Showing posts with label inspiration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label inspiration. Show all posts

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Harry the goat

If anyone missed the Harry the Goat article on the 7.30 report go grab it off the web here.

It's what a 13 year old is capable of.

What a fantastic feel good story that shows the power of imagination.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Inspirational educational stories

Here's to making a difference in your own life. Sent to me from one of my educational heroes. Ta Keith!,3,3233106.story

It reminded me of an 'A' student that I met that had cystic fibrosis that knew she would pass away before she was 17 yet still searched for excellence.

Inspiration in education is one thing we are never short of.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Creating inspirational students

Students aren't born inspirational. They're born rather podgy blobs that whinge a lot... Some never change...

This week I spent a bit of time reminding my year 10's that they are inspirational. Lower school students look to them for cues on how to behave, on determining what is important and setting the tone within the school. If they want a happy school - be happy. If they want a school with a million rules - do stupid things. If they want a school based on success of students, show the lower years that our school can perform at a high level.

For this I think it is important that we create opportunities for them to be successful and protect those that foster these activities. It might be taking an interest in a student that is doing an afterschool ESL class, or not getting grumpy with the dance teacher that is taking students out of class for a recital, being supportive of the physical education staff and their events, supporting SOSE excursions by providing extra supervisor bodies or helping out with relief classes.

I think it also means looking for information that might help inspire kids. I recently found two books by the actress that played Winnie on the Wonder Years (Kevin's girlfriend for those of you ancient enough to remember). One is called 'Math doesn't suck' and the other is 'Kiss my Math'. The books themselves may be just the thing to get a student going and get them to believe that you care about how they think. The maths is a bit dodgy in places ('Highest common factor' becomes 'greatest crush factor') but it has a go at making maths pop culture ready and that's a good thing.

Another bit of success I've had is to let them into my life a little. Last class we created tally tables on the best baby name that we had selected. Next time I'll have a silent poll as it was a case of many just following the leader. Maybe this is a discussion in itself. We've also used my history to investigate stocks, examine salary ranges and evaluate priorities on what is important in life.

Another opportunity has been with my guitar. I am worse than hopeless, but the kids see that I am still learning well beyond school.

Lastly whenever a leadership event occurs I draw their attention to it and suggest that they pay heed to things done well or poorly as they will soon be in that position. If they can learn good leadership habits now, they will be in better stead going forward.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Management of teachers

Inspiration is a key element of teaching. Inspiration is contagious and desirable in schools. Maintaining high levels of inspiration is a task that requires knowledge of the teacher, their current capability and their motivation. If the balance is not present the inspiring character burns out, leaves and/or the light goes out.

There are always external factors that contribute to performance requiring emotional support. Ill grandparents, pregnant wives, family members need time and rightly come higher up the priority chain than school needs. As teachers, we must give these things in our spare time, there are no weeks of holidays available to call on in times of need - things just pile up to the next school holidays. I feel for those without partners as they are the primary source of emotional support in most cases.

The ups and downs of professional and academic careers correlate directly to the amount of support available at any point. In teaching, the majority of academic support comes from fellow teachers. If you look carefully at any team you can see those being supported and those supporting. This is a fragile structure, as each teacher needs to be a beacon of light and there is a dwindling supply of these stalwart teachers selflessly providing experience when needed.

We need to understand and monitor the 'expected vs actual' career progression of staff to assist in the creation of a supporting cast of experienced teachers and make the bright lights of our profession brighter and glow for longer. We so often focus on student outcomes but forget to examine why something works and the minor elements that have contributed to their success or failure. When we clearly identify a positive outcome, identify issues and reward contribution, you have an example of leadership at its foremost.

What I find interesting is the poor use of performance management tools in teaching. If I asked senior management of five different schools, 'What inspires (insert name here) on their staff?' I would be surprised to hear answers that related directly to the staff member. I would be even more surprised if they knew that staff member's technical background or desired career path. On the other hand, the top 3 students in year twelve and the professions of last years top five may be more readily recitable. This outlines a key problem in schools today created through central staffing. The lack of coal face staff management and limited experience 'out of school' in true management positions is a key element in the morale issue within our schools. If management does not feel the requirement to understand the needs and wants of staff, providing optimum educational opportunities through inspired leaders for our students will always be a haphazard affair.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Freethinking, valid statistics and improper research

Citation is the bane of free thought. An article is judged as likely truth or mistruth by the amount of items in a reference list.

We unconsciously imbue our students with this ball and chain when teaching referencing and citation. The freewheeling thought required of creation and inspiration gets buried in the need for regurgitated, "critical" evidence and reference based research. This whole blog has spurred the need for recycling concepts and using other's posts to lend credence to ideas. If you're here, it's to hear what I think based on my experience and disagree or agree with it. After all my view might change 14 minutes from now with a point made by you!

The action research movement and the original OBE movement has been encouraged through the "I must be right because I can quote 15 other people that agree with me." It's complete and utter nonsense. We should not disregard tried and true methods because a group of people say it is wrong and those using them don't scream their obvious effectiveness. Nor should we disregard a notion based on anecdotal evidence even though it sounds right but we can find no evidence that anyone has documented to support it.

While we're at it I resent the need to write boring, uninspiring articles lacking emotion. We need to encourage children to write with the passion they are born with rather than bleed it out of them with needless detail and bland academic articles.

As educators and professionals we need to use proper and valid statistical methods on real samples (applied mathematics!!) to question what we know and evaluate new ideas with an open mind as experimental concepts before we implement them to a wider student community. I enjoy research and experimentation (being a research and development manager in my not too distant past) but dislike change without proper consideration (in the same way I dislike bad implementation of IT). Education too often has used our students as guinea pigs instead of treating children with the same care as say new pharmaceuticals or an algorithm in a defence contract computer program.

Introducing poorly prepared bland children to society is equal to a crime of introducing a dangerous drug to the masses or creating a flawed computer programme that controls nuclear missiles. One student can change the world. Let's create children that can conquer that world and not just document then sleep through it.