Good Questions Asking good questions is a cornerstone of learning and living. It’s a practice we use every day. Everything from grocery shopping to choosing a new career path and beyond requires it. So much of our success in life depends on asking the right questions. In education, the benefits of asking good questions is immeasurable. It lets us clearly define problems and expectations. How would you lead teaching and learning? #360Review (Part 2 of 6) Here, I offer my reflections on my own school leadership. In this post: How would you lead teaching and learning? I pose a series of questions for the reader and offer my very own #360Review. How to Spark Curiosity in Children Through Embracing Uncertainty In the classroom, subjects are often presented as settled and complete. Teachers lecture students on the causes of World War I, say, or the nature of matter, as if no further questioning is needed because all the answers have been found. In turn, students regurgitate what they’ve been told, confident they’ve learned all the facts and unaware of the mysteries that remain unexplored.
Modelling & Questioning The 15 Minute Forum was led tonight by English teacher and Literacy Leader, Lucy Darling. Lucy started the session by saying that when she was using modelling in her lessons, she also considered the key questions that she would need to use, in order to get to the best outcome. Clearly this can only be done to a certain degree, as often the most effective questions are in response to student responses. However, the key areas where questioning will be used can be planned. Lucy then went on to walk us through a Product Design lesson she helped a colleague to plan, with modelling and questioning in mind.
Stop Innovating in Schools. Please. Stop Innovating in Schools. Please. Too often when we talk about “innovation” in education, we point to that new set of Chromebooks or those shiny new Smartboards as examples of our efforts to change what we do in the classroom. That is, after all, what “innovation” is all about, to “make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products.” Over the last few years, many schools in the developed world have done a pretty good job on the new products front, earning billions of dollars for vendors who sell their gadgets or code under the guise of “innovation” of some degree or another.
#5MinPlan series As teachers, I cannot imagine you’ll disagree with me when I say that we are all pushed for time. The demands placed on educators in any type of classroom, plus the expectation for planning to meet the needs of all students; or the expectations placed upon teachers from systems and management, can create unnecessary bureaucracy. The original 5 Minute Lesson Plan was designed to reduce planning time. That’s it!
162. SIR KEN ROBINSON: Full body education Sir Ken Robinson is a leading authority on education and creativity. A former professor of education, he now advises governments and businesses around the world and is one of the most sought-after speakers on education. The quotes used in the comic are taken from Robinson’s now-famous 2006 TED talk How schools kill creativity. It is the most viewed TED talk ever, and also one of the funniest in my opinion (gotta love that dry British humour). If you haven’t seen it, then stop what you’re doing and go watch it. National curriculum in England: geography programmes of study Purpose of study A high-quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Teaching should equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. As pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world should help them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments. Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills provide the framework and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.
We’re Trying To Do “The Wrong Thing Right” in Schools We’re Trying To Do “The Wrong Thing Right” in Schools Whenever I think about the way most schools are structured today, I always come back to the same question: Do we do the things we do because they’re better for kids or because they are easier for us? For instance: separating kids by age in school. Is that something we do because kids learn better that way? Why I’m placing #LearningWalks in Room 101 by @TeacherToolkit This academic year, we have shelved #LearningWalks. This is nothing to do with fashion or fad. It is purely a localised issue, dependent on the needs of our own school. So please, do not take this blogpost as verbatim. Slightly short of 3 years, I first arrived at my current school as assistant principal, with overall responsibility for teaching and learning, initial teacher training and staff development. From what I could decipher, over the course of the first month, observations and appraisal were almost zero!
The Need for Discontinuous Improvement It’s better to do the right thing wrong than the wrong thing right. – Russ Ackoff In a recent blog post, Will Richardson poses a thought-provoking question: “do we do the things we do because they’re better for kids or because they are easier for us?” Richardson ascribes his return to this topic to his discovery of a 2001 interview with noted systems thinker, Russ Ackoff. In this absorbing short video, Ackoff suggests that schools – and other systems – are often guilty of doing “the wrong things right”. Central to this contention is the distinction Ackoff makes between efficiency and effectiveness: “Data, information, knowledge and understanding are all concerned with increasing our efficiency.